Over the past month, St Joseph’s College has had the privilege of welcoming an exchange student from France, Vincent Albrecht. Here’s a little bit about what we have learnt about him so far…
Mr Guy Davoren
Hoade House Leader
Vincent is from Strasbourg, in the east of France, on the border of Germany. He has a twin brother, Mathias, a big brother, Alexes, and his parents are Marjorie and Pierre. They live in a traditional, four-storey Alsation house (like the ones pictured here). It’s made of wood, with a lovely garden courtyard in the middle of the house.
While in Australia, he is living with fellow student, Lachlan Cameron from Year 11, and his family. Vincent said about his time so far, “It’s fun. A lot of activities such as biking, Gold Coast Show, BBQs in Australia.”
In France, he attends Saint Etienne College, which is five minutes walk from his home. Vincent said it was a big school, with lots more people than St Joseph’s. You go from Year 7-11 in one building and then move to a different facility for Year 12 as, in France, it is the most critical year. They have a large church in the middle of the school. A typical day has 7-8 classes. You are with the same people the entire day. There are around 40 people in his class and it can be very loud. School starts from 8am to 12pm and then you have lunch break for 2 hours, where you can go home or stay at school. If you stay, you use the canteen, which you pay a sum of money at the start of term and they provide a substantial meal every day, which is a hot lunch, during their major break. Then it’s back to class at 2pm before finishing at 6pm. Apparently, French students aren’t friends with teachers like how we are here. While there’s no uniforms, they still have a dress code. For their discipline system, you get 5 marks/chances - if you get up to 5, you then spend 2 hours on a Wednesday afternoon doing school work with a teacher in a line. Their Wednesday usually finishes at 12pm, like how our seniors have their super afternoon.
Not many students have cars in Strasbourg, they just use public transport and you can’t be alone in a car driving until you are 18. During lunch at school you can have your phone, but they can’t any other time. There are no homerooms and no school captains, but they have two class captains for each class and he is Religious Class Captain. For their report cards, instead of being graded A-E, they are marked from 0-20. At the end of each term, all the teachers from his class sit in a room and have an honest conversation with each kid about how they are going and then the class captains can add in comments as well.
Vincent says the things he likes most about Australia are, “The beach. People are kind and friendly here. In supermarkets, you get spoken to “Hello, how is your day? How are you?” Whereas in France no one speaks to you and if they do, it seems really weird.” He also likes that he has lots of options for food and shops.
Vincent with some members from his AWC group Hoade 1
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Nuclear engineer, working in the military.
What’s the difference in food/supermarkets?
More large branded supermarkets here. Things like protein powder we can’t get from supermarkets like you can. Not as many bakeries here. In France, there’s one on every street.
Do you play sports?
I used to play ice hockey. Soccer is popular as well as basketball and tennis.
What's your after-school routine?
Walk home from school (in winter it’s dark when you walk home, night)
Go to your room to read
7-8 have dinner with your family
Sport with your brother or gym
What do you do at the weekends?
Hang with your friends, bowling, park
Hang with girlfriend
Why did you pick Australia?
I picked here because I wanted to improve my English. I had the choice between England, USA and here. I think Australia is really exotic and beautiful. I want to see a koala.
What is your aim for coming and getting education in Australia?
To improve my English. Speak to other people from Australia. Learn new skills. Learn about Australia. I want to become a better person and make memories and learn more about myself.
Do you have a job?
I don’t have a job. In France, it’s uncommon to have a job before 18, due to finishing school so late, you don’t have time. Some people work during the school holidays.
Thanks for providing the opportunity to get to know you, Vincent! We hope you enjoy your time here.
By Charlotte Wilmhurst and Alyssa Humphreys
Vincent, with Alyssa, who prepared this interview