As a storyteller, if my words inspire you to be the best version of yourself; if they ignite passion and a zest for life, if they help instil hope again and again, then, I shall have achieved my objectives.Marie-Claire Patron
Marie-Claire is Franco-Mauritian of French, Scottish, Portuguese and Italian heritage – Italian, intriguingly, only uncovered after the passing of her father, Clément Paul Patron in 2014. Family heritage research traced his lineage back to Genoa, Italy in the 17thCentury, a black and white photograph of a headstone bearing evidence of this fascinating connection. Marie-Claire’s inexplicable passion for all things Italian, finally became evident. Born in Mauritius, Marie-Claire spoke only French and Creole until the age of eight when her family moved to Australia. Upon arriving in Melbourne, she had her first acute experience of Culture Shock when placed in a class of thirty-five students, most of whom were English-speaking and of Anglo-Saxon European origin. Although challenging, this proved to be character-forming for Marie-Claire and ultimately had a profound impact on her future. Whilst most of her cohort of European migrants assimilated as best they could in their new environment (many abandoning their native tongue and cultural behaviours) Marie-Claire chose an integrative acculturation experience and identified language teaching as her future career direction.
After adding English, Italian and Spanish to her linguistic and cultural repertoire, curiosity about her European heritage beckoned Marie-Claire to France. Encouraged by a scholarship from the French government to teach English in Marseille for a year, Marie-Claire and her husband eagerly embarked on a European adventure.
When the French experience provoked an acute cultural identity crisis, Marie-Claire returned to Melbourne, where she suffered an even more severe case of Reverse Culture Shock, the effects of which prompted her to return to Europe, this time to Marbella, Spain. The couple lived there for eight years and it is there that their two daughters, Dominique and Danièle, were born. During this Spanish sojourn, apart from her continued focus on education, Marie-Claire also gained extensive industry experience in business, law, banking and the building industry where her multiple language skills in interpreting and translation were highly valued.
In 1990, the family once again headed for Australian shores, where Marie-Claire entered the world of academia in 1991, as Coordinator of the French and Spanish Language programs at Bond University on Queensland’s Gold Coast.
It was at Bond that Marie-Claire’s talents in language teaching and her interest in intercultural identity issues converged. Divorced shortly after beginning her career at Bond, and despite the demanding tasks of raising her daughters and working full time, Marie-Claire threw herself into postgraduate studies and research. First, she completed her Master of Arts (LOTE) at Bond and shortly thereafter her Ph. D. at the University of South Australia (finished on a part-time basis in less than three years). After converting her thesis to a book entitled Culture & Identity in Study Abroad Contexts: After Australia, French without France 2007) Marie-Claire then turned her attention to concerns relating to internationalisation in education, most specifically as it affects foreign tertiary students. Her aim is to bridge the cultural divide by bringing the phenomena of cultural identity, Culture Shock and Reverse Culture Shock to a wider audience; something she achieved through the Diary of a French Girl, (2009). The Legacy of the Baby Boomers or the French Social System? Issues of Equality & Brain Drain (2011) followed two years later.
Marie-Claire Patron’s current research areas focus on (auto)ethnnography, narrative and the internationalisation of students. She holds qualifications in Languages and Applied Linguistics (BA, Monash University), Dip Ed (Rusden, Victoria), MA (LOTE) (Bond University), International Studies (Ph.D., University of South Australia). Marie-Claire has published seven books since 2007, three are Co-Edited anthologies: Victim Victorious. From Fire to Phoenix. Patron & Holden, (2014); Women & War: Opening Pandora’s Box, Patron, Wildeboer & Rokach, (2017); Intercultural Mirrors; Dynamic Reconstruction of Identity, Patron & Kraven, (2019).
Coco through the looking glass (2018), an ethnographic, non-academic book has been republished as an AUDIOBOOK in Jan. 2020 on 40 platforms. Most recent reader endorsements available from Balboa Press.
Dr Marie-Claire Patron is Assistant Professor in Intercultural Communication, and Head of French and Spanish Language at Bond University since 1991. She has taught, interpreted and translated in Australia and Europe, including eight years in Spain for business, law, banking and the building industry.