Two student placements from Sunderland’s French twin town of Saint Nazaire will be going home in time for Christmas wishing their hosts a ‘Joyeux Noël’ as they leave.

Marceline Assani (20) and Nathanaëlle Rade (19) have been on work experience with Sunderland City Council’s International Team since the beginning of November, working alongside their English colleagues on a number of projects.

They have spent much of their time working on Sunderland’s partnership with their home town, Saint-Nazaire, where they are both students at the Lycée Aristide studying Executive Assistant Vocational Training.

This has included preparation for a civic visit from the Mayor of Saint-Nazaire, Mr David Samzun, to help celebrate the 65th anniversary of the official twinning relationship between the two communities.

They have also particularly worked on the EU-funded ERASMUS+ health and education programme that links twelve schools in both cities, on partnership programmes looking at ways of improving everything from education attainment and classroom achievement to promoting health and well-being through sport within school.

To help wish them both ‘bon voyage’ as they prepare to leave the city, the Mayor of Sunderland, Councillor Lynda Scanlan invited Marceline and Nathanaëlle into the Mayor’s Parlour for a small civic reception and thank you on behalf of the people of Sunderland.

The Mayor Cllr Scanlan said: “I’ve met Marceline and Nathanaëlle on a number of occasions, particularly when the delegation from Saint Nazaire was visiting us, and they’ve really contributed to the work of our International team during their stay.

“It’s placements like theirs, and the partnership projects we share across education, business and cultural exchange, which really help deepen the friendship and mutual understanding between our two communities.”

Marceline said: “I have been lucky to have the opportunity to have a very enriching stay in Sunderland, both professionally and personally. The residents are very hospitable and all the people I have met so far have made me comfortable, which has really helped me to settle well here.

“This experience will help me a lot in my career, as I hope to gain my professional qualification in Management when I return to France.”

Nathanaëlle added: “I’m delighted I had the chance to do my internship here, I did not see all of the city, but I enjoyed what I saw. The people are very welcoming and are always smiling!

“Concerning my plans for the future, I hope to gain my professional qualification in heritage conservation

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