We are very happy to announce the arrival of our first intern for this season. Meghan from Toronto in Canada arrived last Saturday and had the opportunity to straight away immerse herself in French culture by visiting a “Brocante” (a flea market) in Bardenac on Sunday morning. In the afternoon Meghan and other volunteers went to see a local football match in Chalais.
Meghan has a degree in Sociology and Women Studies and has worked in Customer Services in a Transport company. She has got a passion for travelling and decided to temporarily leave her job to be able to come to France to improve her French language skills.
Meghan while going through the applications
The duration of her internship will be 4 weeks. During this time she will learn how to manage and run La Giraudière. This includes the whole application process of our interns and volunteers, the communication with local service providers, the management of our current volunteers and interns (who is taking over which jobs), accounting, social media and other administrative tasks. Today, on her first day of work, she started to have a look at the incoming applications for internships and volunteering programs and sent her first emails to applicants.
This internship will provide Meghan with necessary skills to enhance her job search when she is back in Canada. We are very happy to be able to welcome you to our international team and look forward to working with you!
Last Wednesday was a very exciting day for our volunteers at La Giraudière. We booked a 9 seater mini bus for an excursion to explore beautiful France. We left at 7:30 in the morning to visit the “Chateau de Bordeilles” which is about 2 hours away from Brossac. The drive there was already worth it as it was a wonderful sunny morning which let the French countryside appear in a beautiful light.
Before visiting the “Chateau” we were having a delicious coffee and croissant in the sun. There were plenty of interesting rooms, chambers and a nice garden to explore at the castle which made us stay there for nearly 2 hours. Following this visit we headed for Brantome. We wandered around the charming city and had time to buy some very unique souvenirs to bring back home. With an authentic French lunch (entrée, plat et dessert) by the river we finished our visit of Brantome, went back to the car and started our trip to the train station to pick up our new volunteer from New Zealand – Carolyn. On our way we decided to go to Aubeterre straight away after we have picked her up – she did not really have a choice However, Carolyn was very happy to have the possibility to see one of France’s nicest cities immediately after her arrival. We spent about 2 hours in Aubeterre enjoying the warm and sunny weather before we went back to La Giraudière where we had our second big and delicious meal of the day prepared by Tom.
Our international group of volunteers after exploring beautiful France
Unfortunately Sharyn and Janice – our Australian volunteers – left La Giraudière this weekend. This is to thank them very much for the excellent work they carried out during their 2 weeks stay.
Janice’s main task was the painting of our benches and tables for the garden and in the Old House. This job was perfectly designed for her as she has worked as an Interior Architect back in Australia. Sharyn has taken over the function as our main gardener and was very busy doing a lot weeding, cutting our hedges and planting new flowers. Both ladies have got an awesome hands-on mentality which enabled them to finish their projects efficiently.
On Thursday last week we were very lucky, because Janice and Sharyn decided to organise an authentic Australian barbecue for the whole group. They spent hours at the grill to ensure we all had a lovely evening. It was a great international night with lots of delicious food, amazing people and a good laugh.
Sharyn preparing the authentic Australian Barbecue
In addition both used their time at La Giraudière to improve their French language skills by interacting with the local community on a daily basis. They will still have the opportunity to use the French language as they will now spend a few days in Paris before they go back home to Australia.
Thank you very much Janice and Sharyn for everything you have done at La Giraudière. Working with you was a lot of fun which we all enjoyed very much. It was a pleasure to have you here!
This is to announce the arrival of another volunteer at La Giraudière. Carolyn from New Zealand will be helping out for 3 weeks and is hoping to improve her French language skills (which are already very good) during her stay by taking part in local activities as often as possible and by communicating with the local community on a daily basis. Furthermore, she loves the idea of being part of an international team and working in a multicultural environment.
Back at home Carolyn works for the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to arrange and support people from developing countries to come to New Zealand for study at university on a scholarship. She is taking a month’s holiday and is coming to France to immerse herself in a useful project with other people for 3 weeks rather than travel alone for the whole month. In addition to her work responsibilities she also does a lot of environmental volunteer work (planting and weeding) near home. Moreover, she has also volunteered in a village with no running water or electricity in Thailand which she enjoyed a lot. Furthermore, Carolyn has also worked as an English teacher for people from many different countries.
Carolyn carrying out some building and construction work under the sun
Due to her excellent CV Carolyn can provide help with everything that is needed. She started as a gardener to do some weeding and to plant new flowers. During the next days and weeks she might also be carrying out some painting, do some administrative work or take over the work of our household manager.
Welcome to La Giraudière Carolyn! We are very happy to have you here and look forward to working with you and finding out more about your exciting and interesting work at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in New Zealand.
We warmly would like to welcome Elisabeth from the US who arrived at La Giraudière last week. After a very exhausting journey from California she found out that her luggage is still in the US and did not make it with her to France. However, this gave her the opportunity to explore beautiful Angouleme the next day as she urgently needed to buy some new clothes
Elisabeth will be staying at La Giraudiere for three weeks. During the first week she will be taking over Margaret’s tasks as the household manager. Furthermore, she will be helping with every job, for example painting or gardening, which needs to be done. Like every other volunteer Elisabeth wishes to experience French culture authentically by being part of the local village life. While studying Elisabeth has already spent one semester in France during which she learned very good French. At La Giraudière she would like to refresh her knowledge by speaking French on a daily basis.
Elisabeth and our dog Sidney
Back home in the States Elisabeth has worked in sales for several years. Moreover, she has got a lot of hospitality industry experience. She co-managed an Eco-Lodge in Costa Rica and also managed the front-of-the house in several restaurants. In addition to that Elisabeth worked as an event planner for the American Lung Association and as a fundraiser for some local non-profit organisations. As she has been working in many different areas she can offer excellent planning, social and administrative skills which are all needed for our daily work. Elisabeth, it is great to have you here and we look forward to working with you!
