Four weeks of my two month trip were spent in a little village called Brossac at a program called La Giraudière. La Giraudière offers volunteer, internship and school programs for people all around the world.
I opted for the internship program. Of course at the time of signing up I didn’t even know there was a difference between the internship and volunteer program (oops).
The internship program gave me the opportunity to work with Paul, the project director of La Giraudière and learn about the application process, social media and marketing aspects of the project.
The programs at La Giraudière offer a really great balance between work and play for volunteers and interns. Each week consists of three working days and four days of free time. Volunteers and interns work Tuesday through Thursday, and are free to explore other areas of France from Friday through Monday.
As an intern I had two private French lessons and one group French lesson a week. Whereas the volunteer program offers one group French lesson a week. You can read more about an internship at La Giraudière here and more about the volunteer program here.
At a very affordable rate, La Giraudière is a great option for people looking for a unique experience in France. The program offers volunteers and interns the opportunity to experience the French culture and to meet a lot of diverse people from around the world.
It truly is a place where people of all ages and cultures come together, eat good food, drink lots of wine and have a great time.
Accommodations at La Giraudière are spacious and clean, but not for the faint-hearted. You will become quite friendly with the neighbouring Daddylong Legs. Of course they are harmless and you get so used to seeing them that they rarely bug you when you come across them. There is something about travelling that makes you more accustomed to seeing these creatures (normally at home I am terrified ha).
Meal times are great bonding time for all volunteers and interns. Volunteers and interns take turns cooking meals for everyone. Sometimes challenging as you have to ensure there is something for everyone – I am a vegetarian so this was a challenge at times.
Work days at La Giraudière started at 9:00am and finished by 5:00pm. The day was broken up by a tea break at 11:00am and again by a lunch break at 1:00pm (sometimes lasting an hour or an hour and a half). The work atmosphere was very relaxing at La Giraudière, but that doesn’t mean things were not getting done. In fact, Paul ensured all volunteers were staying safe and on task.
Each day the volunteers were excited to see how the work they were doing was contributing to the success and development of the project. Many of the volunteers helped out in the Old House of La Giraudière which has been and will be used to host a variety of community events. Others maintained the gardens and the trees around the property. While others were responsible for blogging, social media and accounting duties.
There is definitely no shortage of work to be done at La Giraudière, but there is also no shortage of a good time. Paul is passionate about La Giraudière and that becomes clear in his dedication to the project. He also is very funny and makes for a truly enjoyable experience in France.
If you are interested in learning more about the program and what it entails check out the La Giraudière blog that is put together by volunteers and interns that participate in the program.