NICEVILLE — Northwest Florida State College show choir members performing next year in Crestview's French sister city can have an additional opportunity to learn more about another culture.
And students from the University of Nantes' IUT — University Technology Institute — at La Roche-sur-Yon, a mainland town near Noirmoutier-en-i'Île, can have a similar opportunity while visiting the Niceville campus.
Officials at both schools said they hope to strengthen their relationship.
When Dr. Jeremy Ribando, NWFSC's Humanities, Fine and Performing Arts department chair, visits Noirmoutier during spring break to prepare for his students' May 2015 concerts, he also will visit the IUT campus, which has a student exchange agreement with NWFSC. The relationship formed when Sébastien Jacotin, IUT's international relations officer, visited NWFSC during an October 2012 Sister City exchange.
While the agreement has brought English-speaking IUT interns to Crestview, NWFSC students' lack of French fluency will prove a challenge to studying under IUT's technology programs, Jacotin said.
"Our language requirements are very high," he said. "Any student cannot hope to pass our exams unless he has an excellent, native-like command of French.
"... Naturally, I will try to have as many students as possible go on internships in Florida in the following months."
Ribando credited the Sister City relationship between Crestview and Noirmoutier for facilitating the two schools' agreement.
"It's those friendships that really solidify the program," he said. "If we weren't personally invested in each other's lives we wouldn't be able to do this as readily."