Bienvenue à Atlanta! (Welcome to Atlanta!)

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Ralph J. Bunche Middle School welcomes students from its sister school in Verdun, France

Bonjour! Comment ça va? (Hello! How are you?) These are the popular phrases that poured from the mouths of Bunche students as they greeted their new friends from France.

On Wednesday, Sept. 26, 32 French middle school students and four teachers arrived to the Southwest Atlanta school for Bunche Chargers’ first foreign exchange program.

“We wanted to come to the United States to celebrate the 100th anniversary of World War I. We were put in contact with Bunche Middle School and Madame Nakou,” said Serena Hannequin, an English teacher at Maurice Barres College in Verdun, France.

Akouvi Nakou teaches French at Bunche and spent nearly a year coordinating the eight-day exchange, which supports language development and cultural proficiency.  The exchange was made possible by the Georgia Department of Education’s Sister School Partner Program.

Madame Nakou says Maurice Barres College not only wanted to commemorate the 100 anniversary of World War I but also wanted to honor the African-American soldiers who battled in Verdun and helped end the war. Atlanta’s rich African-American history and large African-American population made our city a great fit.

Throughout the week, French students will stay with host families, who include Bunche faculty and community members. Each day, students will visit tourist attractions and Atlanta landmarks, including the World of Coca-Cola, the Georgia Aquarium and the Center for Civil and Human Rights Movement.

French students will also shadow their Bunche student partners for one class per day, and students will collectively debrief about their exchange experiences.

Ç’est super! (That’s great)

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