Based in Australia and France, AFX Student Exchange is a family run not-for-profit organisation specialising in cultural and student exchange programs between France and Australia for high school students and beyond.
AFX offers a wide range of programs and by participating in one of them you will improve your French language skills, meet new friends and experience the French way of life. Every member of our team is a French or Australian English native speaker, fluent in both languages, who has lived in both countries and has been involved with student exchange programs as a participant, host or organiser. As AFX focuses only on programs between Australia and France, our team has an unmatched level of expertise that goes into the organisation of every program. This specialised knowledge means that AFX truly understands what is required to make your program a beneficial, safe, authentic and unforgettable experience.
AFX handles every aspect of your application individually. Each application begins with your one-on-one interview; taking time to get to know you and your family, your likes and dislikes, your personality, interests and hobbies, all helping AFX to best match you with your carefully screened and selected host family and correspondent. AFX also helps you prepare for your journey, giving useful advice and providing support and expertise to you throughout your program all the way to your return home. There is always a member of the AFX team, contactable at all times, at hand to help you with whatever challenges you encounter. AFX knows that each student and their experience on one of our programs will be different, and creates an environment for your program that gives you the best chance of success.
AFX has also partnered with the Alliance Française of Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane,Canberra and Adelaide. AFX, like the Alliance Française, is committed to providing experiences to Australian students to improve both their French language skills and understanding of French culture. As a special offer, students participating in our high-school programs who apply early will be entitled to a free intensive French course run by their local Alliance Française. AFX feels that taking part in such a course maximizes your chances of improving your French and making the most of your exchange to France.
A little history:
AFX Student Exchange was started when Elisabeth Thomas, a mère de famille in Paris, France, was looking for an exchange program for her daughter. What she found was a host of organisations offering generic and impersonal exchange programs to many different countries. Elisabeth had a feeling that if her daughter was well matched with an Australian host family and correspondent, the benefits of the exchange would be much greater. Unable to find anything that she felt was able to provide such an experience, Elizabeth contacted her friend in Melbourne, Ben Dinning, to help her do just that.
Elisabeth’s daughter Vinciane was the first student to benefit from the care and personalised approach Elisabeth and Ben took to organising her exchange, and the demand for this service grew, with Elisabeth and Ben creating AFX as a company in 2001.
For the last 16 years, AFX’s aim is to provide exchanges of the highest quality, where all families and students are treated with the same level of care as that very first exchange. AFX has grown and now offers a range of programs between Australia and France to suit many students needs, still with that same spirit of care and attention to detail that has been at the focus from the very start.
Elodie Felix is the AFX High School Program Manager. Originally from Toulouse, she grew up with a love of literature, both French and foreign, and after completing studies in Business Administration, she moved to London, where she worked for the Alliance Française de Londres. Elodie’s professional life and personal path has grown into the study of two languages, French and English, and the cultures that surround them.
In Australia for 6 years now, the time Elodie spends with families, students and schools means her in-depth knowledge of what it takes to organise a successful program to France is second-to-none. A little known fact about Elodie is that currently, in a parallel universe, she is the outright favorite to win this season of MasterChef.
Vinciane Thomas could be considered “patient zero” for AFX Student Exchange. The daughter of Elisabeth Thomas, she was the first candidate to ever go on an AFX exchange program to Australia in 1998. At that stage she was 15, and an enthusiastic but unexceptional student of English. She spent an amazing 5 weeks with her lovely Australian host family, where she was given the chance to attend St Catherine’s School in Toorak, Melbourne. The links she formed from this unforgettable experience eventually led her back to Australia, where she completed postgraduate study, and eventually settled in 2006.
Vinciane has a Bachelor of International Law from Université Paris X and a Masters of International Business from Monash University. She is now AFX General Manager in Melbourne. In her spare time Vinciane likes to order eBay items so she can pop the bubble wrap.
Tom Jepson was born and raised in Melbourne. Tom’s early life is a lesson in what not to do for young language learners. He dropped French as a school subject after only one year (Year 7), believing firmly he would never need to use such a language. It was only after finishing school and travelling to France to race as a professional triathlete that Tom came to think that perhaps his quick decision back in Year 7 was not so wise. After spending significant time living and racing in France, Tom returned to Australia, with a passion for France and a new desire to improve his language skills. In 2006, Tom met Vinciane Thomas at university, and between economics classes they decided that AFX Student Exchange was a worthwhile project to combine some of their experience of the two countries and cultures.
Tom holds a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Diplomacy from Monash University. He is a Qualified Education Agent Counsellor, and is trained in helping to place French students within the Australian education system. Tom also secretly loves the feeling you get when you lose your keys and are sure they are lost forever, then you find them again.
Click here to read the AFX Student Exchange Statement of Commitment to Child Safety.