Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Reinforcing Franco-US city ties

It's been a hectic month, especially with a recent trip to  Michigan USA. Once again I was there for work, furthering the teaching partnership a College has with my workplace.

Over the course of the week I was working with Professor  French on detailed planning of the Introduction to Sustainability course which is taught at the College and via web-conferencing. I'm responsible for the planning, the implementation, the communication, some tutoring and working the online blackboard platform MOODLE.

All the teaching and administrative staff at the College are a delight to work with - professional, organised, on-time, respectful and friendly. 

 I stayed in one of the houses that is located at the far end of the campus and a bit of a walk to the centre of campus.  The weather was freezing; snowflakes and rain were in evidence and lugging my heavy laptop bag, documents, camera all the way, several times a day was bad news for my painful shoulders. But breakfast required the walk. Meals were taken in the student cafeteria which leaves French student cafeterias for dead. So, meetings, planning, discussions with people I already knew was a pleasant though tiring way to spend the week.

The trip also coincided with a French delegation from two towns  which are sister cities to the one in Michigan.  Though I've never visited these towns I did have the opportunity to meet the mayors and other members of the delegation. Included in the visit was a ceremony to recognise the 15 year sister-city relationship. 

Since the beginning of the relationship over 600 people have travelled back and forth including children, students. adults on cultural exchanges and, it seems, me. We all had a buffet meal at the home of a French professor. It happened during the American Golf Classic final so there was lively comment and mixed discussions plus good wine.

One afternoon was spent in a Presidential Summit, presenting sister city relationships , a global learning alliance and a relationship with the University of Grenada (Spain). Here you can see the out-going  College president speaking, and the panel of sister-city members discussing the merits of transatlantic relations.

The mayor of one of the French cities, offered to try to help me with my ongoing titre de sejour issues - after 8 months of visits to the prefecture and 3 temporary visas France still hasn't managed to give me a decent ID document. 

I'll have to go back to Chartres this week to try for a fourth temporary one so I can stay past next Tuesday and get paid for May. The mayor is influential in his region but doesn't have any personal contacts at Chartres so we don't know if he can encourage the public servants to give me my legal ID. I've emailed him all my papers anyway, just in case and it's kind of him to take an interest.


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