My story started when I decided to spend my last summer vacation in the countryside of southern France. Before the Chinese New Year, I searched on the Internet and found the website of La Giraudiere. So I filled in the application form. It did take quite a long time until I got the reply of acceptance. But I received Paul’s email before switching my plan to going to Nepal. Being excited about it, I began the visa application.
Since I’m studying in Macau, I applied the Schengen visa at the Consulate of France in Hong Kong and Macau.
这 次旅行的故事从我决定到法国南部乡村度过我大学最后一个暑假开始。在今年农历新年放假前，我在Google上搜索了南法的工作假期计划从而找到了La Giraudiere的网站。所以我就填好了申请表发过去了。虽然等了好久才收到回复，不过终于在我改变计划去尼泊尔之前收到了Paul的确认邮件。虽然 很激动，但是还有签证一关要过，所以就开始着手准备签证材料了。
How Chinese volunteer obtain Visa
Documents to be submitted:
a form duly filled (to be downloaded or available at the Consulate)
2 color ID pictures (35 x 45mm) with white background
Copy and original of:
valid passport (3 month validity considering your return date in Hong Kong)
Hong Kong ID
Hong Kong visa (3 month validity considering your return date in Hong Kong)
leave letter from the employer
airline reservation with detailed itinerary or receipt and itinerary in English from your travel agent
proof of accommodation (hotel booking or lodging certificate) – Check out proof accommodation receipt at How to Apply
medical travel insurance
additional documents may be required if necessary.
Get your documents organised – for photocopies they check the originals when you summit the application.
Consulate of France in Hong Kong and Macau requires online appointment booking now. However, they don’t accept application from people who are non-residents of HK and Macau. For more information about the visa application, visiting the website of the suitable embassy or consulate for you is the best way to know how you can apply a visa because requirement and process vary.
I booked my flights online through Air France Hong Kong and got a good deal – around 6,400 HKD for return flights between Hong Kong and Paris. It was an e-ticket so I just printed the confirmation letter. Paul sent me a proof letter of accommodation and I bought the travel medical insurance from Bank of China, Macau.
The application went fine although the woman in the Consulate was a bit rude. I got everything ready and since this is not the first time I travel abroad alone, I don’t have too much problem.
Chinese Volunteer in Paris
I landed at CDG on a Wednesday afternoon. Thanks to my friend in Paris, her mom and sister came to pick me up at the airport. I stayed in Paris for 6 days until I took the train to Chalais. It’s a good idea to stop in Paris or Bordeaux before you come to Brossac because that gives you chance to adapt to the new environment, especially for those traveling from outside Europe. I had very good experience in Paris. And you can’t tell people you’ve been to France without visiting Paris, right?
在 一个星期三的下午，我乘搭的航班在巴黎戴高乐机场降落了。要感谢我在巴黎的朋友，她的妈妈和妹妹去机场接我了。我在巴黎待了6天，然后我才坐火车去 Chalais。在来Brossac之前先在巴黎或者波尔多待几天是个很好的主意，因为你可以熟悉一下新环境，也不用舟车劳顿那么辛苦，特别是那里从欧洲 之外的地区过来的人。更何况，如果你没有去过巴黎，你不可以跟别人说你来过法国，对吧？
Then on a Tuesday, I took the train from Paris to Angouleme, then to Chalais. Paul picked me up at the station. Almost the same time, another new comer, Norwegian girl Therese, arrived from La Rochelle. Then I finally arrived at La Giraudiere.
一个星期二的早上，我先从巴黎坐TGV到 Angouleme，再转地区火车到达Chalais。Paul去到车站接我。差不多同一时间，一个新来的挪威女 孩也从La Rochelle坐火车过来。然后，我终于到达了La Giraudiere。
Chinese Volunteers arrives at La Giraudiere
It was almost eight in the evening when I arrived at LG and everybody else was waiting us for dinner. I was a bit nervous but I have been feeling being at home since then. Everyone is friendly and funny. La Giraudiere is exactly what I’ve imagined, except that there were not as many animals as I thought, but our lovely Labrador, Sydney, is the greatest dog I’ve ever met! I haven’t been a dog lover since a terrible experience back to my childhood time but I love calm dog like Sydney!
