Starting my PhD in Languages and Linguistics… in Australia

Here’s another secret that I’ve been keeping for a while: I’m moving to Australia in a few months to start my PhD in Languages and Linguistics.

I received a scholarship that pays all of the tuition fees as well as a living allowance for three years. My research will be on the teaching of French (of course!) and my research question will be focused on the vocabulary presented in textbooks that are commonly used in university classrooms and to what extent they teach spoken, informal, non-standard French.  I have a ton of ideas on how to improve the teaching of French – as you can see from my website – and I can’t wait to get back to doing academic research and being in a university environment.

Capital cities of Australia

I will be in one of these cities

Since my research will be a full-time job, I won’t have as much time to devote to the website but I intend to keep updating the tutorials and blog as much as possible. However, I suppose I will need to change the name of the blog since I will no longer be en France.  I have a ton of things to do before I leave (I don’t yet have an official date, but sometime in mid-July or August), including learning some Australian English and getting used to the accent. Any Aussie friends out there who can recommend some good Australian movies or series?

Size of France (blue on left) compared to Australia

  • Congrats!!!!!! What an exciting adventure this will be for you!

  • So you’ve finally made it official. I guess that means I can start telling everyone! I will miss having you as a neighbor for sure and will keep an eye on your blog for updates. But you can’t go anywhere until I buy you that drink at the Irish Pub! I do wish you the best of luck and much success. Cynthia

  • Watch Home and Away! It’s a really popular soap opera from Australia that even made it all the way to Ireland 😛

    Congrats on getting the PhD funding. I was going to continue my studies (in engineering) to study for a PhD myself too, but lack of securing a grant made it impossible. Glad it worked out for you!

    I especially like your PhD topic! Good job and keep promoting actual spoken French!! 🙂

  • Veronica Fumagalli

    congratulations! what a wonderful opportunity! 🙂

  • Welcome to Oz! It’s a great place for expats. In general I’m not much into Aussie TV, but Underbelly is a fantastic show based on true stories — well worth checking out.

  • Disqus deleted my previous comment (oops??), but I’ll restate it quickly by saying: 1) Welcome! Australia’s a wonderful place for expats and will be lucky to have you. 2) Aussie TV in general is less than amazing, but Underbelly is a really good exception.

  • Congratulations and best of luck! I absolutely LOVE Melbourne, I’ve visited Brisbane and my brother and his little family live in Perth. You of course have to go to NZ for a visit, you’ll be so close. There are lots of Australian TV shows, the ones I remember growing up are Home & Away and Neighbours. A funny Australian movie is called The Castle and I love the movie (which is also a book) Rabbit Proof Fence, it is sad but a worthwhile true story to watch. The other film I like is a horror/thriller but I can’t for the life of me remember what it is called.

  • Congratulations! I spent 2 months student teaching in Brisbane and loved it. Only two months there because I’m working/living in France now but I wish you the best of luck! You’ve been my favorite and most-supportive expat I’ve never had the chance to meet since I starting in France almost two years ago! Your site has been very helpful and I wish you une bonne continuation!

    Be sure to check out We Can be Heroes and Summer Heights High for Australian TV shows. Rove is quite popular, too, as an evening talk show host.

    All the best!

  • Oneika the Traveller

    CONGRATS! That’s fabulous!!

  • I can’t believe you will be in Australia so soon. Time has flown by! Congratulations again for securing such a great scholarship.

    Most Australian TV shows are rubbish, imho, but there’s a pretty good movie scene. I saw Summer Coda in Paris last year which was great if you can track it down and there is an Aussie movie playing at UGC at the moment, Animal Kingdom, which might be playing near you.

    Good luck in Oz!

  • Kindra

    Congrats, you deserve it. Thanks for sharing so much knowledge.

  • That’s great, Jennie! I hope to do much the same in New Zealand two years from now. I’m having a hard time deciding on a research topic, however. There are just too many interesting directions to go in the wide world of second language acquisition.

  • Oh dear, Canada’s loss and Australia’s gain…
    Seriously, best of luck Jennie, we’re all rooting for you….but watch out for that word “rooting” in Australia… : ) (You do know that one, right?)
    And what of your Chéri, are his plans for Australia lined up as well ?

  • Congratulations!

  • Leah

    Wow…that’s huge news! Congrats to you, very impressive!! 🙂

  • R Friedman

    Terrific news! I’m so excited–and happy–for you!

