Rotary brings French to town

Published 1:57 am Thursday, April 10, 2008

NATCHEZ — A goal of International Rotary Club is to broaden the horizons of young professionals, even on a global level.

Every year the club participates in a foreign exchange program and this year’s visitors are from northeastern France.

The purpose of this exchange program is two-fold, said team leader Jean-Paul Simet.

Email newsletter signup

“The first objective is for them to experience professional activity (in the states) and the other is to get acquainted with the country,” Simet said.

And that is evident in the two-day Natchez crash course the visitors have received.

They’ve been on a downtown Natchez tour, a tour of Britton & Koontz Bank, an economic development tour and tours of historical landmarks in Natchez.

Sebastien Risser, one of the exchange professionals, said he is enjoying the Southern hospitality.

“It’s a very beautiful place and the people are very friendly,” he said.

Sandrine Lascoux agreed with Risser.

“The hospitality is very, very nice,” she said.

Marc Bardinal said it’s been an educational trip.

“It’s a very good learning experience,” he said.

Except for the team leader, the four young European professionals had never traveled to the United States before.

Now that their two days in Natchez is up, they will still continue traveling around the Rotary Club district, as they are here for a month.

The group has already been to or is slated to visit Jackson, Vicksburg, Meridian and more.

During their travels, the group will stay with fellow Rotarians and families, Simet said.

During the Rotary Club’s regular meeting, Simet introduced each young professional.

Risser is a bank client manager, Bardinal is a agricultural engineer, Olivier Houzeelle is a maintenance engineer in the chemical industry and Lascoux is a bailiff, but in France a bailiff is meant in a very different capacity than it is here.

Houzeelle gave a presentation on the Rotary district from which this group came.

In May, France will welcome a group of young professional Mississippians for a month, Simet said.