What they are saying about us…

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Leave your shell with the CIJP
Such is the motto of the “ Club International des Jeunes à Paris” which effectively does everything to favor exchanges between French and foreign students: visits to monuments, excursions, linguistic exchange workshops, culinary of the world and themed evenings are in the program of this association which places emphasis on the sharing and discovering on cultural riches. The president, Alaa Homsi tells us more.


What motivated you to create the "Club International des Jeunes à Paris"?
Being a foreign student myself, I noticed when I arrived in Paris how difficult it was to meet French people. Especially even while having courses in large lecture halls, where nothing was arranged: everyone returns home after classes, not allowing friendships to form among students.

I had the idea two years ago to create an association which was a space for cultural meetings and friendships; so that foreign students do not leave regretting that they did not benefit to the maximum from the rich French culture.

What are some of the distinctive features of CIJP?
The club holds, in the exchanges between French and foreign students, more than the reciprocal discovery of other cultures, and puts emphasis on a friendly relaxed environment.

We organize, for example, visits to Parisian districts; there are French students in tourism who guide the visit, while benefiting from the professional training. It is the opportunity for foreign students to discover the city at a new angle. It has been possible for them to visit less touristy areas like Belleville, or the canal of ‘Saint-Martin'. After the visit we take a glass of wine and we discuss together: these are moments of exchanges between foreigners and non-professional friendly guides.

We then had the idea that the foreign students could do the same for the French people with a “Tour of the world”. During these evenings, it is the international students who present their country, their culture, and their food. Every month, they attract about fifty students; we have had a Colombian, German, and Belgian evening, etc.

How is the orientation for the foreign students organized ?
We organize a welcome reception for all the students who recently arrived in France. To inform them, posters are posted in the international relations services of the universities . The goal of these welcome receptions is to give them practical information upon their arrival, to integrate them into new friendships, and finally so that they feel welcomed! Following this first exchange we propose to them an orientation visit in Paris. The purpose of this is to allow them to become familiar with new and important places that they will need like: CROUS, ‘la Cité Internationale', public libraries, the Latin Quarter for going out, etc.

What is the usual profile of the new students?
It is very varied: this year, around fifty different countries are represented and the students who take part in our activities are from Erasmus, assistants of languages (which work for a few months in colleges or high schools), interns, or students in schools of languages.



Are there many French students?
The numbers are getting bigger and bigger! Each year we have approximately 1400 members, including 1/3 that are French. Many are interested in the conversational workshops which we organize in English, Spanish, German and Chinese.

We also hope to develop exchanges with French families, that they can accommodate and welcome foreign students and share their time during the weekend or one evening a week, to show a little of their culture and their way of living

Any final words?
The cultural discoveries are done through discovering people. You cannot be integrated if you do not master the language and you can not master the language without exchanges with people.