A French woman’s view on the world with Tiphaine Bordes.


In this episode of the Happiness Hive Podcast, Catherine chats with Tiphaine Bordes. Tiphaine came to spend three months with Catherine’s family as part of a student exchange program some years ago, listen as she shares with us a French woman’s view on Australia and the world.

In this episode you’ll also hear:
– Tiphaine’s arrival here witnessing Australian icons on the way home from the airport
–  navigating the challenges of not speaking the native language
– what made Tiphaine decide on choosing Australia for her exchange
– how Tiphaine moved through the culture shock she experienced
– the difference between the Australian and French school systems… and so much more!

Join Catherine’s membership The Happiness Lounge here

Connect with Catherine here:

Connect with Tiphaine Bordes here:

This podcast is produced by Nikki O’Brien from Quintessential Being



Read Full Transcript

Hi, welcome to the happiness hive Podcast. I'm Katherine bow Yeah, and I am completely fascinated
by people and what motivates them. I've spent the past three and a half decades specialising in
mindset and human behaviour. And I've helped 1000s of people to create happy and amazing lives.
And now I am super excited to be chatting with women from around the world who I have secret. And to
be honest, not so secret crushes on their women who inspire me. I'm intrigued as to how they do life
and what makes them tick. I want to find out the magic formula that makes them who they are. And at
the end of the episode, I'd love for you to say, I'd like a little bit of what she's having. The conversations
are real and raw. They're full of passion, inspiration and lots of fun, and nothing is off limits. So grab
yourself a cuppa or Papa New Trekkie and go for a walk and join us for today's chat. There may just be
that pool of wisdom you need to hear. So let's shimmy on over and get started. I am really excited. This
is going to be such a beautiful chat with my guest today. Tiffin board. And I'm not sure if I pronounced
that right, but I'll come back and I'll check in with you. And TIFs coming all the way from Lyon in France.
And I've had such a beautiful journey of getting to know TIFF. She came to live with our family in 2015
as part of a student exchange programme, and it's been absolutely beautiful, just getting to know tiff as
a young woman. And I'm going to chat with her today about what her experience was like here in
Australia as a teenager, but also what life is like for her as a young woman living in France. So TIFF.
Welcome to the podcast. How are you?
Thank you so much for having me. I'm doing great. Thanks.
I just love your accent. And I remember when you first came, I'm wondering if you remember this when
you first came to live with us in Australia, you're a teenager. And you certainly spoke English, but
weren't fluent in English, then were you?
Yeah, it was only 1516 At the time when I can. So yeah, my English was quite broken at the time.
And you I think, I'm not sure if we were the best family for you to be exposed to Australian life. But it
was beautiful for us having you because you brought a lot of enrichment to our family. And it was really
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great fun, even though quite often, there were challenges around the dinner table when we were
speaking a bit. What was the experience as a teenager on a student exchange? Like, what was that
like for you?
That was great. That was really exciting. It was my first time travelling alone and so far away from
home. The that was really fun to do that. So many new things to discover at that time. I had a really fun
experiments. It was only three months in my life, but it was so much bigger in my thoughts. I have so
many good memories from Australia from living with you. So there was a really nice experience. And I
think going on extracts as an going on exchange student programmes really helps. It really helps to
grow to have a different view on the world. Open your mind. I think it's really great to do an exchange
programme. Yes.
And I'm gonna go back and ask you in a minute. Why you chose Australia, even though I'm super glad
you did. But you're exactly right. Like student exchange is such a powerful experience. Ellie, my
daughter, she did a six month exchange in Italy when she was 15. And it was part of it. We're not overly
positive, but it was such a growth experience for her. I know. So what drew you to do a screen
exchange? How did you come about to doing that?
