12 Feb 2019

Student exchange to France

My experiences on this exchange spanned the breadth and width of my wildest hopes and expectations. From thrilling chance encounters with the Yellow Jacket protestors, to enlightening visits to museums throughout Paris and Chantilly, and the discovery of new friends and culinary experiences, every successive chapter of my exchange has been more fulfilling and enlightening than the last.

I remember the day of my initial arrival, and the gentle rapprochement of my host family who proved highly generous in their desire to sacrifice time, money and energy towards the betterment of my exchange experience. I am extremely grateful to them for their enthusiasm and patience in the face of countless questions, enquiries and judgements regarding their culture, language and way of life. I can say with total certainty that the answers given have enabled me an invaluable understanding of France that will transcend high school in its significance and depth. It is a very rare thing to claim genuine first-hand experience with and knowledge of a society so different to your own, and I’m overjoyed that my host family was able to provide that for me.

Tom Charley (12/PR)

Photo 1 – Our trip to the top of the Eiffel Tower was also fascinating because it gave us a unique perspective of the city’s layout and interesting geography, with large boulevards and ancient towering landmarks like Invalides and the Louvre.

Photo 2 – This photo shows my class in Paris. I made a lot of friends here and learned much about the French way of life from both the curriculum and interaction with the students.

Below is another student account of an exchange to France.

In December 2018, I participated, for the second year in a row, in the Newington College French exchange program. I attended a school called ‘French in Normandy’, an international language college, based in Rouen. As I mentioned, this was my second time participating in this type of program and being given the opportunity the first time was fantastic, so having the chance to go again was even better, as I already knew many of the teachers at the school as well as what to expect from the workload. I would highly recommend this experience to anyone who is looking for a way to improve their French and to learn more about French life and culture.

The school in Rouen was as I remembered it. The first day was the same as last time, with a spoken and written placement test. I thought it was very accurate, and it assured that I would be placed in the correct class for my level of French and for throughout the time I was there. Although I was only at the school for two weeks, each week we had a different teacher and topic, which incorporated learning French with other aspects of French life and culture and life in general, such as art and the media. All of the classes are taught exclusively in French which I think accelerates your abilities to understand and converse in French.

Many activities are run after school and the host families were involved in a lot more of the school social events than my last visit. On weekends we spent time as a group going to night Christmas Markets and going ice-skating in the local town centre. Activities like this were often organised by the group and we had the freedom to catch up after school and at night as long as we kept our host families informed. I also spent many nights with my host family and helped in preparing dinner. Of the organised activities by the school, they were all optional which allowed you to pick and choose which ones you wanted to go to. It was a great way to socialise and make friends with the other international students. 

Overall, the difference this time was that I spent a lot more time with the other Australian students outside of school while still allowing me to spend time with my host family. Again, as with my last visit, my time at French in Normandy was one of the best experiences of my life. I have already said, but I feel like it needs to be said again, that I would 100% recommend to anyone who wants to improve their French, experience French life and culture and also make some great friends as well.

Harrison Rowland (12/FL)


200 Stanmore Road
Stanmore NSW 2048
+61 2 9568 9333


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