French on the horizon

The French student trip to New Caledonia was very far away, then suddenly it was very close. It was exciting to be accepted to go on this trip, and a wonderful opportunity, a gift, from the Australian government via the New Colombo Plan. I am grateful to Flinders for making this happen.

When you haven’t visited a country before, you don’t really know what to expect. So I only had some vague ideas. I knew there was a group of us (9), and for me that is a welcome novelty as usually I travel alone. People to share the experience with? Fantastique! We had a lot of support before the ‘big day’ to make sure we were well prepared – no nasty surprises. To be immersed in a country where everyone speaks French, you can’t get more ‘authentique’ than that. And to learn and travel at the same time, for me ‘c’est la vie’ that I want.

My main hope was to progress my French. At uni, the maximum number of contact hours per French topic is 2-3 per week, not what you would call immersion. From personal experience I know that the best way to talk, think, even dream (!) in French is to be in a place where it is sensurround. New Caledonia has never been on my wish list of places to go, but now I realise there is a French speaking country right on Australia’s doorstep. I’ve been to France three times, and it’s always an ordeal to get there. But 5 hours and voila!

So New Caledonia, here I come!

Andrea (Lee) Rankin, Bachelor of Letters (French) (Graduate Entry) student participated in the program “Understanding New Caledonia: New perspectives and traditions” in November- December 2019. The program was funded by the New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant (short term).



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