Mon SVE a commencé le 23 mai, j’avais hâte qu’arrive ce jour et j’attendais avec impatience parce que je savais que pour moi ce serait une expérience inoubliable ; dans un autre pays avec des coutumes différentes, en plus d’avoir à vivre avec 3 personnes plus différents pays et cultures.
A l’arrivée à Coutances on m’attendait avec une pancarte de bienvenue, Agi et les 4 autres volontaires seraient ma famille pendant 2 mois. Les premiers jours ont été très difficiles à cause de la langue, mais peu à peu on me comprennait mieux, bien que pas tout à fait.
A l’Association AVRIL, j’ai été accueillie très bien et ils étaient mon soutien à tous moments et m’ont donné l’aide nécessaire pour me sentir à l’aise et heureuse. De plus, chaque jour il y avait une activité différente, des émotions différentes et la découverte des choses différentes. En bref, c’est ce qui a fait que mon SVE est passé rapidement etje ne voulais pas retourner en Espagne.
Cette expérience m’a beaucoup servi à apprendre différents aspects de la vie que je ne pouvais pas imaginer et connaître ce pays qui me surprend jour après jour. Je pense que je ne me suis pas trompée le jour que j’ai décidé de m’aventurer dans ce SVE.
Laura Grundmane (Lettonie)
It is quit hard to notice, that this project soon will be over. In a good way, every day was so different. Our project was well planned. It took place in association Avril, located in Coutances. The name of project – « Short term EVS for a long term environment ». I applied for this project because environment and sustainable development has always been in my interests. Taking part of this project made me realize that I use to know so little about France and its culture, people and defiantly nature.
A big part of our project is working in nature, called Chantier. Together with other volunteers we went to different places around local area, for example, to build new and repair old fences to protect dune, we also cut out fish nets from protected plants. Every time we done something different and places we visit wasn’t the same, so it was also nice to see more from local area and also meet other people who work for nature protection in France. Taking part of Chantier showed me the importance and all other aspects of nature protection in France.
My favourite parts in project were activities that involved children. First we went to Cherbourg to share international experience, and other week we were in Avranches to talk about our countries and our voluntary work in Countances. The other day we went to sea side with animators from Avril. They were leading activities for children, and we were helping with catching crabs and snails. It was a very nice experience to explore the sea side and compare difference between marine life in Normandy and my country. Working with children always brings me satisfaction, because they are open-minded and willing to learn.
When I write we, I mean that I`m not alone in this project. In my small short term EVS group we are four people from four different countries. This is interesting experience to spend so much time together with three absolutely different characters. In our time together the hardest moments were because of language barrier, but advantage of our time together is defiantly knowledge about other cultures, traditions and new friendships. We all are living in very cosy house near Coutances, and since we have electrical bicycles it is no problem with transportation.
Association Avril welcomed us very nicely. They are supportive and always are open if we have any suggestions. People are friendly and sometimes funny. In my opinion it is amazing to have joyful attitude in work place.
Since I had no knowledge in French I`m quite disappointed to myself for not pushing myself enough hard for studies. Communications in our small group usually happen in English, French and Spanish, so in the end of day, after cocktail like that, there is no place for French studies.
Every single day is so full with many activities and interesting things, I never felt bored. We also had a very nice holiday. We met other EVS volunteers in France and we also had opportunity to travel around a bit. This all together is one amazing experience.
David Biro (Hongrie)
The first time I traveled to France and is the first project in which I take part in Erasmus.I’m excited about this adventure.From my sending organisation I have heard many good things about AVRIL, so I was not worried.From the first moment everyone was very kind and helpful.In all care about the convenience and plenty of information, useful advice from us.Besides me, I have four volunteers working on the project. I can take part in a very exciting and well developed project.This project is primarily for nature protection, but I have the opportunity to cooperate animators to work well.
In addition to the practical work several times We visit schools to talk with students there.I gained a lot of useful experience, I learned a lot of new methods.In addition, our task is still part of the project to make a stop motion video that summarizes the project.In addition to work was of course a lot of time a trip as well.I visited in Normandy and Brittany.I saw amazing landscapes and exciting places discovered.I really appreciate the AVRIL has to implemented this wonderful project and the fact that I could be a part of this.An insight into the work of a fantastic association and I have gained useful knowledge.When I get the chance, the long-term EVS project I will sign here.
Leo van Veen (Allemagne)
Deux mois de bonheur:
After having spent more than half of my two months in Normandy I can honestly say that it has been a very enriching experience, which I didn’t regret applying for once.
It all started on the May 23rd, the day when I arrived in Coutances and when I was welcomed by two Latvian girls, Liva and Laura, at the bus station. On the next day the rest of my new family arrived, David from Hungary and Carol from Spain. Since then they’ve really grown on me and become more and more familiar each day. We get now know each other’s quirks better and even though we have difficulties from time to time I’m glad that I’ve found new friends, with whom I’m able to spend my time.
But I didn’t only feel right at home in our new family, I also felt very welcomed in AVRIL. Everyone is kind, supportive and caring for me. I feel less like a foreigner, but more like someone who is part of the organization.
The work I’m doing is challenging, but still manageable and rewarding. I don’t feel like I’m wasting my time and even though I know that my influence is limited I still have the feeling that I’m part of something bigger. Most of the work is physical work at the seaside called “chantier”. It involves dune protection, building a lot of fences and enjoying the view on wonderful landscapes and the sea.
When I arrived I was surprised by how easy it is to communicate in French. I expected my French language knowledge to not be enough for basic conversations but now I know better. It gets hard to get one’s point across from time to time but I’d say that language is not a real barrier and I would encourage anyone to not be afraid of being surrounded by people who speak a different language.
The only gripe I have is that my French isn’t improving that much since we almost exclusively speak English together. Our skill levels are also so different and our time so limited that it’s difficult to progress in our French classes a lot.
In general I can only outline how grateful I am that I was taken in this project, in which I can gain so many new experiences, meet so many people and grow as a person. Money is also not a big issue for me because the funding of the European Commission is enough to get me through the day. If anyone reading this is even remotely interested in also taking part in this project, I can only encourage him to apply and not be afraid of getting out of his comfort zone.