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Spectacular welcome for international students

28 Oct 2015 | Front page, A region on the move

Northern France held its second annual party for international students on October 8 at EuraTechnologies, scoring yet another smashing success.

International students in Northern France

A warm welcome from a warm region 

“These international students will be decision makers when they return to their home countries,” said Nord France Invest Chairman Luc Doublet. “Which is why it’s so important for them to have vibrant memories of Northern France. Tonight we wrote the first page of our story together.”

Organizers at Northern France Regional Council and Nord France Invest worked with some thirty graduate schools and universities from throughout the region to make this second welcome celebration a resounding success. The party was a stunning mash-up of the exotic and unexpected—including a sumo wrestling match between a dark, handsome Mexican and a striking blond from Poland. Innovative startups rubbed shoulders with the joyful ruckus of Dunkerque carnival-goers, the vocal music of Atelier Lyrique de Tourcoing and Baroque dance lessons from Beaux Champs Création Baroque. All showcasing the many faces of the region with gusto and good cheer—and creating a once-in-a-lifetime experience for attendees.

Lasting impressions

For Yann Pitollet, CEO of Nord France Invest, the event symbolizes the region’s “soft power” and is integral to strategic expansion of its network. Every year, several thousand foreign students come to Northern France for educational programs ranging from several months to several years, and sooner or later these talented young people become the heart and soul of their home countries.

“This was one of the best evenings I’ve had during my time here in Lille,” said one student. “Many thanks, not just for this amazing opportunity to make new friends and meet all of these incredible people from all over the world, but also for the chance to network with major corporations and play fascinating games—and of course for the delicious sweets we’ve been sampling all night long (…). We’ll never forget this party, as long as we live. No matter where we’re from, we’re grateful to be here and having a great time.”

Strong ties for the future

For over a year, international students have been invited to connect on a dedicated Facebook page highlighting major regional events, outings, strong showings by local universities and graduate schools in international competitions, internship openings, photos and video of the welcome celebration—and of course the selfie challenges launched on October 8. Later, when these young people have launched their careers, the region will encourage them to remain a part of its business network and preserve their deep affection for Northern France.


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