German-French employee exchange 2022 – Tour d'Auvergne
After the first phase of the 2021-2022 exchange cycle in September 2021 in Niederbayern/Oberpfalz, the return visit took place in Clermont-Ferrand from 16 to 20 May 2022. Ten German employees of the Studentenwerk Niederbayern/Oberpfalz found out about how to deal with the corona pandemic in France at the partner institution Crous Clermont Auvergne and also got to know the culture, the country and its people.
Measures against the corona pandemic in France
The exchange between the Studentenwerk and Crous, which has now been in place for more than 40 years, not only brings people closer across national borders and language barriers. Thanks to the similar structures and objectives of both partner institutions, it also enables a professional exchange. The key issue in the 2021-2022 exchange cycle was the corona pandemic. Employees from various areas of the Crous presented their German counterparts with actions and funding programs from the French state and the umbrella organization of the 26 Crous in France, Cnous. The state-subsidized 1-euro meal for needy students in the canteen is particularly memorable: students who receive state funding (comparable to the German BAföG) can get a meal in the canteen consisting of a starter, main course and dessert for 1 euro. Not only do the students receive direct state support, but also the Crous does, e.g. in the form of the “France Relance” program. The aim of the program is to continue the modernization of the Crous and to improve the energy efficiency of the properties. Six residential refurbishments in the Crous Clermont Auvergne are supported under “France Relance”. Some of the residential complexes that have already been renovated or are still being renovated were part of the visiting program.
Le Tour d’Auvergne: Besse, Murol, Orcival, Clermont-Ferrand
Of course, the Franco-German exchange does not only take place on construction sites or, quite formally, in meeting rooms. At least as important is the informal encounter during joint excursions. And the Auvergne has a lot to offer! Centuries-old Romanesque churches, remote gems like Besse or Orcival, enchanted caves, impregnable castles like in Murol or volcanic lakes steeped in legend: the Auvergne may be wrongly considered an unknown region for many Germans. A unique natural spectacle unfolds between lakes, forests and mountains. And green pastures as far as the eye can see – perfect conditions for cattle breeding and cheese production. It is not for nothing that the Auvergne is known for cheeses such as Cantal or Saint-Nectaire.
The cities of Regensburg and Clermont-Ferrand are particularly closely connected. A town twinning has existed for over 50 years. One could almost think it logically, because the similarities between the two cities can be seen in the comparable number of inhabitants, a lively student scene and the imposing cathedrals in the heart of both cities. Ultimately, however, it is the people and especially the students who stimulate the relationship between the two cities. And the importance of these relations cannot be overestimated, as emphasized by Jérôme Auslender, deputy mayor of the city of Clermont-Ferrand and responsible for student life and international relations, during a reception of the Franco-German delegation at the Clermont-Ferrand town hall.
After the exchange is before the exchange
After three intensive program days, the ten-strong delegation returned to Regensburg, Passau, Landshut, Deggendorf and Cham. In the luggage: many beautiful memories of the moments spent together, the nice conversations and the professional input for the own work back in Germany. And of course with the certainty that there will be a reunion. Because after the exchange is before the exchange. A new two-year exchange cycle will begin in Niederbayern/Oberpfalz in 2023. The anticipation on both sides of the Rhine is already great.