on beach

Our French Year 12 Thalys Vandenbossche says farewell to Hastings Secondary College

Where is your home town?

My family live in a town called Beauvais which is one hour north of Paris. I am the oldest of six children.

What brought you to Port Macquarie?

My Mum grew up in Australia and she encouraged me to take a gap year in Australia, living with my Aunty and going to school to complete the Australian HSC. I came to Port Macquarie in August 2019.

What were your first impressions of Port Macquarie?

I arrived in Port Macquarie on a beautiful winter’s day (but it seemed so warm to me), we went straight to Town Beach.  I went bodyboarding and while in the water I spotted a dolphin pop up. I thought it was a shark and got a bit scared; I ran straight out of the water! After being reassured that it was a dolphin, I relaxed and soaked up the surrounding environment and thought to myself what a fantastic place to spend my year.

What are the main differences between school in France and school in Australia?

Firstly the school days are way shorter in Australia than France. In France we go to school from 8am to 5pm. When I found out that school at Hastings Secondary College finished at 2:15pm I was super happy.

The relationship between students and teachers in Australia is a lot closer and more personalised.

In France, schools have no uniform but you are not allowed to wear hats or shorts.

In France, the schools fully cater for all the student’s meals. There have been many times in Australia where I have forgotten to bring my lunch to school as I have not been used to bringing my own food.

The teaching curriculum at schools in France and Australia are fairly similar.

What challenges have you faced in your year in Australia?

In the first few months I missed my family however my mum and little sister came and visited me twice in Australia.

Picking up and understanding the Australian accent was difficult at first.

Changing my wardrobe was challenging as I had to acquire lighter clothing such as shorts.

Also I found public transport in Australia slower and more expensive than I was used to in France.

What are some of the highlights and memories from your year in Australia?

Meeting new Australian friends and socialising with them has been a fun time.

I have enjoyed exploring new places in Australia such as: Fraser Island, Newcastle, Smiths Lake and Bathurst. I have visited the major cities but I like the relaxed coastal lifestyle more than the busyness of the cities.

I have really liked learning to skate and surfing. I love the beaches, my favourite place to surf is ‘chickens’ at Town Beach.

Foods: I’m really keen on sausage sangas, Tim Tams and Nutri-Grain. I haven’t been able to gain a taste for vegemite!

It has been fun picking up the new card game of Euchre.

What are your future plans?

Firstly I plan to finish my French Baccalaureate (equivalent to HSC) in June 2021. Then I am not sure what I’ll be doing as a future career but I am thinking of maybe do a travelling gap year to a Spanish country.

Thanks so much Thalys for your contribution to Hastings Secondary College, you have been an outstanding person and a pleasure to have as a student at our school. All the best!
Tu vas nous manquer!