Exchanges between French and New Zealand schools, although not yet widespread, do indeed take place. In spite of the difficulties associated with distance and time zone difference between us (it’s hard to find two countries more distant from one another), about twenty New Zealand schools each year send students to France or host their correspondents. Those involved in virtual exchanges, via email or collaborative spaces such as blogs and wikis, are more numerous.
Virtual exchanges are valuable for the following reasons: they are in harmony with the 5 key competencies of the NZ curriculum, they allow students to develop their intercultural and linguistic competence in an authentic context and they give access to the target culture for all students learning French, rather than the few with the means to travel. We encourage teachers of French to consider virtual exchanges, particularly at junior level, as an integral part of the French programme rather than an add-on.
Face to face exchanges, successfully established by schools in both countries, prove that there are ways of overcoming the difficulties associated with distance. The solutions reached by schools prepared to launch into the adventure vary greatly according to available finance. But in both countries it is mainly the parents who provide the financial backing, followed by the community. Added to these contributions are funds that students and schools provide through fund-raising activities.
French and New Zealand schools also have the advantage of something unique to the two countries, the France-New Zealand Friendship fund, of which one of the main aims is to foster school exchanges. Information on the Friendship Fund is available on its website.
The French Embassy and ILANZ can help the schools find a partner school in France or New Zealand. Please download the form below and send it to