Volunteering Enviroment in France

The Volunteering enviroment in France offers Peace and tranquility that invite disconnection from day to day living. This is the volunteering enviroment or atmosphere that is breathed in La Giraudière. An environment south west of France, in the middle of small rustic villages, scatered stone built farmhouses, those famous french vineyards and fields which have recently given up their various crops.

Volunteer in Paris
Volunteers trip to Paris

Many times we live under the pressure from the rhythm of the city, responsibilities, without realizing it, we forget what is most important. My name is Cristina, I’m 24 and I’m from Burgos (Spain). I am at La Giraudiere as a volunteer under the EU learning program called European Solidarity Corps. I will be here in France for just over 2 months volunteering on a project titled <<Recognizing Young Entrepreneurs and teaching Entrepreneurship 2019>>.

Volunteering Enviroment in France

My work in the project has been the elaboration, together with other volunteers, of a teaching guide of entrepreneurship for teachers and the creation of a game that will help students understand economic concepts, strategies in a fun way. During this project I have been accompanied by other volunteers, like Emi and Kaleigh with those I shared trips like that of La dune du plait. it was a wonderful adventure!!

Volunteers from the USA and Spain traveling to the dune du plait in Alcachon.

An experience of volunteering in la Giraudière is the beginning of and adventure immersed in a natural environment full of corners and routes. In this place you can discover with a walk fields full of vineyards, some blue lagoons and a lots of trails that invite you to enjoy it.

Volunteering experience in France countryside
View From La Giraudiere

Also when you enter in this atmosphere you have the possibility to meet super friendly people who live a rural, alternative lifestyle. Since being at la giraudiere, I have met many people from around the world and learnt from many stories of people who decided to come here to live and teach us different perspectives.

The bicycles provided allow you to visit nearby villages where there are more activities to enjoy by your self or in company of others.

In short, coming to la Giraudière is an experience that takes you to a place where there are not traffic lights or street lamps but you can see the milky way and breathe clean air. Where people who live around share their time an experience with you.

Time to locate, open your mind and improve languages tools. A place to appreciate the small details that escape us many times. 

volunteering experience in France
Cycle around the Charente

The volunteers enviroment in France helps attracts Volunteers from around the world to participate at La Giraudiere which helps us to offer a real Cultural Exchange in France

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Italian volunteer in France

It is at the Giraudiere, a pleasant village in the South-West of France, where I decided to spend my period of European volunteering. I am Marta, an Italian volunteer in France and I am 22 years old and I am Italian. After my degree in International Relations and diplomacy, I decided to take some time for me, and devote myself to a volunteer experience. Looking on the internet, I discovered the world of European volunteering, which now offers different projects that are categorized as European Solidarity Corps (ESC) a program under the European Commision.

Brossac holidays village

Thanks to this new ESC (European Solidarity Corps) volunteering platform, I discovered La Giraudiere with its YERFF project, YERRF being the acromyn for “Young Entrepreneurs Rejuvenate Rural France”, born in 2016 and finishing in December 2019. I immediately sent my application and now I’m here, willing to carry my contribution for the good realization of the project. With the help of the previous ESC and international volunteers, we have created a guide on entrepreneurship for schools, to explain how to reconize a young entrepreneur in the class and could we encourage this frame of mind and maybe even teach the skill of the enrepreneurial spirit.

Le Maire Brossac
Brossac Village France

Furthermore, the guide will be written in French and English, to offer to the students the opportunity to improve their language skills, and to add to it an element of internationality. In addition, I gave my contribution to the realization of a board game always on the theme of teaching entrepreneurship, a modality to learn while having fun. for more information about this YERRF Project visit entrpreneurial education project in France

Italian volunteer in France
Marta working on the Entrepreneurs game for education

Italian volunteer in France at Brossac

Between the different possibilities of learning here at Giraudiere, I got involved in the creation of a post on the blog of the Association, discovering the different techniques to create an effective post and ensuring the post is Search Engine Friendly. I also could challenge myself with the utilization of different features of Google Drive and Microsoft Word.

Marta phones home

A good opportunity to learn technology lessons while I am immersed in an international environment, being a young European Italian volunteer in France, New Aquitaine, still in France.

You can read more about this volunteering on the website at Volunteer In France

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Fun for Volunteers in France

Last weekend was full of fun for volunteers in France, nevermind in Brossac, who explored French culture through numerous exciting excursions. Super génial!

Fun for Volunteers in France : Friday

Despite the great weather, it is not always easy being one of the Volunteers in France but the numerous excursions offered to the volunteers in Brossac keep them motivated and happy. La Giraudière gets the balance between life and work right! After Friday morning French lessons and a hearty lunch, the volunteers at La Giraudière went to Aubeterre-sur-Drone for a bit of sightseeing. They were certainly amazed by the beautiful old town that was full of vibrant colour and interesting local shops. Paul walked them around the town and highlighted the best things to see and do. During this tour, he even snuck them into a church wedding.

Fun for volunteers in France included these beautiful flowers
Tree outside of house in Aubeterre

And the highlight for the volunteers?

For the volunteers, the main highlight was the monolithic and subterranean church of St Jean. None of the volunteers had seen a church like this before! It cost only three euros with the student discount which they got thanks to Paul’s involvement. The first thing they noticed when they entered the church was the cold and dampness of the room and then as their eyes adjusted to its dimly lit interior, they looked up and were stunned into silence. The room was immense with towering, solid limestone walls. They then noticed small openings in the walls of the stairs and the upper stories. They could see people peering out of the gaps and taking photos of the ‘miniutre’ people on the bottom level.