  • Lucky you to move to Oz! And of course, congrats 🙂

  • Congratulations! Definitely do visit NZ while you’re in that part of the world. And I second Summer Heights High for Aussie comedy. The accent isn’t that hard to understand though, surely?

  • Jennie Down Under

    It has to be, there’s NO other possible acceptable title, seriously 😀

    Movies? Crocodile Dundee? I kid, I kid. I honestly have no idea, if you’re wanting to learn Aussie culture and slang and what-not, I really can’t think of any movies I’ve seen that would do that.

    Best of luck to you, keep us updated.



  • Oh, that’s exciting! Well, I certainly recommend my blog, you know we were there last winter, right? 😉

    When I was a teen in France the soap opera “Hartley Coeur à Vif” was super popular, it’s actually an Oz series, Heartbreak Heart (

    As for music, I recommend Crowded House (classic!) and Men Dow Under.

    Oh, and be prepared for a shock… Australia is beautiful but, boy, it’s so expensive!

  • Jess

    The accent isn’t too hard to adjust to, although it does trip me up every once in a while. And my American accent is really obvious every time I open my mouth – but that’s okay. I’d say even more important than the accent is the slang. There are multiple websites which feature “Aussie slang dictionaries”, and I definitely recommend checking them out.

    And remember to bring your warm clothes, since July/August will be mid-winter in Australia… although honestly it’s not nearly as bad as what you grew up with. 🙂

  • Soleil715

    Congratulations! Wonderful news for you. I can’t wait to hear about your experiences in Australia, although I’ll miss your impressions of France. This is very exciting!

  • Anonymous


  • Anonymous


  • Glenn from St Paul

    I’ve been lurking on your site for quite a while, but this calls for a public congratulations. Good on you for your acceptance into the program. I hope you will continue with your language site. I find it very useful in my efforts to learn French. Bon courage.

  • Smarttdj

    There’s a few to choose from, so take your pick.

    Crocodile Dundee has some good accents – though they can be a bit exaggerated.

    In terms of personal favourites of mine though, I’d have to nominate Muriel’s Wedding. Not only a great film, but good, typical Australian accents too.

  • Vigliano

    I’m following you throught the web site since 2001 and I always appreciate your works. I’ve started to study french because of you and your site. I think you’ve such a big love for languages that we can feel it on your pages. Good luck for your new adventure.I’m going to buy your pdf french book just to support you a little. Ciao e buona fortuna dall’Italia!

  • Vigliano

    I’m following you throught the web site since 2001 and I always appreciate your works. I’ve started to study french because of you and your site. I think you’ve such a big love for languages that we can feel it on your pages. Good luck for your new adventure.I’m going to buy your pdf french book just to support you a little. Ciao e buona fortuna dall’Italia!

  • Milleau

    Happy for you!  This will be a great adventure.  Strictly Ballroom is a funny one with good accents.  Priscilla Queen of the Dessert.  When you know what city you’ll be in, try to hook up with Decoybetty!  

  • Jjbircham

    Another long time Lurker here.
    Great news. But keep everyone informed I have been following your site and using the wonderful freely offered info for years and would miss the updates.
    What about poor old David? Is he going with you.

    Best wishes

    Kent, England.

  • Anonymous

    While I agree “Home and Away” is a popular series where you’ll hear a range of Aussie English spoken, I believe the clichéd soap stories will lead you in search of something with both language and substance. For that my suggestion is the the recent series “Love my Way” and the later series by the same people “Tangle”.

  • A late, but heartfelt congratulations! You’ll do great things, no doubt!

  • Samantha

     Wow Jennie – I would not have thought after only a few months of reading your blog you would end up in my home county Australia! I’ll be in France doing what you did as an assistant in Lille, you’re blog has helped me out so much I’d thought I’d give you some links to some good Aussie cinema (Home and Away is a popular soap, but… well it’s a soap :D)

    Aussie Movies:
    ‘Looking for Alibrandi’ – based on a great book, about an Italian-Australian girl trying to find her place in Australia. This movie will give you a good insight into the European migration to Australia and the issues they faced trying to intergrate into the culture. 
    Here’s the trailer:

    ‘Rabbit Proof Fence’ – This one is good because it’s a true story about the Stolen Generation and will give you some Australian history. Around the 1930’s and up until the 1970’s half-aboriginal children were taken by force from their Aboriginal families and placed in Government care in Australia. It’s a moving film, has Kenneth Branagh in it (who does a great Aussie accent) – warning, bring tissues to this one! 
    Looks like the movie is on Youtube too – here’s Part 1:

