Integrating with French Students

As an international student, it’s important to take time to integrate with local students. This allows you to not only learn more about the culture you’re currently living in but also helps with gaining the global perspective.

Being in an international program meant that there would be very few French students in my class. In fact, there were only 3 out of 57. Outside of these 3 classmates, reality is I won’t mingle with any other French students as international students tend to stick within their groups. (i.e. other international students) It’s a harsh reality but international schools are really trying to foster integration between international and local students.

That’s where IÈSEG’s Multicultural Project comes in.

What is it?

It’s a program that aims to bring together French and international students through various projects to learn from each other and promote cultural diversity.

There are various projects to choose from including:

  • International Gastronomy – coming together and cooking meals from each country
  • International Celebration (India) – coming together to showcase Indian culture
  • Travel Around the World– showcasing a stand that represents a country

Given our class schedule and love for food, my friend and I chose ‘International Gastronomy.’ We were grouped with 3 French guys and one Indonesian girl. The idea of International Gastronomy is to have two meetings:

1st: French students cook a dish

2nd: International students each cook a dish from their country

First Meeting

With three guys on a team, I wasn’t expecting this much co-operation. They did not disappoint as they whipped up French favourites: Quiche Lorraine & Ratatouille. As a quiche enthusiast myself, I was super excited to have it from the French themselves. Everything tasted amazing, though I didn’t exactly help during the preparations.

Quiche Lorraine & Ratatouille

second meeting

Trini Macaroni Pie

Now it was our turn and I pondered for weeks on what Trini dish to cook. We have so much delicious food in Trinidad and I just wanted to cook everything. After getting it together and developing some self-control, I decided on our infamous macaroni pie. The dish I spent the entire night explaining that it’s like mac & cheese but not mac and cheese.

Other dishes added to the table included:

  • Plantain porridge (Nigeria) – Made with vegetables & meat, this dish was extra spicy. While everyone else was dying from the heat, I was asking for seconds 😂.
  • Bakwan (Indonesia) – crispy fried vegetable fritters with a banging sauce on the side.
Dinner is Served!

I would say that the program indeed served its intended purpose. I learnt more about French and Indonesian culture and even Spanish culture as one member is actually half-Spanish. But I guess we’d truly only know if it works, if this integration continues after the program is finished.