France has a large variety of charms – from beachside towns to quaint inland villages to busy cities and snowy mountain villages. The people living in the countryside mainly live a very traditional life. To apply for a 3 month semester or year long exchange to France, you must have been studying French for at least 2 years. Students that would like to apply for the 2 month reciprocal or non-reciprocal programs must have been studying French for at least 6 months before arrival in France.
The school year in France lasts from the beginning of September to the end of June. Usually there are 10 days of holidays in the autumn, 2 weeks at Christmas, 2 weeks in winter and 2 weeks in spring. A normal school day in France generally starts at 8:30am and ends at 5:30pm. During the day, there is a 1 to 2 hours break for lunch. There are no school uniforms in France. In class, students often have to listen, take a lot of notes and read chapters in text books at home. Your host parents will often want to be involved in catching up on your school life. They’ll also be very happy to help you with your homework. Friends usually meet on Wednesday afternoons and on Saturdays, not in evenings during the week because schools and families expect all students to work on their school assignments and other homework. In France, school is considered to be for serious study not for social activities or events, which is why extra curricular activities are not normally provided by schools. You will need to find social activities and hobbies outside of school which your host family can help you with.
Most host families in France live in small towns, suburbs or in small communities and can be very different: some have children, some do not, some are single parents. The most important part of daily life in a French family is to spend time together generally during the evening meal at around 7:30pm. Family members normally eat together at this time and the meal lasts for about an hour. During this time, the family talk and share the happenings of their day. During dinner your host family will often ask you about your school assignments, your results at school and about your different activities as a way of showing you they care. As you will be a member of the family, you will be expected to respect rules and wishes of your family and tell them about your activities.
Short Program (2 Months)
Our short 2 month program to France offers students the opportunity to travel to France with a group of other students from Australia and New Zealand with a chaperone. The chaperone acts as a flight leader and travels with the students from Australia to France. The chaperone remains in contact with the students throughout the exchange and is based at the National Office in France as an intern, and then returns to Australia with the group. Students may choose to participate in the reciprocal short program, where Australian and New Zealand families may host a “partner” teenager from France in their own homes – from July-August. On the short program to France, flights are ex: Sydney or Auckland only. For more information about the reciprocal program or non-reciprocal short programs, please contact us.
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