And so it's cool. There was kind of a complete sham, to enrol in. Academic programme. I don't know
like they just grow in my mind. And I thought maybe maybe that's could be great for me to go. So I just
talked to my parents on say, like, maybe I would like to live. They told me just do my researches. So
I've been looking for Well, I was looking for an organisation that did that. Yeah, so I found one, they
were doing only a three month programme in Australia. And I just thought it was great. So I didn't miss
any school year in France. So any it was during July to October. So it was during my summer in
France. So I only missed maybe a month and a half of school in France. That was great for me. I don't
know, Australia seems like these big countries have our way. In France. When you think of Australia,
we think of them back and kangaroo big cities. So I just, I just thought, why not? So let's go for it. And
my parents were 100% behind me for this experience. So
I'm so glad. And do you remember, I don't know if you remember when we picked you up from the
airport at Canberra. So for those of you who are our international listeners, Canberra is the capital of
Australia. We are it's called the bush capital, because we're sort of like a big country. Town. It's our
population. Oh, gosh, I think maybe it's 400,000. So we're not a huge metropolis. But when we picked
you up from the airport, when we drove home, they were kangaroos. Do you remember? We went
down to the golf course. And the kangaroos come right up to people around the gauntlet? I mean, we
didn't go and stand right with them. But you got to see kangaroos. On your first day. That was very
exciting. Yeah, that's right. Yeah, it was
really new for me. So exciting. So many new things to discover.
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This like and this is going back. Gosh, this is going back seven years ago. You didn't know us as a fan.
Were you nervous?
Actually, wasn't that nervous? I wasn't really nervous to I don't know, it wasn't what I wasn't really
wondering like, what if I didn't like me? I don't know. From the the small exchanges we had before I can
just pray. I just thought we had families really similar. Yes. So I just thought I would get along with
everyone in the family. I wasn't really nervous on that. But I was more nervous on my English because I
wasn't really confident in my English. I was afraid to make mistakes. Yes. So yeah, that was what made
me really nervous at that time.
But you got to practice like you practice with our crazy family and you things up, so we gave you a little
bit of the real version of English baby. And then going to school, like you went to school while you were
here. So that was was the school system different
to France. That was quite different because I have to choose my subjects which we don't influence,
which is carrying. In high school, we kind of choose a field of study the literature, science or more
management, but we don't specifically choose subjects. So that was really different than I got to choose
subject. I could never study in high school like psychology photography.
And I don't remember the
I remember the photography. Yes.
Yeah, that was quite fun to discover a new system. And also, the proximity with the teacher is really
different. Tisha, were really friendly, could just call them with the first name. You don't.
It's much more formal, isn't it? In France much more.
Yes, exactly. The teacher would just really friendly. Because I was French. I'm not fluent in English,
they would try to help me as much as they could. Yes. So yes, that was a nice experience as well. And
it was more about
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the experience, too, wasn't it? You didn't have to get certain grades while you were here, certainly
about going to school and participating. But it was about the experience. When Ellie was on her student
exchange in it. They have specialty schools. And she went to a aeronautical school. She was studying
aeronautical engineering in a totally high level mess. It was just I remember, that was not her forte. It
was not. It was the pilots there was there was two girls class. The rest of them were boys studying to be
piled in the class was just like, if you're listening, do you remember that? It was very good. That made
me laugh. And I think when she was studying English as one of her subjects, the Italian kids got
marked higher than Ellie's fluent English was very, that was a funny experience. So this is very
different, isn't it? They're in different countries, their school system very different. Yeah. Yeah. Well, the
challenges when you were here, living away from home, do you recall some of those challenges? Yes,
it's the English.
Before we left, the organisation that did the change didn't programme, or does that. So at first, we're
gonna, like discover, we're gonna, like, really enjoy everything. And then we're gonna have a bit of a
meltdown, because we don't progress your progress as much as we'd like, we have the cultural shock.
And there were, like moments, I was just, I don't understand anything that's happening around me. I
don't understand it.
With my husband, maybe I don't know.
