Being a French Exchange Student

Hello my lovelies,

Today I’m going to be sharing with you my experiences of being a French exchange student. Back in 2014 I was an exchange student in Bordeaux, France for about one month. So, I want to share with you the comparisons between France and Australia and things you should take note of before going there.

School hours

Be prepared for long hours at French school! In Australia, school starts at 9 in the morning and finishes at 3 in the afternoon everyday. This obviously differs in year 12 when students get free periods, and they can leave school earlier.

In France school starts at 8 in the morning and can finish at either 12, 4, or 5 in the afternoon. This really ruined my system when I was there because I had to adjust to a different flow, and I found myself being very fatigued throughout the whole day. However, after a week I did manage to adjust to the flow and new schedule.

Policies

One of the main things that shocked me in French school was the fact that smoking was legal, as long as it was outside of the school gate. It was so strange to see all the French students congregate outside of the school and light up a cigarette. This is because in Australia smoking on or anywhere near school premises is the biggest ‘no, no’.

Lunch time

In Australian schools you get around an hour off for lunch and you can either have a packed lunch from home or you can buy something from the canteen. What I hate about Australian is the fact that we are not allowed to eat inside. It’s frustrating during the winter because no one wants to stand outside in the cold and eat their food.

In France students eat indoors in the cafeteria, and they have a hot lunch. They have a ‘plat principle’ which is a main meal, they then can choose from cheese, fruit, yogurt, and a dessert.

Uniform 

In France students do not need to wear a uniform to school and are allowed to wear free dress. This differs from Australia, as in Australia you have to wear a school uniform. I wasn’t really nervous when it came to wearing free dress in France…in fact I was thankful. Let me rant a little, I hate school uniforms in Australia. They are expensive, not comfortable, and are made of the worst material. Personally, I liked wearing my own clothes which I feel comfortable in.

That’s all the comparisons I can think of, and I hope you enjoyed reading this.

Signing off,

TheMakeupDumpling

Achieve that ‘A’ without reading the book

Alright, my lovelies so you have not read that book your English teacher has assigned you to read over the term break. Maybe you attempted to read said book, but it was so dull and disengaging you did not even bother to make it past the first twenty pages. Fear not, because your girl Honeybunnay has got your back and will help you pull through.

Guys even if you have not read your assigned book, you can still obtain a pretty good result. Do not read this post thinking that you would just get a mere ‘C’. Last year in my literature class I did not read any of the assigned books and I managed to average B’s and A’s. Furthermore, this year I did not even bother to read the assigned texts and I managed to obtain top scores.

This is most definitely the hardest way to go about things, because it is easier just to read the book and save yourself from stress and confusion. Take note, I did not just obtain those scores by the sites I have mentioned below.

Listen attentively in class discussions

I understand that it is much easier to tune out of class discussions, especially when you have no clue what is going on. However, listening on class discussions allows you to get a feel of everyone else’s interpretation of the novel and their feelings regarding certain characters. E.g. a boy in my literature class stated that he hated all the characters in the novel we were studying, because there was no morally just characters. My teacher then stated that perhaps the author did this intentionally in order to showcase how during that time period society was corrupt.

Do some research on the author, novel, and context

Do not think that you can just walk into your first class with no knowledge of the author or the novel…IT DOES NOT WORK OUT THAT WAY! Even if you have not read the book, it does not limit you from finding out about the author’s life and how that influences the book. Nor, does it limit you from finding out the views, and values upheld within that time period. The invention of the internet has made all this easier for us with websites such as LitChartsSparknotes, and Shmoop giving accurate detail regarding a variety of texts and plays. Also, if you really do not want to read those posts, because reading is not your thing and you would rather watch a video then I present to you the Sparknotes YouTube channel.That is right guys there is an educational non pretentious YouTube channel that explains the plot of a novel with pictures!

