Annie - University of Queensland Intensive French in New Caledonia

B Science / D Languages
Winter 2023
I am now far more comfortable with expressing myself in French.


When I originally heard about the program I was instantly interested. I have had the chance to partake in other immersion opportunities overseas but going to a country so close to Australia, and hearing all the local issues whilst also learning about New Caledonia's relationship with France drew me in.

Personal Development

This experience was incredible, and I believe I grew a lot.  I have taken part in other French immersion opportunities, however this one was a lot more independent, and hence allowed me to experience travel by myself. Additionally, I am now far more comfortable with expressing myself in French, I firmly believe that doing a homestay is one of the best ways to pick up a new language and my homestay experience had me learning new vocabulary every day. Another aspect which made the trip such a success was how I was able to interact with the other people on the trip. We were all at different levels of French, however we created a very positive and open environment where everyone felt comfortable having a go at expressing themselves, even if they weren't sure they were being grammatically correct.

Academic Development

The experience was very intimidating at first. Going to live with a new family who speak a different language to you is always daunting at first, however I found that after a few days my confidence started to grow, and the way in which I expressed myself improved. Additionally, during the week we had intensive French classes every day, meaning that the experience was truly immersive.

Professional Development

This experience allowed me to become more confident in my French ability and inspired me to try and incorporate French into my career at some point in my life. I am very passionate about languages and communication, and some of the opportunities which came up during my short-term study (such as two evenings at the Australian consulate) helped me to realise that having the ability to speak a second language is a very valuable skill.


I was lucky enough to receive funding through the New Colombo Plan and that covered most of the expenses of the trip, including the school, homestay and food at the homestay. However, because New Caledonia is a small island in the Pacific the cost of living is much higher than Australia, wherein food and other things that I wanted to buy (gifts, clothes, etc) were a lot more expensive. I would advise other students to do their research before going on their trip. If they need to exchange currency it may be better to do it before arriving at the country, because once you get there you may be stuck. Additionally I would always recommend having some money that they are able to access if they need, a sort of emergency fund.


The funding that I received was extremely important in my decision to undertake the short-term study. If not for the funding, I am unsure whether I would have been in a financial position to commit to the study experience. All of the funding that I received through the New Colombo plan went to paying for my homestay and the school fees, and they covered a massive portion of what i had to pay.


On my program we had 2 options, a homestay or to stay at a hotel for the duration of the trip. I was keen to do the homestay, because I knew that it would allow me to be immersed in the French language when at home. After my previous homestay experiences and hearing from others, I knew that at first it would be daunting, but I went in very open minded, and my family turned out to be very lovely and welcoming. I think that the main pro with choosing a homestay option is the immersion in the language, and also having people to interact with. A few people on my trip who chose to stay in a hotel did admit that as much as it was nice to have their own space, they were a bit lonely and they weren't picking up as much French as the rest of us. I think the most important thing when staying with a homestay is to be mindful that they probably wont do things the way you are used to. Being open to new experiences and open to change when going into a new Country and staying with new people is incredibly important.


One weekend the group organised an excursion to a nearby island, and it was such an incredible day, definitely one for the memory books. Also, we were lucky enough to be in New Caledonia for Bastille Day, and whilst there are mixed opinions on whether New Caledonia should separate from France, there were massive celebrations in the town square, and it was pretty much our last night together, so it was very memorable.

Advice/Top Tips

This experience was brilliant. If you are able, I would highly recommend it! Just be open to new things and meeting new people and I'm sure you will have an absolute blast!