Why am I here? So there was a moment like that, because I would just feel not alone. But it's really just
moving across everyone. And I just couldn't understand what was really happening around me. And I
could imagine the sudden conversation around me. So that was quite difficult at that time. But I think I
started making progress in English after my second month with you. So that really helped me.
I reckon it might have been when we played that card game about bullshit, and you pick that up really
But it is very,
the culture shock is very real. And me here, I think it's a really brave thing to do, because you're coming
into an environment that's new and exciting. But it's also, like you said, you're not picking up on the
nuances of the conversation around you. You're feeling alone, because you're different. And you don't
sort of get feeling a little left out. I remember John, and I will, I was looking at doing some work in
Cambodia. And I was doing some John and I travelled there. And we were exploring a place to, for me
to run some programmes there. And I was the minority. I didn't speak the language, I looked very, very
different. And I felt that, yes, I didn't get what they were all talking about. And it sort of was like they
were talking about me. And it's like, what are they saying, and I felt very uncomfortable in some being
the outsider, the outsider, and it really gave me a greater appreciation for instances where people are
outsiders and how we can be more inclusive. Yeah, yeah. What was the best bit about being in
Australia? What was your favourite favourite thing?
Honestly, it was my husband.
It's not just to send you flowers to compliment you. But it's really
because you we did so much things together. Like during the three months, we travelled a bit, and you
always try to share a moment with me every day. So it was that during dinner, just come into my room
to ask me how my day was after school on trying to talk to me too. No, no, that was really great. And
we did so much things. So yeah.
Do you remember a couple of trips we went up because in Australia, it's a big country, our family travel,
we drive a lot. So John's from Adelaide, and ever since I've been with him, we've driven to Adelaide,
which is a 14 hour drive and the kids have drifted. The kids are really good travellers. And I remember,
we took you on a couple of day trips, and you were kind of like, oh my god, like where we're driving. I
think we did a trip to Wollongong, which is 73 and a half hours but for you, you've been a different
country. If you were in France, you'd be in a different country. Yeah.
Yes, I remember as well. One day we just went on a road trip to Adaminaby Yeah. Oh, yes, yes. Just to
get lunch.
It was so fun for me because I don't think at first we would ever do with three. Howard tries just to get
lunch. Because from where we would just be Green Berets have learned when you go back home, so
you will Yes, yes. So we quite often we're not quite often that that might be unusual for some families in
Australia that we do a lot of day tripping, driving, travelling for things, and there's so much to say, Gosh,
she saw a tiny, tiny little bit of Australian. So TIFF, what was it like for you going back home after
having this beautiful, wonderful experience? Do you remember what their transition was like going back
Oh, that was horrible.
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Because I felt like my exchange programme shouldn't have ended only at three months, literally longer.
So that was really hard. And also, when I came back home, there was the reverse culture shock.
Because I used to there Australian culture, I had my routine. And I don't know, I just got yesterday living
there. And then I just had like, to go back to my old life. That was really hard because I missed a month
of school, and I had to get back in that. Try to get back on the work I missed. So that was really difficult
for me. I had a really hard time after coming home.
Do you know I remember when a girl came back from her trip, she went through the same thing. It was
almost like you've experienced this wonderful, new culture. And then you come back. And I don't know
if you experienced this, but l did. And I certainly did. After a period of travel. When I was younger. When
I came home and wanting to share on my experiences. People were like, oh, yeah, that sounds good.
But then they weren't really interested. Yes. Yeah. Did you find
that? Because you want?
Yeah, yeah. Do you remember what you did to help manage some of that? Feelings that you had that
bit of a flat patch.
So when I came back, we decided to house the exchange student from Canada. So when I came back,
there was this Canadian student, she didn't talk a word of French
just lied on her letter and say she would, she wouldn't know a bit of
it. So sometimes we will, we would speak English. I know it doesn't really help with the French, but she
would just want to speak to someone and we would speak in English. So I have this part of me still
speaking English like you think this part. So I think that helped me because I got used to speaking
English after three months. I just like to speak English. And she she was there speaking with me. So
that helped me to feel better. Then I just had to be busy with school. Because I was really difficult. I just
wanted to go back to Australia.