    ‘Tomorrow, When the War Began’ This movie is very recent, and is like Australia’s equivalent of the Harry Potter series. 7 books that were crazy popular – it’s about a group of country kids who come back from camping in the bush and find the country invaded. It’s written by the same guy who wrote the first Pirates of the Carribbean movie and I never get sick of watching it 🙂

    You can also watch Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Australia’ 

    Aussie TV Shows:

    ‘The Chaser’s War on Everything’ – these guys are hilarious and have pranked everyone from Tom Cruise to George Bush – there are so many clips, I’ll just show you one to get you started: 

    And like other people have suggested ‘Summer Heights High’ – you won’t regret it 🙂

    I know this is a lot – but I just wanted to share the love 😀 Enjoy!

  •  Woohoo! Congratulations (I know I’m a little late:) That’s awesome and you really deserve that funding. 

  • Wow… congratulations! 
    I agree with many of the comments below. The cost of living (particularly in Sydney) is sky high. You might be shocked.
    There are really only two accents in Australia – the city one and the small town/country one (the crocodile dundee one). The one that newsreaders speak with is the ‘city’ one.

    You can watch this girl’s videos for a typical Sydney/city accent. –

    Australians, like the French, tend to abbreviate a lot of words and then put an ‘o’ on the end, for example, afternoon becomes ‘arvo’. There are lots of other slang words/abbreviations such as sausages > sangers, McDonalds > Maccas … You’ll just learn them as you live there.

    As for tv shows, I think Home and Away and Neighbours is rubbish. Please do NOT think they are in any way representative of real life in Australia. They are not!!

    I really liked the show ‘The secret life of us’ which you might like too as it’s about the lives of some 20 and 30 somethings living in Melbourne. It’s a bit old now but you might be able to find it online or on DVDs. There was another series I liked called ‘Above the law’.

    ‘A country practice’ is an old cult tv show from the 80s about the lives of people in the country (if you’re interested in that).

  •  Hi Jennie,

    We have some mutual friends in Chambéry and I came on here to introduce myself as I accepted a position in Chambéry and will be moving there 1 June.  Now I discover you’re leaving for Australia!  Congratulations, it sounds like a wonderful opportunity.  Let’s meet up in Chambéry before you leave.

  • colin


  • Hi Jennie, it’s cool to see someone so passionate for what they do.  I just came across the blog today, and having lived in France for a year a while ago, it brings back a few memories and is giving me the motivation to get my French back up to speed.  That’s exciting you’re planning on doing a Phd, Australia has some great schools in applied linguistics and I’m hoping to apply some time in the future as well.  

    Not sure about too many Australian films or series but if you’re going you should definitely brush up on your surfing knowledge, it’s like a national sport there! haha,

    great site!

  • Good for you! Congrats! I’ll be starting my own PhD this autumn.

    I notice that that map mislabelled(/unlabelled) my country!!

  • Alijuna

    Please, do not change the name of the blog to ‘Jennie Down Under’.

  • Alijuna

    Please, do not change the name of the blog to ‘Jennie Down Under’.

  • Alijuna

    Please, do not change the name of the blog to ‘Jennie Down Under’.

  • Alijuna

    Please, do not change the name of the blog to ‘Jennie Down Under’.

  • Esstwobee

    Musicians you may want to be familiar with are John Farnham and Jimmy Barnes, both huge icons (and Midnight Oil, AC/DC, INXS, Crowded House, Men at Work, etc) as well as the band Yothu Yindi … a few of my favorite takes on these 80s-90s legends :

    John Farnham ‘you’re the voice’ with Warlow & Olivia
    Jimmy Barnes ‘lay down your guns’
    Yothu Yindi ‘treaty’

    In Adelaide there is a wonderful aboriginal art museum you’ll want to visit, you can wander the Botanical Gardens and of course there’s Waterfall Gully, Burnside Village is a lovely shopping area (the gorgeous birds in nearby Hazelwood Park will tempt you to picnic often)…Cleland Wildlife Reserve will get you up close with the native marsupials, and some fun places to hang are North Adelaide and Norwood, in addition to the city surrounds (central market, rundle mall shopping)…no doubt you’ll be too busy researching for much else 😉

    Don’t forget to get to McLaren Vale, Clare (and Barossa) Valley and the Coonawarra for some wine tasting ! the prices at the cellar doors are not a bargain…so shop wisely 🙂