A FRENCH exchange student staying in Colac says she “loves” Australia and that it is “very different” from France.
Victoria Babeau, 17, hails from Cognac in the south of France and is a guest of Colac and West Colac Rotary clubs.
Victoria has left a French summer behind and arrived in a bleak Victorian winter.
“I love Australia although I don’t like your weather. In France it’s very different,” Victoria said.
“People who live in Australia are very, very nice. All the persons I met are very caring and happy with me,” she said.
Victoria, studying at Colac Secondary College, has previously visited Thailand, Spain, Italy and Switzerland, but said Australia was different.
“I think Australia isn’t comparable to other countries. It is very different because it is an island,” she said.
Victoria said she wanted to make a career of meeting people from around the world.
“I like international relations because I love to discover new countries and to speak with everybody,” she said.
Victoria said she wanted to try surfing and see kangaroos and koalas while in Australia.
“I want to discover your towns I see on the television; Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra,” she said.
Victoria will stay with four Rotary families during her year in Australia.
Rotarian Liz Leitch is Victoria’s Australian counsellor, helping her organise things like school and bank accounts.
She said Victoria would face challenges such as improving her English skills but that she would cope because she was outgoing and confident.
“It’s going to be a challenge for her doing school with the language barrier. I’m sure she’ll cope very well with it. She’s got a very mature attitude,” Ms Leitch said.
Ms Leitch has counselled other exchange students in the past and says the program benefits teenage students.
“You can really see the changes in that child that goes away as a child and comes back as a young adult,” she said.
Colac Rotary Club president Glenn Paranthoiene-Small said Rotary hosted exchange students because it helped them on the path to adulthood.
“It gives these kids a fantastic, life-altering experience,” she said.
At the end of Victoria’s exchange she will travel around Australia for three months with other exchange students.