Past French Exchange Student
Victoire de Maillard, our Exchange student from Toulouse, France was our Zoom visitor at our last meeting . Victoire arrived at Melbourne Airport, on 19 Sept 2009 Jeanette and Michael were her first host family. Kevin & Meredith came back to the Lynch’s for morning tea. Red Wine and fabulous Normandie Camembert cheese.
She went to Lowther Hall. A school uniform was a new experience. Her next host families were Mary & Joe, Kevin & Meredith, Kirwans’s and the Steele family. A fabulous time on Safari with the other exchange students.
It was a well attended meeting . As well as Victoire we had another past exchange student Linea lidfors from Sweden Linea is a medical Student in the Polish City of Gdansk . It was great to see her again While seeing all of us on zoom she recalled some of her experience while living with us in Australia
On 11 July 2010 we farewelled Victoire as she flew home to France.

The following is her recollection (from Victoire)
Here is what happened in my life since I left Australia in July 2010 :
From September 2010 to June 2015 I completed a Bachelor in Law (which requires 3 years of study) and then an Master in Law (which requires 2 years of study) in the following cities :
- September 2010 to June 2012 : 1st and 2ndyear of Law at University of Toulouse
- September 2012 to June 2013 : 3rd year of Law at University College Dublin, Ireland thanks to the « Erasmus » European program
- September 2013 to June 2014 : 4th year of Law at University of Bordeaux
- September 2014 to June 2015 : 5th year of Law at University of Toulouse
In September 2015 I started preparing the competitive examination to enter The French National School for the Judiciary (in French : École nationale de la magistrature or ENM). It is a French post-graduate school located in Bordeaux, where French judges and public prosecutors are trained. The aim of the training provided by the ENM is to form a corps of judges and public prosecutors who are suitable for all posts on the bench as well as in the public prosecution service.
I entered the school in January 2018 and followed the training for 2 years and a half. Last week (end of May 2020), i was finally appointed as a civil law Judge in the Court of Boulogne-Sur-Mer (in the north of France, near England ! ) for the next 3 years.
In September 2020 I will move in with my boyfriend Martin, with whom I have been living a long distance relationship for the last 2 years (because he is from Lille, north of France, and I was in the south). We are very happy about this new life project. Afterwards, I would love to work as an investigation judge or as a juvenile judge.
France has around 8,000 judges and prosecutors, which is far below the average for European countries. The number of professional judges per 100,000 inhabitants is 10.7 in France while the European average is 20.92.
The number of prosecutors per 100,000 inhabitants is 2.9 in France while the European average is 11.8.As a result of the above, the French Judiciary is not in good shape, and judges and prosecutors have to work very hard to keep it afloat, which can be tough since it’s also an intellectually and emotionally very demanding job and, of course, we cannot mess with people’s lives.
Despite the problem of understaffing, I love my job because it is very human, it makes me feel useful, and feel like people I see every day in Court help me become a better person. By the way, I have an anecdote to tell you about : when was still in Australia, I applied to universities in France in order to start studying on my return to France since I had already finished high school there. At the time, all I wanted was to become an international lawyer, or a diplomat. One day as I was at school in Lowther Hall, I received an email from my mum, saying that my application had been rejected by the university I had been wanting to go to. I was so sad that I went straight to my locker in order to get my stuff and leave the school (which I was not allowed to do … naughty naughty.). A teacher caught up with me, kept me from leaving the school and called Sylvia Kirwan whom I was staying with at the time. Sylvia came to pick me up, I got into her car, being very upset, I put on my seat belt right away to leave the school as soon as possible, but Sylvia told me to unfasten it and she asked me to tell her what was wrong before she started the car. After I had told her, she looked at me peacefully and said : « Do not take this as a failure. It only means that you are expected elsewhere, somewhere where you will accomplish great things, but you don’t know it yet. » I have always kept her words in my mind since then, and those words have helped me never give up throughout my long studies. 10 years later, I am not an international lawyer nor a diplomat, but I always feel fulfilled when I am working, so I guess Sylvia was right : I am probably in the right place !
I will never thank you all enough for all the things you did for me. My experience in Australia has certainly helped shape the woman I have become. I promise I will not wait 10 more years and will keep you updated on my life !
Love to all,
Here are some of the many photos during her stay