Being an Australian in France

For an Australian moving to France, the transition can be pretty seamless (besides the language of course). The French and Aussies measure in the same way for example (metric system all the way for both countries), we write out dates with the date first and then the month and I have no living memory of having ever used Fahrenheit (seriously my American friends, it’s time to let it go!).

But the one thing that can throw me, is when people ask me about ‘next year.’ Continue reading

Why I Quit French (at Australian universities)

why_learn_a_language_42One of the bloggers I read recently pointed out the sad news that many foreign language programs are being cut in Australian universities, as Jeannie points out it seems we are far from entering ‘the Asian century’ which the Government wanted to introduce last year. In a nutshell the Australian Government wants more children to be literate in an Asian language (specifically Chinese Mandarin, Japanese, Indonesian and Hindi), you can read my thoughts about it here.

The reasons for these cuts to foreign language classes are numerous, from the more than $2 billion funding cut to universities to lack of enrolment. Jeannie brings up some good points but I’d like to add my perspective because I may have been part of the reason for language class cuts in Australian universities.

Simply – I quit. Continue reading

Cost of Living in Australia (East Coast): A Personal and Local Experience

australiaHow much does it cost to live in Australia? Depending on whether you live in a big city like Sydney or a regional town like Bendigo, the answer to that question can vary. I’ve written this as a follow up to the Cost of Living in France: A Personal Experience, but this time I’ve got a local’s experience to add to the mix.

On the ‘cost of living in Australia’ scale I am definitely on the more expensive end, living in Melbourne (the second largest city in Australia and now one of the most expensive cities in the world). Sydney is probably the only city where the cost of living would be more than Melbourne, but I’ve never lived there so I can’t say that for sure 🙂

My calculations are based on my share for expenses, I live with 3 other people which really helps the cost of living.

Monthly Bills Continue reading

You Know You’re Living in Australia When…

I think you’ll always see your country differently once you come back to it, sometimes it can be good or bad and other times its just a realisation that it is…. different to other places in the world! 🙂 It didn’t take long for me to feel I was not in France anymore…

1. People You Don’t Know Judge Your Football Team

Not long after I got home my mum decided to move house and needed to put most of her furniture in storage for a few months. She called a storage company and had someone come over to the house one day to estimate how much space she’d need for all her furniture.

I ended being the only one home when he arrived so I let the guy from the storage company in and showed him around. When he got to our living room he looked down at my brother’s football t-shirt draped over the couch which proudly displays his Australian football team Collingwood. The guy looked at the t-shirt and then turned to me and said “You’re not a Collingwood supporter are ya?”

I laughed and said no – it was my brother’s and I was a Geelong supporter. The guy laughed and told me ‘oh –  well that’s ok then!’ When he left and I had shut the door behind him I couldn’t help but think…. Only in Australia! Only in Australia, will people you don’t know make fun of your football team – in the nicest way possible.

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What Makes You Choose a Foreign Language? ‘Australia in the Asia Century’ White Paper

There’s been a lot of buzz around the new ‘Australia in the Asia Century’ white paper that’s been released by the Australian Federal Government recently. In a nutshell, Australia wants to prioritise Asian language learning and have all Australian students access to one of four Asian ‘priority’ languages (I’ve also got a poll at the end of the post!)

These languages are

  • Mandarin
  • Hindi
  • Japanese
  • Indonesian

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Australia VS France, Christmas by the fireside or the beach?

Being from the land down under I’m used to things a little differently, like celebrating Christmas in mid-summer 🙂 I know this sounds a little strange for you Northern Hemisphere readers, but having Christmas lunch outside on a summer’s day was normal to me… but I’d always dreamed of a wintry Christmas!

So I really wasn’t that sad to not be with my family last Christmas when I was in France, because a part of me thought I’d finally be getting a ‘real’ Christmas. After all, Christmas is based on a pre-Christian Pagan celebration of the winter solstice (the shortest and darkest day of the year).

However after spending a whole wintry Christmas in France, I can see there are some pros and cons for either Christmas’.

Summer Christmas – Pros

1. No winter colds

One thing I never thought of when celebrating Christmas on the other side of the globe was that winter time means winter bugs. One of my close French friends was sniffling and flued-up at the Christmas dinner table. Bugs were going around just like it does in Australia – but in mid-June or July. Far from the Christmas season.

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The Debate: France VS Australia Part Deux

As I near the end of my contract – 7 months in France has gone by quickly, I thought it was time for another ‘France VS Australia’ post. Living in France was one of my life dreams and has been an adventure where I’ve experienced the highs and lows. I’ve soaked up the glory of French culture and cuisine, made wonderful friends, cried over the injustice of French bureaucracy and can at the end see myself living in either France or Australia in the future (don’t panic anyone back home, I haven’t made any decisions yet 🙂 )

France

1. More comprehensive health care

The French public health care system is considered to be one of the best in the world, and I think it’s more comprehensive than Australia’s. A lot of things that Australian’s would have to pay for themselves such as dental work (excluding any true cosmetic procedures) and optometry are heavily subsidised by the Government or paid for completely. The downside of this system is that the offices and administration workers are a ‘bordel’ as the French would say 😉 Something that Australia’s ‘Medicare’ seems to do a better job at (discussed in detail under Australia’s section)

2. In the heart of Europe

It’s great to be in a part of the world where I can go to Belgium in an hour, get to Amsterdam in 3 plus have already managed to travel around France, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Morocco and will be heading to England in May. I think part of this is ‘I’m only here for a short amount of time so I’ve got to take advantage of it’ is part of the reason. I don’t travel as much in my own region of the world because to me its my own backyard and I have the ‘I can go there anytime’ mentality a lot of locals have… Yet I still feel it’s a lot easier to travel living in Europe than Australia.

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