Fun for French volunteers included looking up at towering limestone walls of church
Subterranean Church of St Jean

Included in the price of the church visit were audio guides. This helped them a lot as they were an international group with a variety of languages. As a result, we walked around at our own pace without any pressure or stress that often comes with guided tours.

Get more information about the church of St Jean on the Aubeterre sur Drone website.

After all their sightseeing, the ravenous volunteers went to a restaurant in Chalais. The group sat outside as it was a warm evening and sampled French dishes, confit de canard and soufflé for example. They also drank French wine and a few had an after dinner digestive.

Saturday

On Saturday evening, the volunteers went to a night market. It was packed with people and there were so many different options of things to eat. Sweet and savoury and all local, of course. One of the volunteers bought some snails. As for the rest of them, they decided to stop in a nearby restaurant where they had traditional French dishes, such as beef entrecôte. After they finished there, they watched a flamenco dancing performance while eating ice-cream from one of the local sellers. After all the excitement and some dance moves from Paul, the exhausted and happy group went home.

Fun for Volunteers in France : Sunday

The volunteers and Paul went on a lovely drive on Sunday. They started off the day by going to a brocante in Berneuil. Paul told the volunteers that often people come with all their items from different countries and travel all over France and even Europe, from one Brocante to another. As a result, the brocante had a very international and exciting feel to it. The volunteers had no idea what item they would see next.

Church at Berneuil was fun for french volunteers
Church at Berneuil

After the Brocante, the group decided to go to Jarnac. When they arrived, they parked close to the river which runs through the central part of the town. As they walked from the car and got to the river, they saw a beautiful big gate which gave entrance to a green space. The gate overlooked the water and the vibrant flowers surrounding the entrance cast their relfection on its watery surface.

View from bridge at Jarnac
River at Jarnac – view from bridge

The group crossed over the river and continued to walk along its banks and into the town. They were amazed to see old water wheels still in between buildings. There were not many people around as it was a Sunday. However, the group found one bar open so they got some drinks. After a few hours of relaxing and walking around the pretty town, they went home so they could prepare for the new week ahead and new arrivals.

Courvoisier building in Jarnac
Courvoisier building in Jarnac

Find out more about Jarnac on their website.

There is lots of fun for volunteers in France. Read more about different experiences had by volunteers on our blog.

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Excursion for Volunteers

There is always an opportunity for an Excursion for Volunteers at La Giraudière and on Wednesday, the 31st of August, La Giraudière’s volunteers went on an excusion to Talmont and Royan which ended with a three course meal.

Russian Volunteer Looks out Car Window on Excursion for Volunteers
Vladimir enjoys car journey

There was an excursion for volunteers at La Giraudière last week. The volunteers woke up excited to learn more about French culture and their surrounding areas. They set off on the excursion at 9am, falling asleep to the drone of the radio and the warmth of the morning sun. Thankfully, a quick stop for coffee soon cured any tiredness.

The Excursion for Volunteers started with Talmont

The first stop was Talmont – one of the plus beaux villages de France. As the town is pedestrianised, they parked the car near and then walked on in. The volunteers remarked on its beautiful narrow streets and vibrant flowers. It might be worth mentioning, the hollyhock flower is its most popular.

Seaside View of Talmont Coastline on Excursion for Volunteers
View from Talmont

In particular, the Church of St Radegonde impressed the volunteers with its romanesque appearance. Interestingly, it once served as a resting place for the Pilgrimage of Saint James of Compostela. After their sightseeing, they then had coffees in a nearby cafe. They took one last gander around the town before heading back to the car.

Romanesque church in Talmont on Excursion for Volunteers
Church of St Radegonde in Talmont

The excursion had its second stop at Royan

The volunteer’s second stop was Royan, a popular resort town with five beaches and a port filled with boats! Unfortunately, everyone forgot their swimsuits. But they, of course, made the most of the situation by walking along the coastal roads and taking in the views. After the walk, they then treated themselves to some ice-cream and observed the town’s bustling atmosphere.

Watersports at Royan Beach on Excursion for Volunteers
Beach at Royan

The third and final stop of the Excursion for Volunteers was dinner

The volunteers then stopped for dinner at a popular trucker rest point where there were great prices and tasty food. 1 euro for two glasses of wine, for instance! However, the group were soon tired so they headed home and settled down for a good night’s sleep.

Read about the volunteer’s excursion to Narbonne here.

Interested in volunteering? Find out more here.

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Irish Intern Chooses France

Sarah, from Wexford in Ireland, decided to take up an internship in France after graduating from Trinity College Dublin.

Internship in France for student from Ireland.

Sarah chose France for her first internship as she has an interest in all things French, she recently completed her French degree and will be going on to do a masters in advertising. Consequently, in addition to improving her French, she will be interning at La Giraudière for one month to see how the working world functions regarding marketing for a non profit organisation.

Sarah discovered La Giraudière while searching the internet for internships which included French lessons. La Giraudière’s internship page promised an unique learning experience with opportunities to acquire new skills. Most importantly, as a recent graduate, it seemed ideal to get practical working experience.

Sarah flew with Aer Lingus from Dublin to Bordeaux. From the airport, she took the public bus to the train station. She gazed out the window and marvelled at the thriving city. During the train journey, she remarked on how beautiful the lanscape of the region, Nouvelle Aquitaine was. After arriving at Chalais train station, Paul met Sarah and brought her to La Giraudière where she met the other volunteers – a Spaniard, a Portuguese and a Russian. They shared dinner made by the Russian, Vladimir and spoke about daily life and duties at the house.

Many students from Ireland have chosen La Giraudiere for their French experience. Read about Mark’s experience volunteering at La Giraudiere here.

Interested in volunteering? Find out more here.

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