Senior years to work you like you when you went in when you came here? So for those of you in
Australia, Tiv came into year 11 did this. It's in the college system in Canberra, and senior years in
other states. But what does that equate to in France? Were you insane? Yeah. Did you go back to a
senior year in France? Or how did that work?
The 12th grade?
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And what is the school system in France? So what does it go up to? Is 12th grade the last before
University? Yes, yes. So you then so you had you came here for three months, and I agree with you. I
think three months is too short, because it really takes you three months to start to get into your groove.
So say back to the exchange people but so what did you do you you finished your 12th Year 12 class
toffee? Yes. What did you do after that? Did you go to university?
I went to university. I studied international trade for two years. Yes. Well, I think my field of study I read
transits after my exchange programme, because I chose studies that were really centred on travels and
Yes, lovely. There. Oh, yeah,
I did this two year degree in international trade, and I actually do an internship abroad. And I did it in the
So that was really different as well from Australia.
Or are they better than us?
Well, I wasn't in a horse family. So I didn't really have that immersive experience. Cool. really different
because when I was in Australia, like I was really living in Australia, really. So that was really great. But
in, in the US, yeah, I was with your other friend doing the same internship as me. So we didn't have
that. In saving France.
What university? Did you do your degree in? France? What was the university?
So it's different in France, because we can have, like, universities, I was going to a high school that did
this two year degree, which is, like really frequent, and from that high school to a two year degree after
high school.
And then we're about that's Boston in the back. We're about in America, did
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you then I went to Utah. Utah. Yes. Interesting. Yes.
How come Utah? Was that where you were placed?
Yes. So my, my school has like this partnership with Israel, with this company for the internship. So I
just thought that the job was interesting for my internship. So that's why
I always Yeah, I do not, I don't know much, really about. I know little bits about America. How long was
that for? How long was the internship for four for three months? Oh, well, another three months? Yeah.
And when you did that, you then came back finished your degree? Then you went on to do a master's?
Is that right? And not
just after this two year degree, I went on a gap here. And I went to London to be an au pair for you. Oh,
Perfect. So you would have practised more of your English in London. So you're sort of building up the
conversational English through Australia, then you a little bit in America, and then that would have
really taken off in London. What was that like being an au pair?
Being aware was quite difficult at some time. Because it can be just tiring to look after kids. But I really
had a fun experience in London. London is a great city. And I just loved the vibe of the city. Yeah, that's
still my city like in my heart. And I haven't back since about two years. And I want to be able to like to
go back soon.
You'll be able to go back soon. Because that's like just going for lunch. How far away is it from? You're
in Lyon.
Oh, it's just maybe not not even a two hours away flight.
You need to go back. You need to go and have lunch. You need to have lunch in London. So you did
your year as an au pair. How many kids were looking after
two kids? So a young girl? She was six years old? I think she's around nine now. Yes, her brother was
11 at that time.
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And did you have to? Was it just looking after the kids? Or did you have to do house stuff as well?
No, it was only looking after the kids picking them up from school going back home and cooking dinner
spending time with them. When the parents were in there or just needed to just need me to be with the
they were a great family. I really have good memories with the kids as well. They were lazy as well.
Yeah. But I had another experience as an au pair. Because before this family was in another familiar
and it didn't really went well. I was working way too many I was falling out of money. It was twins of
three and houses out so that was really Yeah, I just didn't really check me well,
so it's not Yeah. Do you live with the family when you're an open? You live with them? Yes. Are you
part of the family? It's common, isn't it? I think that's quite common, or quite.
It's really common to our bears.
Yeah, yeah. Probably I don't know if it is as common I don't think it says common here in Australia. I'd
like it to be. I want, I want you to come and live back with us.
