GENERAL

Applying is easy. First, just enter your details into our enquiry form and we’ll get in touch to let you know the next steps.
Once we’ve received your application, we’ll get in touch to organise an informal interview with you. It’s just a way for us to get to know you and to help us find your perfect French correspondent and host family. If you’re going to be hosting a French student, we’ll come and visit you at home and meet your parents. Then we’ll get in touch to work through the nitty gritty of the plan with you.
We can help you work out which program is the perfect one for you. Just enter some details in our enquiry form and we’ll be in touch soon. And don’t worry if you don’t know exactly when you’d like to go. We can work out all the details later.
Our team is made up of French and Australian people who have been doing this for almost two decades. We’re linked to the French Embassy and Alliance Française. We think this makes us the Australian experts in French exchanges and experiences. We’re the only Australian student exchange organisation sending students exclusively to France that meets the strict safety standards needed for accreditation with the NSW and Victoria state governments. The thing we’re proudest of is the care and attention we put into finding the best match for every student. In our experience, students who connect with their French correspondents have the most fun, see the biggest improvements in their language skills and often form lifelong bonds.
We often run information sessions at schools. If you’d like us to come and talk to your school or to find out if we’ve already got a session planned, you can email us here. Otherwise, we love one-one-one conversations so for any questions you have that aren’t answered here, please get in touch with us and we can arrange a call or video chat session. If you’re in Melbourne, or are visiting, you’re more than welcome to organise a time to come into our office and meet us.

PROGRAM DETAILS

Our program prices are extremely competitive and comprehensive. Get in touch now for a price list.

You must be an Australian high school student in between years nine and 11 (or aged 14 to 17
when the program commences).

A French correspondent is you, but in France. They are students of a similar age and
personality and with similar passions. The idea is that they’ll be your BFF, your confidante and
the person who helps you really immerse yourself in French culture. You’ll attend the same
classes at the same school, you’ll socialise together and if you’re there over school holidays,
you’ll go on holiday with them and their family.

When you first apply, we conduct an interview to get to know as much about you as possible.
Then, taking into consideration things like your age, any health or dietary concerns, interests,
hobbies, personality types, religion, family values and location, we set about finding you the
perfect correspondent and host family

No. We have placements in and around Paris, in large cities such as Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lyon
and Tours, in some smaller towns and even rural areas so you could end up anywhere.
You can let us know if you’d prefer Paris, or mountains to the sea, a city to the country, and we’ll see what we can do to make it happen. However, our priority is making sure you have the
perfect French correspondent.

The French school system is different to the Australian school system, and a student’s experience of it will vary from school to school and class to class. It will, of course, take some getting used to. But don’t worry, once we know which school you’ll be attending, we’ll let you know exactly what to expect when you get there.

Depending on the proficiency of your French language skills, you may find school in France
hard going sometimes. And the better you are at understanding French and the braver you
become speaking it, the easier school will become.

One way:
This program offers you full flexibility of dates and durations during the French school year,
which runs from September to June. We only ask that students arrive in and depart France on a Saturday.
Reciprocal:
French students will be in Australia between Saturday, 13 June and Saturday, 25 July, 2020.
Australian students will be in France from Saturday, 5 December, 2020 to Saturday, 16 January, 2021 for six weeks or until 27 February for 12 weeks.
Private boarding school:
This program offers you full flexibility of dates and durations during the French school year,
which runs from September to June. We only ask that students arrive in and depart France on a Saturday

Yes, as long as it’s organised and agreed with your host family before your arrival in France.

No. We realise that if you were, you probably wouldn’t go on a student exchange to France. We
do ask that you only apply for an exchange experience if you are currently learning French.
However, we can make exceptions if you start learning French as soon as you apply for your
exchange.

We are contactable 24/7 during the exchange. You can contact us via Facebook and Instagram, or on our French or Australian emergency phone numbers. We have a team of local
representatives in charge of the local assistance. We also check-in regularly with all students.

No. We only ask that you concentrate on improving your language skills. If you want to get the
same homework as the French students, you can but it is not compulsory

When you’re going to France, you’re going to a foreign country. This means there will be cultural differences that might take some getting used to. There are the obvious things like language, food and money, of course, but plenty of others that might take you by surprise. Please remember you are a guest in France and there to experience life as a French teenager. Don’t be afraid to ask questions but most of all, be prepared to adapt.

We have a partnership with the Alliance Français in most capital cities around Australia and offer discounted French language classes to our students. Find out more on our partnerships
page.

TRAVEL

Yes. We understand that some parents wish to use frequent flyer points or book through other
loyalty or work-related schemes. That’s why we now offer the flexibility for flights to be booked
separately. We do, however, ask that all flights are booked for students to arrive in and depart
from Paris on a Saturday. This is so a member of our team can be there to meet them and help
them with any connections.
Please note that there will be an added program cost when flights are booked separately as it
creates more admin for us when organising chaperones and dealing with delays or missed
connections.