This is to say a big THANK YOU to Marcella – our volunteer from the United States – who arrived four weeks ago to experience unique French culture. Unfortunately she left La Giraudière last week to go back to Scotland where she spends her semester abroad.
During her time at La Giraudière Marcella’s main project was the improvement of our orientation guide, which is sent to every volunteer or intern in advance to on the one hand provide them with the most important information about La Giraudière and on the other hand to give them an overview about La Giraudière’s surrounding area. Marcella finished this task very efficiently which made it possible to take over other jobs too. She helped to prepare the appartements for the arrival of other volunteers, did a lot of weeding and other important work in the garden.
Marcella giving the hedge a beautiful shape :)
Furthermore, during her stay at La Giraudière Marcella improved her French language skills by interacting with the local community on a daily basis. She also got to know French culture including its traditions and lifestyle. This experience of cross-cultural communication and cultural exchange will be very helpful for her studies, her personal life and her future career.
Marcella is now back in Scotland finishing her final exams for this semester. After that she will spend her summer in Italy teaching English as she is a qualified T.E.F.L (Teaching English as a foreign languange) teacher. We wish this talented young lady all the best for her future career and would like to thank her very much for her extraordinary effort and help which made it possible to finish off many projects.
It is getting busy at La Giraudière! We are very pleased to announce the arrival of 3 new volunteers who all turned up over the last weekend to experience French culture.They were blessed with lovely and warm summer weather which made it possible to enjoy Brossac’s charme from the first day on.
Tom from the US was the first of our new volunteers who arrived last Friday. It is already his third visit at La Giraudière. The charismatic and warm atmosphere, working in an international environment as well as the opportunity to experience French culture authentically are the reasons why he loves to come back every year. Back at home Tom has worked as a pilot for many years and is now retired. At La Giraudière he helps with building and construction work as well as with any other job which needs to be completed.
Always with a smile on her face Janice is getting some painting work done
Janice and Sharyn, two friends from Australia, arrived on Saturday. Janice is a fit and very active reitree. She has worked as an Interior Architect. Thus, she has got knowledge of design and can offer brilliant technical and also project management skills. She loves the French language and takes regularly part in French language classes at home. The 2 weeks she will be staying at La Giraudière will definitely help to improve her language skills. Furthermore, she looks forward to interacting with people from different ages and backgrounds. So far we have got volunteers from 5 different nationalities – aged between 18 and 67. This makes it possible for Janice to experience a very lively cultural exchange.
Sharyn doing some weeding under France’s beautiful sky
Sharyn works as a Radiation Therapist in Australia and has also renovated several gardens and houses. She has got excellent planning and design skills which will be very helpful for renovation activities as well as for La Giraudire’s daily routine. Moreover, she loves to be involved in local village life and to interact with Brossac’s community on a daily basis.
Tom, Janice and Sharyn – We are very happy to have such motivated and ambitious people with very interesting backgrounds here at La Giraudière and look forward to working with you and to enjoying France’s beauty and charme with you at the same time!
The next volunteer has joined our international team at La Giraudière – Shavanna from England in the UK has just arrived yesterday and is already completely involved in our daily work. She has taken over her own tasks like gardening and cleaning the apartments for the arrival of other volunteers.
Shavanna has just finished a dipoloma in uniformed public services with the goal to join the police when she comes back from France. During studying for her diploma she developed excellent team and leadership skills which are highly appreciated at La Giraudière. Furthermore, Shavanna has started learning French and would like to enhance her language skills during her stay to become a fluent speaker. Being fully involved in the local community will be a great help to achieve this objective.
Shavanna on her day of arrival at La Giraudière
Dear Shavanna – We are very happy to be able to welcome you to our intercultural team and look forward to working with you! Knowing to have a future police woman at La Giraudière lets us all stay very calm and relaxed
This is to welcome Margaret, our new volunteer from Australia, who arrived at La Giraudière yesterday. Living and working in France has always been one of Margaret’s dreams. Her recent retirement has now offered the excellent opportunity to let this dream come true. The 4 weeks she will be staying at La Giraudière are just the beginning of an exciting and adventurous year in France.
Our housekeeper Margaret – Always with a smile on her face
Margaret is a qualified accountant and have had extensive accounting experience in various industries. Therefore, she has got excellent skills in accounting, administration and computers which are highly needed at La Giraudière. Furthermore, she would like to help with everything which needs to be done and fixed. Her first task during this week will be the very responsible one of the “Housekeeper”. Everybody is going to love her for taking over this job because usually nobody is really interested in doing it
Dear Margaret – We are very happy to welcome you on board and look forward to the next 4 weeks including a unique French volunteering experience. Moreover, we wish you a wonderful time in France with many exciting adventures!
This is to welcome Idriss, an ambitious young French volunteer, who will spend 4 weeks at La Giraudière. His main goal during his stay is to improve his English by interacting with native speakers and by participating in regular English lectures at La Giraudière.
Idriss has just finished school and will start his career as a firefighter soon. As he considers to go to university later in his life he wants to become a fluent English speaker. Only after a few days at La Giraudière he has already learned a lot and improved his written and spoken language skills. Furthermore, he has got very good computer skills and a hands-on mentality which allows him to carry out every work that needs to be done at La Giraudière. Moreover, everyone is very happy to now also be able to practise their French language skills not only in Brossac or during excursions throughout France but also by using the French language directly at La Giraudière.
Idriss preparing beds for arriving volunteers
Idriss – We are very happy to have you here and look forward to an intense and very interesting French – American – British – Australian – German cultural exchange.