LSU Engineering Hosts Student Group From Lyon, France

11/13/17Students from the LSU College of Engineering and visiting engineering students from Polytechnique Universitaire in Lyon, France sit in a tour boat in a swamp

The College of Engineering recently welcomed five students from Polytechnique Universitaire Lyon (Polytech), the engineering school of the University Claude Bernard, Lyon I, in Lyon, France.

In 2001, a formal agreement was reached between LSU and Lyon Polytech, allowing each university to exchange visits once a year. LSU sends a group of students to Lyon during spring break, and Lyon Polytech sends its students to Louisiana, typically in late October or early November.

Didier Leonard, a senior professor at Lyon Polytech, has chaperoned these visits for roughly five years.

“This is a very enjoyable and productive [program],” Leonard said. “It is always a pleasure to be back.”

Representing Lyon Polytech were Guillaume Fontanet, Ophélie Fourbet, Antoine Auge, Maël Laupretre and Amel Mekaoui. The student group spent a week touring various places in Louisiana, including participating in a swamp and plantation tour, exploring New Orleans, and even attending a few academic lectures by LSU Engineering professors.

The students agreed that New Orleans was one of their favorite places to visit, singling out the southern hospitality shown to tourists.

“I loved the food, festivities and music,” said Mekaoui, a third-year student in biomedical engineering. “I didn’t expect New Orleans to be such a lively city.”

Auge, a third-year student in materials and surface engineering, added that he loved the architecture and food offered by the Big Easy.

While visiting Louisiana, each Lyon native was housed by an LSU student who had previously traveled to Lyon.

Robert “Robbie” McPherson, a mechanical engineering student from Lake Charles, La., said the language barrier was one adversity he learned to navigate.

“It was definitely more difficult at first,” McPherson said. “As we spent more and more time around one another, it became less troubling. Also, I can speak limited French, so if something couldn’t be worked out in English, we could try to work it out in their native tongue.”

Overall, the students enjoyed their time in Louisiana.

“We want to thank everyone for what they did for us,” Laupretre said. “This was a really cool [trip].”



Story by Raven Nichols, communications intern. For more information, contact Joshua Duplechain, director of communications at