Yes. Whether you book the flights or we do, all program costs include comprehensive travel
insurance for the period of the exchange. If you wish to travel in Europe before or after your
exchange, you will need to purchase travel insurance for this period. We also need to talk about
the instance where it is included in the school fees

Yes, for the one way and boarding school programs. The only condition is that you must arrive
in France, and depart France on a Saturday.
Reciprocal program dates are set in stone. However, you can host your correspondent before
you travel or after you’ve been.

Yes. You can choose to:
Travel independently both to and from France
Travel with the group to France and independently home (or elsewhere)
Travel independently (or elsewhere) to France and home with the group

Yes but you need to arrive in France on a Saturday so our team can take care of you upon your
arrival.

You and your friend can apply for the same program but we won’t place you with the same host
family. This is because the goal of the program is to immerse yourself in the French language
and culture. If you’re there with a friend, you’ll find yourself gravitating towards them and
speaking English, missing out on a true French experience.
Plus, we match you with a correspondent who’s a similar age, has a complementary personality,
and shares hobbies and taste with you to give you the chance to create a friendship of a lifetime
with them.

Yes, if you are really unhappy, you can return home early. However, first, we’ll try very hard to
solve any problems you encounter and to make sure you’ve tried everything too.
We know that being away from home and in a new environment can be challenging at first, but
we promise it’ll be worth it. And in our experience, most students who insist on coming home
early regret their decision.

Yes, if you don’t feel happy or safe with your host family, we can organise a change of
environment for you.

We aren’t qualified to offer visa advice or to process your visa application. However, generally,
Australian citizens (under 18) don’t need visas when going to France for less than 90 days.
If you’re unsure about whether you need a visa or are interested in a program longer than 90
days, please refer to the French consulate for information.
We recommend starting your visa applications six months before the start of your exchange.
Please note that in some cases, applicants may need to attend the French consulate in Sydney
for an interview.

SAFETY

We visit all families and home individually making sure they:
  • Provide police checks for all adults
  • Understand the aim of hosting and are ready to do it
  • Will speak French to the student and not try to practice their English
  • Suit the personality and interests of the Australian student
  • Can provide the student with their own bedroom
We also conduct visits to the French school.
We ask that every adult participate in a Working with Children Check or a national criminal records check, depending on the jurisdiction. These checks reflect the highest and most relevant level of records screening available for that jurisdiction. We also conduct an in-home visit and interview to ensure your family is ready to host a French student.
All host families complete a structured, face-to-face interview in the family home. During the interview, the family is asked a series of questions to help create a profile about them, their home environment, its rules and their expectations of hosting an exchange student. The interviewer also discusses what to expect when hosting an exchange student, what to do in case of emergency, and the support structures available to both the student and the family. The interviewer also answers any questions the host family may have. During this process the interviewer begins to ascertain the suitability of the student for an exchange, and the potential issues that could develop during the students exchange. The interviewer inspects the home, and makes thorough notes of the entire interview. We would not proceed with a host family application if relevant adverse information was obtained during this part of the application.
Yes. Through the application procedure, contact is made with the host school to establish further background information on the host family where possible to determine both their suitability for an exchange, and the potential issues that could develop during the students exchange. This is provided in both written form, and schools are encouraged to contact AFX in confidence should it be deemed necessary. This process also assists with the students’ integration into the host school, as it allows the school to specify relevant rules and procedures for incoming exchange students.
As part of the application procedure, a medical form completed by each student’s doctor. This questionnaire indicates if the doctor believes the student is of sufficient physical and mental health to complete a student exchange. It provides information on relevant health conditions a student may suffer from, and treatments a student may use. If a serious mental or physical condition is identified, (eg: depression, eating disorders) further documentation is requested from the practitioner treating the student for these conditions, stating their professional opinion as to whether they believe that student is capable of participating in the student exchange. AFX also consults with health professionals on a case-by-case basis when student welfare concerns become apparent whilst a student is on exchange.
All students who travel with our summer groups from Melbourne, Sydney and Paris are accompanied by an AFX team member who has been subject to the Working with Children Check and specifically trained to accompany group travel. All students travelling outside groups register with airlines as unaccompanied minors, where the chain of custody is maintained from leaving their parents in their host country, through travel and transit to France, and upon arrival in France when meeting the AFX local representative who then assists the student in meeting their host family, or onward travel.
Students and host families in both France and Australia have access to a 24/7 support hotline where they can speak to someone in their language. They will be offered telephone support and can be provided with support from local representatives, medical professionals and more. Local representatives are available for all students to contact for support and assistance on any matter. Trained and police-checked, these representatives can also make scheduled and unannounced visits to host families during the exchange period.
In addition to 24/7 telephone support, we also initiates and maintains contact with students throughout their stay, using phone, email, social media and messaging to facilitate communication in a format which suits and encourages the students. This more regular and less formal contact allows students to inform us of smaller issues and questions, and allows us to keep tabs on the student’s welfare.

We request that all students register with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trades (DFAT)
(http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/registration-help.html) before they travel. DFAT can facilitate
consular support for Australians travelling overseas. We can help with the equivalent access for
French students travelling in Australia.

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