Come and cook me dinner and cook me dinner. That would be my dream. So you had your gap year
and then what did you do after your gap year?
I went back to France to and my bachelor like to do the third year of my bachelor. So I did in like
economic management. And I had an Erasmus to do as well. I did it in Czech Republic, but it was
during COVID. So I had to go.
Oh my god, what was that? So you went to the Czech Republic for another? Yes. Yes. So you only
stay? Yeah. But you had come home did you because of COVID
because of COVID. But I didn't. I didn't go home. I did my lockdown in Czech Republic. And I went back
in May, because after that, like it didn't really make sense anymore. Everything was closed. And in
France, everything was going to reopen really soon at the time. So
so this was the last was this last year or the year before? 2020? Yes. Yeah. And what was the Czech
Republic? Like? Like aside from lockdown?
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Well, from my experience from my Erasmus of experience, we just went out loud with friends from
everywhere. Because usually like with Erasmus students, we make friends with other Rasmus. So,
yeah, it was mainly going out on just the university was nice. It wasn't really too. Too hard for us. So
did you stay? What language did you speak? There was English the common language?
Yes. I learned just a few words in Czech, but it was in English, the university. The classes we took
away in English.
Yeah. Tell me TIFF, what was the programme? I didn't quite catch that. What did you say it was the
Erasmus. What's that? Aerosmith. Oh, yes.
That's so in Europe. You can go on Erasmus during during university. It's an exchange programme for
university. You can go for a year you can go for four months, six months. It's an exchange programme.
Cool. Wow. That's great. Okay, so then you came back to France? Because France? Yeah, after
COVID. And what happened there? What were you doing then? So are you still studying back when
you came back to France?
So when I came back, yes, I just I came back in May. So I finished my year. Like, my bachelor. I, I took
another gap year for a fall, okay. Yeah, yeah. So I worked for four years. And then I went Chilean for
my master.
Yes. And that's where you are now at least say it again. It sounds so beautiful. Can you say Leo? Leo?
And so you're home? In France? You're where your parents live? Where is that village?
It's in the middle of France. It's three hours away from William.
Yeah. And what's the name of your home town? Cycling. sickly more, thankfully, more. And so then. So
you're living in New York now? And you're studying and working out? You? Yeah. And you're
continuing. So what are you studying now?
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Some studying project management. And it's, it's quite like, frequent in France that we work and study
at the same time, but we work for our studies and we are paid to go to school and to work. So you have
one school and then two week of work. So, yeah,
that sounds it sounds more organised. In Australia. It's very common for some students to be working
to pay to go to university but it's a separate it's up to them. What they organise for their work and some
people don't work they they they are supported to go through uni. So you What are you doing now for
work? Tell me this is actually a really nice full circle story.
Yeah. Yes, it is. So I'm working in the administrative sorry, side of a company we will do exchange
programme for young
beautiful but TIFs working is an admin in a company that does exchange students for international
exchange students. So having you there would be a wealth of knowledge and so valuable for that
company, because you've been through it. You know what it's like? Yeah.
Yeah. That's, that's, that's great to be on the other side of change programmes, programmes, to see
like, what exactly is going on? What they are doing behind your application. Yeah. That's really funny.
Yeah, that's good to be able to do that. And so you're living in Lyon. And you were telling me the other
day, it's quite expensive for rental there sounds very on par with Henry's living in Melbourne, in a two
bedroom unit and the rent sounded on par. I think we worked out that you're paying maybe 900
equivalent to 900 Australian dollars a month? Rent? Yeah. It's
with Melbourne.
Yeah, it's expensive, isn't it? Especially when he's studying and working and all of that stuff as well?
Yeah, that's right. Jeff, what
I was going to ask you, because we chatted about this a little while ago, there was you had that little
slap period when you got back home after your exchange. But you also, you've had some ups and
downs with, you know, some flat spots?
