Volunteers & Spring arrives in France

Volunteers and Spring arrives in France

Spring arrives at La Giraudiere, the wysteria is in bloom, the grass is growing, the cookoo have had their say and the birds are roosting. The village prepares for the spring fete for the weekend of the 4th, 5th and 6th of May and at La Giraudiere we prepare for hosting volunteers and interns.

Despite early concerns what with the troubles in Paris and Brexit it looks like it is going to be another Bumper year at La Giraudiere. It is on the 1st of May that LG opens it’s doors and  welcomes its first arrivals on this day also is the “fete du travail” et “Fête du Muguet”.

Spring volunteers arrive
Spring arrives in France

Fete du Travail

The French holiday “Fete du Travail” is unique due to a combination of global and historical French traditions.

Fete du Travail is a time for the French people to spend time with their friends and family members while enjoying a day off from work. Why ” Fete du muguet ” on May 1st?  Well offering les muguet, or lily of the valley in English, on the first of May is in fact an almost natural gesture as warmer weather returns.

The Celts celebrated the return of summer on May 1 and considered lily of the valley, present at this time of the year, as a lucky flower.

Volunteers in France
La Giraudiere prepares for its volunteers

Fete du Muguet

In the Renaissance, May 1st was the feast of love during which a wreath of flowers was made to offer to the loved one. The Muguet, blooming in May, often adorned these wreaths. At the same time, King Charles IX received, on May 1, a muguet as a lucky charm, he then decided to offer Muguet every first May to the ladies of the court.

The tradition of offering Mugueton May 1 persists until today and everyone can sell Muguet on the street, there are no formalities or taxes that day.

So as France and the French welcome the warm breezes of summer La Giraudiere welcomes its international bouquet of guests coming from all points of the globe.

This year La Giraudière encompass another Erasmus project this time funded by the European Solidarity Corps. The project “Recognizing Young Entrepreneurs and teaching Entrepreneurship” attracted hundreds of applicants from which five were selected one from each of the following countries Spain, Germany, Greece, Russia and Portugal. You can read more about the project on our website at http://www.lagiraudiere.com/

Apart from those participating in the  Erasmus project we continue to welcome our international volunteers coming from as far as New Zealand. For May alone our volunteers are American, British, French, Canadian and Australian together with our Erasmus volunteers we have a mix of 10 nationalities presenting a true culture exchange in France.

Much is planned for this year and next weeks blog post will give you fuller information on the other projects and the programs for 2019. So please keep returning and see you then.

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Chinese Australian volunteer chooses to Volunteer in France

Born in Taiwan lives in Australia volunteers France

Shiao-Ping came from Brisbane in Australia to volunteer at La Giraudière after spending her working life in banking. She has been learning French at the Alliance Française in Brisbane and it was a dream for her to come to France to learn and improve her knowledge of the French language. Shia-Ping volunteered at La Giraudiere for a 5 weeks arriving in August 2018.

Chinese Australian Volunteer

Shiao-Ping was born in Taiwan but lives in Australia with her Aussie husband of 32 years. Her mother tongue is Mandarin. She has a bread blog which you can find at www.thefreshloaf.com/blog/shiaoping! She is also a keen photographer and she has used all her own photos on her bread blog and on her Instagram account (shiaopinghu)

Chinese Volunteers in France

Whilst volunteering at La Giraudière, she worked in the office for a few weeks dealing with reservations and the logistics of bookings she also helped with translation and website creation with the Chinese volunteers.

Volunteers certificate

Shiao-Ping is an excellent cook and the group profited with the superb curries and other spicy dishes she would turn out but her specialty as to be baking and she became known for her yummy cakes!

In Shiao-Ping’s exit evaluation she notes,

She found La Giraudiere a welcoming place in the French countryside. She also encourages you to get out there and use your time off to improve your French and immerse yourself. The best part for her was the interaction with the fellow volunteers, the group excursions and communicating with the local villagers. She rated the program 18/20 and feels the program is good value for money. She also wished the volunteers had spoken more French although she realized her own knowledge of French was only basic.

“Thank you Shiao-Ping for choosing La Giraudiere for your volunteering holiday you were a pleasure to live and work with and make a splendid group or team member and I hope some day you return”. – Paul

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Apprendre l’anglaise en France faire bénévole à La Giraudière

Séjour linguistique bénévole pour apprendre l’anglais en France

17 year old Antoine Lang lives in Achères in France and had considered going to England for a linguistic “séjour” so as to improve his English, but then he stumbled on the La Giraudière website offering volunteering opportunities and decided that it would be far easier and cheaper to volunteer in his native France than to go to some unknown part of England.