Watch the movie

There are some implications with watching the movie version of a novel because certain scenes may be inserted or deleted. The order is jumbled up, and the director presents certain characters differently compared  to how the author does it. E.g. in the 1995 film adaptation of the Jane Austen novel Persuasion, Elisabeth Elliot is portrayed as a slob whereas, in the novel she is by no means a slob just a very vain young woman. By watching the film it helps one get a feel of the story, making it easier to take into account the personalities of the characters and a feel for the era.

Your teacher is a source, take advantage of this!

So, your teacher has set the date for the SAC (test) and you have your prompts and you are ready to start writing a practice essay. I suggest that you establish a clear idea of what you want to write and what themes you would like to expand upon. Before writing your essay complete a draft and take that draft to your teacher to overlook it. Your teacher should be able to look through your draft and tell you whether or not corrections need to be made, and if you need to elaborate more on ideas. If you do not have the best relationship with your teacher then perhaps take it to another English teacher that may have taught you in the past.

I understand that everyone is different and some of these options may not work for you guys. However, this is what helps me and if I can aid anyone else to avoid stress I would be happy to know.Comment down below and let me know if some of these strategies work for you guys.

NOTE: I was not sponsored by any of these sites, this is my honest opinion.

Study Hacks

It’s a Friday evening and you are laying on your bed staring at the stack of books on your desk. You may be staring at those inanimate objects scathingly thinking, ‘strippers earn a lot of money and they didn’t need to apply Pythag’s formula into their everyday life,’. Well my lovelies stop that thinking this instant and change your mindset. I am going to share with you some little strategies that help me.

Cute stationery

I don’t know about you guys, but if my stationery is not cute then I won’t even bother completing any of my assignments. There’s just something about aesthetically pleasing stationery that just makes me want to pick up my multitude of gel ink pens and start writing notes.

If you’re worried about pricing and how expensive some stationery is, not to fear there are many places that sell cheap, quality stationery. Places such as DaisoTargetK-mart, and Typo (however, I do not recommend Typo’s pens because they always run out THE DAY I purchase them). If you guys want to splurge then I recommend Kikki K, which is a haven for quality, pastel stationery that will make you squeak at the amount of adorableness. Also, the compliments don’t hurt as well.

Make a list 

Lists are life. There I said it, lists just make life so much easier especially if you are a forgetful person like I am. On my desk is a white board positioned next to me and whenever I wake up on the weekend I write down all my subject from most important to least. This helps me keep my mind focused, so that my mind does not wander. Furthermore, there is something just satisfying about ticking off things off a list.

Take advantage of your facilities 

If you get distracted at home due to annoying siblings, internet, or TV then I reccommend you take advantage of the facilites around you. My school’s senior centre is open at around seven in the morning to about seven or eight in the evening. Therefore, if you’re a morning person then go to school an hour early and buckle down and get an hour and half of school work done. Or, if you are like me and find yourself more productive in the eveing then stay back after school and get some study done. For me, the school day finishes at three and I stay back until six or six-thirty getting work done. What I love about my school’s senior centre is that it is a wide space, where students can access the spare classrooms, the group study area, or the quiet study area, comprised of individual desks and chairs.

One of the biggest things that have benefited me about staying back after school is the fact that I have access to my teachers. If I get stuck on a question or don’t understand the content I can easily seek out my teachers and get everything sorted out.

If you guys live a fair bit away from your school, and are unable to access these resources then I recommend the public library. The library is a quite area with a calm atmosphere perfect for some intense studying. You will most likely not be bothered by anyone and if you find yourself peckish, libraries are always positioned near food stores.

Buy a diary

Just like with making a list, organisation is key in order to stay on top of things. My school, supplies students with a diary, but if your school does not do that then you can pick one up at a post office. In my school diary I like to note that what classes I have on for the day and I bring my diary with me to every class. Therefore, I can note down my homework and important dates regarding SACS (tests) and school events (swimming and sport carnivals).

These little things make a difference in my attitude towards school work. As a result, I am less stressed and more organised. I hope this benefits you guys!!

Disclaimer: I have not been sponsored by any of the brands listed, this is just my honest opinion.

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