Fall 2022 marked the 4th year of Georgia Tech-Europe’s Serve-Learn-Sustain French Immersion program. Each fall, up to 15 lucky students get to know the region through field trips and volunteer work with community organizations in Metz. 

Working side-by-side with members of the community, students get to know the local culture along with the best practices for sustainable development as they relate to Metz and the Grand Est region.

SLS-France students take two courses – one classroom-based course on sustainable development in France and Europe, and another course taken out in the field as a volunteer in a local community organization.

The Fall 2022 program was led by French professor Christophe Ippolito. Students visited the Communauté Emmaüs, which helps to combat homelessness and poverty, and Couleurs Gaies, Metz’ largest LGBTQIA+ center. They also helped the Institut européen d’écologie (The European Ecology Institute) with its annual film festival and did work with a community organization that helps refugees and young women. Students taught English and made training videos for the organization. 

SLS students were also encouraged to join field trips led by Georgia Tech-Europe lecturer, Tim Stoneman, who teaches GTE History, Technology, and Society (HTS) courses. Along with the HTS students, the SLS students visited a cheese factory near Metz, and a Belgian metal recycling center that uses new technologies to transforms waste products.

One student said of the program, “I was able to greatly improve my French, and feel more confident speaking to locals in French. I also got to volunteer a lot with local nonprofit organizations related to sustainability. I really liked volunteering at the IEE (The European Ecology Institute) and joining in on a middle school field trip, and I enjoyed our field trips. My favorite was when we took a field trip to a farm where we got to pick our own produce. That was a lot of fun.”


written in French by Dr. Christophe Ippolito - French version of article

Professor of French, School of Modern Languages, Ivan Allen College, Georgia Tech

translated into English by Andrea Gappell

Communications Program Manager, Georgia Tech-Europe, Atlanta Office