He was delighted with his three week stay where he was able to meet other volunteers from China, England, Scotland and Australia and get plenty of practice in speaking English.

Whilst staying at La Giraudière, Antoine took advantage of the nearby lake and was able to go swimming in the lake, cycling as well as playing his guitar. He volunteered by doing some gardening, some building maintenance and updating web pages about La Giraudiere program for French speakers titled “bénévole pour apprendre l’anglais en France”

you can see the web pages at;

Séjour linguistique dans le sud ouest de la France

You can also see Antoine learning Scottish dancing during his stay on the video at You Tube Videos

Antoine later wrote to us with this testimonial of his stay at La Giraudiere

Je m’appelle Antoine et j’ai 17 ans. J’ai était bénévole pour La Giraudière durant 2 semaines. C’était super bien, j’ai rencontré des personnes de plein de pays différents : Chine, Angleterre, Écosse, Australie…
Ces 2 semaines sont passés très vite et ont était très enrichissante. J’étais le seul Français durant cette période et cela ma permis d’être vraiment plongé dans la langue Anglaise. Être bénévole à La Giraudière est awesome si tu es français car tu progresse énormément. Du coup, mon niveau en Anglais est monté en flèche. On pense Anglais 24h/24 comme si on était en UK ou aux USA. J’ai appris aussi beaucoup de choses durant mon séjour lors de mes différents travaux en faisant des Constructions et Pages Web. Il y a de super dinners de tout les pays qui nous attendent chaque soir. Une super ambiance, très conviviale, j’ai fais de très bonne rencontre. J’ai aussi pu aller souvent me baigner au Lac, faire du vélo et sortir avec le reste du groupe lors des moments de temps libre. De plus, faire ce séjour est beaucoup moins cher ici. En effet, 1 semaine à l’étranger est équivalent à plus de 6 semaines à La Giraudière. Je pense que c’est le meilleur moyen pour améliorer son Anglais, apprendre des choses en travaillant tout en restant en France et en aidant les autres.
Thank you Antoine and maybe see you again at La Giraudiere
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Volunteer from Essex

Janis Moore volunteer office manager

Janis heard about La Giraudière through an internet search and came to the program for three weeks. She worked as an office manager in London until her retirement. She wasn’t sure what to expect when she arrived but began to enjoy it more and more with every passing day. What she enjoyed most was working in the office and the camaraderie of being part of a community. She marked the excursions with a 9 and gave top marks for the French teaching.

Jan volunteering at her application desk

Jan volunteering

Janis felt that although slightly less basic accommodation would be nice, it didn’t really matter as the program overall was good value for money.

Janet quoted in her evaluation form at first she just was not sure as not use to sharing a bathroom but each day she enjoyed it more and more. She further said Wonderful program to get to know other people from all points of the globe and a great way to be introduced into the community she gave us 10/10 for the French lessons and 9/10 for the planned excursions.

Thank you Janet for choosing La Giraudiere’s volunteer holiday and being such a good team member of the group and hopefully see you back here again one day.

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Tasmanian Volunteers Colin and Janet volunteers holiday in France

Husband and Wife Volunteers from Tasmania

Colin and Janet came to La Giraudière as part of a nine week stay in Europe. Colin still

Tasmanian volunteer in France

Tasmanian volunteer

works full-time as a government geologist-scientist and Janet works as a clerk for the Tasmania Police. They live in Geilston Bay in Tasmania.Colin was skilled in the use of computers but also enjoyed gardening and maintenance whilst Janet described herself as a passionate gardener.

Both helped the project in a variety of ways. They heard about La Giraudière through a friend and spent ten days here finding it very good value for money. Colin said he found the programme very flexible and both enjoyed the group outings, the shared tasks and eating together.  It was suggested that sending the orientation manual out in advance would be useful!

Tasmanian volunteer in France

Tasmanian volunteer


Colin remarked in a video how he and Janet had the opportunity to interact with the local community, which they did not expect.

You can see them in the videos at You Tube videos or on our website videos.

A big thank you to Colin and Janet for choosing La Giraudiere and hopefully see you back here again soon.

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