Australia has found new fan
FRENCH pharmacy student Jeanne Marie has come halfway around the world to Warwick to help improve her English.
"It's always been my dream to come to Australia," Miss Marie said.
"My friend told me there was a organisation called WEP Student Exchange that will find volunteer positions for you overseas.
"I went into their office in Lyon and thought I might try some au-pair work but they told me I could end up in the middle of nowhere.
"I really wanted to be around people and do lots of English speaking, so they suggested working in a school as a French teacher's assistant, which sounded just perfect."
Miss Marie said they offered her a spot at Warwick West State School and she accepted immediately.
"Then I went home and googled where I was going," she said.
"What sort of temperature, where Warwick was, the seasons, I was so excited."
As part of her pharmacy degree Miss Marie said she is required to speak fluent English upon graduation.
"But I only have an English class once a week, which isn't enough," she said.
"So I started saving for a holiday.
"My dad is so jealous, it's been his dream to come to Australia too."
Miss Marie said she hoped the children at West would benefit from having her in class.
"I think it's important to have a native speaker help with pronunciation and flow," she said.
"I love it, the kids are so cute.
"They are so interested and ask so many questions."
Miss Marie said she is staying with West's French teacher, Helen Gray.
"Mrs Gray works Tuesday to Thursday and I am in class with her," she said.
"On Monday and Friday I work in other classrooms, helping out with the older kids."
Miss Marie has been in Australia for four weeks and will stay until July, when she will continue on to Southeast Asia for a holiday, before heading back to France and university.
"My English has improved since I've been here, I think," she said.
"And everyone has become easier to understand.
"On my first day I couldn't understand anyone, the Aussie accent was so strange and everybody spoke so fast."
Miss Marie said when the school holiday come in a few weeks she would head for the coast.
"I tried surfing at the Gold Coast and I loved it," she said.
"I want to try it again.
"I think I want to live in Australia, I've been so impressed with it.
"That would be perfect.
"It won't be long before I'm back, I think."