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Yes. What's that been
like for you to sort of manage? How do you go about managing those times when you're not feeling
That was quite difficult, because I couldn't identify exactly what was wrong, what was going wrong. But
I think that what really helped me was getting in a routine. I know, that's really what everyone say. But
really exist. Exercising helped me a lot. I'm just getting busy in general. So yeah, that really helped me
to see my friends, exercise more and have more quality time with my family or my boyfriend. Like, that
really helped me out during those times. Yeah, so
it's about, you know, recognising what the emotions are. And then keeping busy and doing some things
to be able to help to physically move through to help the emotions move through. So that's I know,
when we were chatting a little while ago that that was a little bit of a flat spot. But now on the flip side of
that, what do you do for fun? What are some of the things that a young woman in Lyon does for fun?
So I would just go out to exercise a little bit, maybe twice a week to go out with friends go out for a
drink? Yeah. Tweets. Yeah, just sightseeing a little bit in yawn, because there's so much to see as well
in here. So, yeah,
very, it sounds very similar to young people in Australia. What they do you find these with friends, being
able to socialise and go out. Everything now is open up, isn't it after COVID? That? Yes, yes. Yes. So
back to kind of trouble. Yeah. Tell me about Leon. How many how big is Leon? Do you know the
Oh, I don't really know the population. Exactly. The third city?
The biggest city in France? Yes. That's a big city. Yeah. Big City. And where is it? It's, is it south? Or is
it Central?
It's on the east side close to Switzerland. Ah, okay.
Cool. And what's next for you? What do you what have you got planned? Next?
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I don't know. I have this plan that maybe we just talked a little bit with my boyfriend. We didn't really
explore this idea yet. But I would like maybe to work for I don't know for I start my massage to work
maybe for six to eight months and then maybe go to New Zealand to travel a little bit.
Oh, our cousins go to New Zealand. Beautiful country. Yes,
I would come of course to visit here in Australia.
Absolutely. We're so close. That would be beautiful to travel in New Zealand and to just explore there it
is an absolutely beautiful country. There's so many. Yeah, it's much smaller. So you could say much
more ever Um, but there's really beautiful elements. Yeah.
Cool, though, just doing the work Holiday visa, travel a little bit around. And maybe after, I would like to
take another master in trade. So I would like to do only the second year of my dismissal, because I've
already done a lot of studies, I don't want to go back for two more years. So I would like to maybe try to
do only the last year of the Minister of international trade. So I have different fields of study the shortest.
Yeah, and you were saying that the Master System there that you can, can you explain that to me
again, do you choose the like, when you're saying to do the second year, you how does that work? So
it's usually not really for master but for, from bachelor to Masters, we have credits that we validate
every year, that will really help us like in your rope to go to from this special to this master. So we have
all the credits required for this special or the semester. And we can guess. And since I have all my
credits from like, the other years, I think I could try to do only the last year of the semester, because I
have the credits. Yeah. I studied like Baja for five years. So it's not like I didn't do anything. Yes. So
yeah, no, I get that so that you can use your credits, hopefully to not have to go through some things
that maybe you've studied, or maybe or things that are not going to be on your path. So there's a lot of
years of study there. Is that normal for people to people to study that much in France or not? Or you've
I think we usually usually do to the mass to the best artists. Yes. And a lot of people are going to the
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Yeah, you know, that's the same as Australia. A lot of people and a lot of people don't go to university,
but when people going to university often get to the, I'd say the majority get to the bachelor, and then I
don't even know what the proportion but a smaller proportion would go on and do their masters and
higher elements as well. That sounds similar. It sounds similar. So our tiff it's just been absolutely
beautiful to talk with you and just to reflect on, you know, the time when we met but also your journey
and how life is panning out for you and I absolutely look forward if you do end up travelling to New
Zealand, make sure you tag on the flight across the ditch so we can we can catch up with you. That
would be absolutely beautiful. So thank you, hugs and happiness. And thank you so much for making
time to check for Yeah,
that was so lovely.
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