到 达La Giraudiere的时候已经差不多是晚上8点了,大家都在等我们回来吃晚饭。虽然有点紧张但是我从一开始就觉得这里有家的感觉了。这里的每个人都很友 好很幽默。这里就像我来之前想象的那样，除了没有那么多动物。不过我们有一只非常可爱的拉布拉多，Sydney，它是我遇到过最友好的狗了。虽然因为小时 候的一次可怕的经历，我就对狗有点害怕，不过我喜欢这样安静、忠心的狗。
The first day was a day-off for new comers so Therese and I walked to the village centre. It’s small – there is a butcher shop, a small super market, a pastry store, a pharmacy, a post office, a bank, a salon, a tourism office (YES! A tourism office!) and a restaurant. I like this quiet and nice small village, especially when the weather is pleasant. Here you can experience the real south-western French culture, which is definitely different from Parisian.
新来的成员第一天都不用工作，所以Therese和我就散布到村中心去了。这是一 个小村庄，这里有一间肉铺、一间小型超市、一家面包店、一间药店、一家邮局、一个银行、一间发廊、一个游客中心（竟然有个游客中心）还有一家餐馆。我很喜 欢这里安静美丽的村庄，特别是当天气很好的时候。
Working days are from Tuesday to Friday, with a French class in a morning. And we take Saturday to Monday off because there’s a market in Chalais every Monday morning. The market is a very nice place to explore, where there are all kinds of things for sale, ranging from seafood to fresh fruit and vegetables, roasted chicken, household items, cheese and many others.
A normal working day would be like this: breakfast at around 8:00, work begins at 8:30, tea break at 10:30, lunch at 13:30, afternoon tea at 4:30 and dinner at around 7:30. Everyone takes turn to make dinner so we have the opportunity to taste food from all over the world! For our work, we can do gardening, construction of the old house and paperwork in the office. Everyone can find what they’re interested in here.
而 一个工作日是这样子的：早餐8点左右开始，8点半开始工作，10点半左右有个茶点，下午1点半左右午餐，4点半下午茶，然后7点半左右晚餐。每个成员会轮 流做晚餐，所以我们有机会品尝到各个国家不同地区的美食。工作方面，我们会根据各自不同的兴趣选择做园丁，室内装修或者办公室活。
Conversations during breaks and meals are always interesting. I benefit a lot from all the other members’ experience, including their works, their travel and their studies. We are from different parts of the world, Florida, Utah, Georgia, Scotland, England, Norway and China. So you can not only experience the French country culture but also cultures of other regions. Thanks to Paul, we got the chance to visit nice interesting places in the surrounding area as well, Aubeterre-sur-Dronne, Pons and Royan. Some of us also went to the famous city of wine, Bordeaux.
茶 点和餐点桌上的对话永远是有趣的。大家谈论各自的工作、学习和旅程，我从中获益良多。我们来自世界各地：弗罗里达州，犹他州，佐治亚州，苏格兰，英格兰， 挪威和中国。所以在这里你能感受到的不仅仅是法国乡村文化，还有其他各个地区的文化。还有感谢Paul，让我们有机会去参观游览周围的地方，包括 Aubeterre-sur-Dronne, Pons和Royan。我们还去了著名的红酒之乡- 波尔多。
I’m really enjoying myself here. Four weeks may not be enough to discover the region but I will never forget all that I’ve experienced here and all the friends I met.
志 願者在法國 – Franco Chine Volunteers Alliance
Following the links we are forming in China we are putting in place a Chinese version of our Website to promote our alliance and encourage our Chinese Volunteers
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