EXCHANGE programs run deep, whether online or through a sister school in another country.

Last year, Monica and Thane Bramley, a Traralgon family, welcomed an exchange student, Capucine, from France.

Mr and Ms Bramley wanted their children to experience the world outside of their home country and also wanted to bring others into their family.

“We have always spoken about it and wanted our kids to experience it. When I was younger, I would have loved to do it myself, but my family couldn’t afford it then. When we saw it on Facebook, we thought, ‘why not now’,” Mr Bramley said.

“It’s been good learning a different culture. We don’t know anyone from France, so those side of things have been good. It made us go out and take her and our girls to places we had been putting off for a while. Makes us get out there and be tourists ourselves.”

During Capucine’s time in the Valley, she participated in school activities at Traralgon College, joined the Latrobe Valley Community Volleyball Competition, ventured on trips around Victoria, and joined the Yinnar and District Judo Club.

Inclusive: Capucine joined the Latrobe Valley Community Volleyball Competition during her time in the region. Photograph supplied

Capucine said she wanted to embrace all she could while she was over here.

“I think some of my favourite moments with my host family were when we visited the Grampians and the Great Ocean Road, which was incredible, like the landscapes. Everything was so good. We did some hikes. I just felt so close to Australia,” she said.

“I think it has built my confidence because now when I talk to people, I just go for it, and I know I want to do everything to make my dream come true and never give up. I will do everything to do what I want because it is really important.”

Capucine also said that during her time at the local sports groups, she felt she had learnt a lot and gained confidence.

“I have done volleyball back in France, and I wanted to continue playing volleyball here, so the host family gave me the chance to do it,” she said.

“When they took me the first time, I was nervous about meeting people in a new team with people who already knew each other, but they all just welcomed me well.”

Volleyball teammates Crystal Bertoli and Keshia Moss said that even with a diverse age group, Capucine fit in well and, over time, became confident in her playing style.

“It’s been an absolute pleasure having her on our team. She is definitely a lot more open than when she first started,” Ms Bertoli said.

Before entering the exchange program, Capucine had never experienced the art of judo, although her exchange family practised it quite a bit.

She told the Express while she was nervous at first, she now enjoys it.

“They were so nice, and I was so happy to play with them. With Judo, I had never done it before, and when my host family said that they were doing Judo for many days of the week, I was a bit scared. They helped me during the beginning and helped me progress, and now I have my yellow belt,” Capucine said.

One of the coaches from the Yinnar and District Judo Club, Sharon Chiotellis, said that having Capucine join was great.

“The Yinnar and District Judo Club sponsored Capucine for her training based on being a community not-for-profit club, which allowed us to sponsor her when she was here,” Ms Chiotellis said.

“She has been a fantastic contributor to our judo club community and has been respectful to our club values and also the Sensei’s that we have.

“Capucine is the first exchange student we have ever had at the judo club. It’s great that we supported that and allowed a person from a different country to come along and experience the art of judo and learn all of the skills involved. We would like to support something like that in the future because it was fantastic to see the friendships and the relationship with judo in general. She was able to fit in with our judo club. The exchange program is a good opportunity to learn new skills.”

Capucine took on the role of bigger sister for the Bramley’s daughter, Katana, who is now looking forward to participating in her own exchange this August.

Capucine came over with the World Education Program Australia Limited.

For more information on the exchange program, go to