This semester, GCC French department has had the pleasure of hosting French assistant Louise Godin. This has been an amazing opportunity for all students to improve their French language skills. Having a native assistant has played a pivotal role in shaping the linguistic proficiency and cultural awareness of students. Louise has served as a linguistic guide, offering students real-time feedback and refining their language skills through conversation and dialogue. Louise’s presence has also brought a lot of energy and dynamism into the classroom, and her interactive activities, which has incorporated multimedia resources, games, authentic materials, and cultural insights, has truly made language learning come alive. We are forever grateful for her massive input in creating fun learning experiences and resources for students and the French department staff.
I am using this opportunity to let Louise talk about herself and her experiences here in Australia.
I’m Louise GODIN, I’m 30 years old and I’m from France. I live next to Angers, a city located in the North West of the country (about 3 hours away from Paris, by car).
About my family: there are my parents, and I have two siblings: an older sister and a younger brother. I also have a cat. I love music (especially singing), and I also like watching movies, writing, baking, and doing craft (ceramic). I am keen on pop culture and spending time with my family and my friends. I have a degree in “Culture and Media”. I used to be a journalist for radio stations.
2. Why did you want to take part in the language assistant program?
I wanted to take part in the language assistant program because I wanted to travel, not as a “simple” tourist, but by gaining some professional experience. I am also interested in education and foreign languages. Currently, I’m feeling a bit “lost” about my professional career, and I wanted to discover different things in order to find out what I really would like to do for a living.
Being a language assistant has been a great way to discover Australia, a place that I had never been to before. This has been a good opportunity to learn about Australian culture and I am hoping that students have enjoyed having me in the classroom to talk about French culture with a native French person.
3. What have been the best experiences in Australia so far?
I have done and seen many great things since I’ve been in Australia, at school, with my host families, and by myself. I have discovered several beautiful beaches here and I’m always amazed by their beauty: the color of the water, the thinness of the sand, the peaceful power of the waves…incredible!
I’ve also had good experiences at school. It has been fun creating texts and revision games for students, and talking with them about different topics. In addition, I have enjoyed going to a French cafe with the Year 12 French students and to a French restaurant with the Year 8 classes at the end of Term 3.
4. What has been one of the worst experiences?
Not the worst, but probably one of the most epic! When I went to Cairns, I decided to go over there by train (which was actually a nice idea, at first). But, the train from Brisbane to Cairns left the train station with 8 hours of delay (keep in mind that the journey is long enough in itself: 24 hours and 45 minutes). I had to wait all day long on the platform. It was a long and quite boring moment, but now, I consider it a good memory, and it makes me laugh. It made me enjoy more the rest of the trip.
5. What are the biggest differences between schools in France and Australia?
There are many differences. Here are a few: In France, we don’t have many schools that go from prep to year 12. We have 3 types of institutions: prep/primary school, middle school, and finally senior high school. Kids and students don’t wear uniforms.
School days are longer. Generally, students start around 8:00/8:30 am and finish around 5:00 pm. Teachers teach only one subject. Moreover, in France, students don’t have laptops provided by school. They use notebooks during class (and write a lot). We probably use less high technology in class (smart boards, for instance) than in Australia. If students need to work on a PC, they go to the library. In a way, school in France is a bit more strict and academic than here.
We learn classic subjects: maths, French, history and geography, sciences, English and a second foreign language, and a bit of music and arts. We don’t have cooking classes in college.
6. How does language learning differ in France and Australia?
In France, students start learning English in primary school, and it’s compulsory until Year 12 (a grade called “terminale” in France). In middle school, students have to choose another foreign language to learn (in addition to English). They have a choice between Spanish and German (sometimes they can choose Italian). Lessons are pretty similar with written, oral, and audio exercises, sometimes listening to songs and watching movies. In France, we consider that learning English is very important to fit in our society nowadays (especially in Europe). The English language is used pretty much in every field.
7. Other interesting facts Australians should know about France?
Maybe some advice…If one day you go to France, try not to stay in Paris during the whole journey. Even if the capital is very beautiful, go visit other places! France is way smaller than Australia, but it’s a rich country. (Enjoy the bakeries !)
Tuija Hast, Head of LOTE