Home Community Schools EXCHANGE BRINGS 4 FRENCH STUDENTS TO UVI

EXCHANGE BRINGS 4 FRENCH STUDENTS TO UVI

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Aug. 3, 2001 – Not all of the French being spoken on the University of the Virgin Islands St. Thomas campus during summer session was for foreign-language credit.
Four students from France spent June and July conducting a computer science research project on the campus under a new exchange program between UVI and the Institut Universitaire des Sciences pour l'Ingénieur de Marseille (Marseille University Institute of Engineering).
Eric Baltayan, David Ferracci, Celine Isaac and Cedric Justet are entering their final year of the institute's three-year engineering degree program. At a Summer Science Symposium in the UVI Sports and Fitness Center this week, they set up a display on their project, which compared two information retrieval systems.
Under the exchange agreement, "UVI students will be able to do summer research in France" starting next year, UVI computer science professor Marc Boumedine said. Boumedine, who coordinated the visit of the French students, said faculty at the two institutions also will be able to take part in exchanges.
Robert Stolz, Science and Mathematics Division chair for the St. Thomas campus, said the summer exchange program, undertaken at Boumedine's initiative, "benefits both the visitors from France and the UVI students, in that it will open doors for our students to spend summers in France working alongside researchers there."
Baltayan, who is from Marseille, on the Mediterranean coast of France, said the exchange opportunity allowed the four students to gain valuable English language skills and to experience another culture. "It's a good experience for us to go abroad and to live in another country," he said.
The French students, who each received a $1,000 stipend from the French government, said they enjoyed visits to St. John, Virgin Gorda, Tortola and Jost Van Dyke, and found Virgin Islanders to be friendly and accommodating.
"When you are doing an exchange, it's not only from a technical point of view," Boumedine noted. He said all four students "want to come back" and are hoping "to collaborate on more research" at UVI.

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