French exchange program goes from strength to strength

Published 16 July 2010

annsophieAnne-Sophie Corallo, who studied at the University of New England throughout 2008 under an exchange agreement between UNE and Jean Monnet University (UJM) in Saint-Etienne, France, has just successfully submitted her Master’s thesis on female convicts in Australia.

Anne-Sophie (pictured here) is one of many third-year undergraduate students from UJM, two other universities in France and one in Canada who have spent one or two semesters at UNE under an agreement set up and administered by the former Chair of French at UNE, Emeritus Professor Chris Gossip.

UNE’s Dr Jane Southwood, who taught Anne-Sophie in 2008, met up with her in Saint-Etienne last month during a visit to France to present a paper at an international conference on the novelist Marguerite Yourcenar. “We discussed the value of her UNE study and experiences in 2008,” Dr Southwood said, “and her trip to Tasmania, where her imagination was fired to do a Master’s project on female convicts – which she did on her return to France.”

At UJM, Dr Southwood discussed the exchange program – and its further development – with Dr Béatrice Bijon, who is responsible for the partnership at the Saint-Etienne end.

“Dr Bijon said that those who return to Saint-Etienne are inspired by their time at UNE and frequently choose to write their Master’s thesis on an Australian topic,” Dr Southwood said. “As well as Anne-Sophie’s thesis on female convicts in Australia, she mentioned Marion Garde’s thesis on David Malouf’s Remembering Babylon, Mylène François’s on Tara June Winch’s Swallow the Air, and Sylviane Brossat’s on Gwen Harwood’s poetry.

“Dr Bijon also recalled former UJM student Thibaut Recorbet, who remained at UNE, where I supervised his Honours dissertation on the 1800-1804 French voyage of exploration to Australia  under the command of Post-Captain Nicolas Baudin. Thibaut has since expressed his intention to continue as a doctoral student at UNE.”

Last semester, four students from UJM and one from the University of Angers were studying at UNE under the exchange program; another four students from Angers are due to start classes at UNE next week. On the other side of the exchange, three UNE students spent Semester 1 at the University of Angers (two of whom are staying on for Semester 2) and three at UJM. They will be joined by one more UNE student at each of the two universities.

As well as doing units in other disciplines, such as English, communication studies, sociology, politics, history, linguistics and Asian and European languages, the students from Saint-Etienne and Angers are enrolled in UNE’s advanced translation units in French – units that expose them to a wide variety of texts, including extracts from Australian literature and the Australian press. This complements their study in other disciplines.

Dr Bijon visited UNE in October 2006, and again in March 2009, when she taught with Dr Southwood in the advanced translation unit and conducted research in the discipline of English. She intends to return to Australia in February 2011 to work on the links between British and Australian suffragettes, and to spend several weeks at UNE.

THE PHOTOGRAPH (by Jane Southwood) displayed here shows Anne-Sophie Corallo at Jean Monnet University.