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Discovering Australia with Alexandra France

During English language class the students of the 1st year of study for the Bachelor’s degree in social work had an opportunity to meet a wonderful girl –Alexandra France, a student of the University of Melbourne. Together with the teacher Ekaterina Vasilieva she carried out a lesson dedicated to Australia. This meeting was very significant for our students: as it turned out we knew very little of the country taking up a whole continent!
Alexandra France told the students that Australia is the biggest island in the world and the smallest, yet the oldest, continent. Having received good knowledge of geography at school the students easily answered Alexandra’s question as to what means the nickname given to this amazing country – the Land Down Under. Australia is situated in the Southern Hemishpere which means that summer starts there in December, while winter starts in June. That is why Christmas and the New Year are celebrated in this country in summer. The Students looked with interest at the photoes of the Australians sunbathing in winter on the ocean shore arond a decorated fir tree.
Alexandra France adviced the students to visit Uluru – a giant oval rock in the dessert. It is called the «chameleon mountain» as it changes its color throughout a day depending on the light. At dusk the rock turns from black to lilac. As the sun rises higher it changes its color to purple red. Later it turns pink and golden. The tourists are lured by the fantastic change of color of the giant mountain Uluru.
With amazement everyone learned that many lakes and rivers of Australia dry up for a long time, though it doesn’t stop the people from holding the annual regatta in Alice Springs in September. Only the boats used in the race are special: they have two boards, no bottom and are controlled with legs! According to Alexandra, this competition is very popular and annually attracts many spectators.
While answering the questions of the quiz on the fauna of Australia the students learned English names of some rare species of animals and their equivalents in Russian, for example, lyrebird, platypus, anteater, and kookaburra. Alexandra wistfully noted that all these exotic creatures live only in the wild and cannot be kept as pets. A colorful video of Australian animals complemented Alexandra’s narration.
The Australian student wondered if we knew any Australian celebrities. It turned out many were quick to answer. Such worldwide famous actors as Nicole Kidman, Kylie Minogue, Natalie Imbruglia, Cate Blanchett, Mel Gibson, Russell Crowe, Hugh Jackman were born in Australia. And just several years ago the world has learned the name of Julian Paul Assange – an Australian Internet-journalist and TV-presenter, the founder of Wikileaks.
At the end of the lesson the students gladly noted that they were able to communicate in the English language with a native speaker throughout the whole lesson. Everyone was once again convinced that knowing a foreign language gives perfect opportunities to discover the world and meet interesting people.

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