Phiren Amenca

An unexpectedly amazing year as a volunteer in France

I’ve done my volunteering in a French middle school. Before starting this big adventure, I’ve had some expectations of what I’m going to experience (I think as mostly everyone has) and learn during this year. Now, as I’m looking back on them, I can say that the mission, the other volunteers, so the experience itself was much more incredible than I’ve thought before. If I’d need to describe it in a few words, “unexpectedly amazing” would be my answer.

In the beginning, when I had to get used to living in a foreign country with a lot of new situations, wasn’t the easiest thing, but luckily, I wasn’t alone, because with the other volunteers in the city, we had so much fun with that phase, too. We shared our impressions, thoughts, victories, or difficulties of the days, as well as the little tips. For example, how can you get the reduction card for the regional bus lines or where can you find the cheapest groceries, or even how was it going with the language that day…

Where I learned the most, and where I had never thought before that I would, was my mission. It took some time for me to understand where I am standing in the school staff, as a volunteer, but I loved how I discovered a new thing almost every day. By working with the kids, I learned a ton of things about the world and maybe even more about myself. For starters, a lot of French (with which I was also helping them to learn it, so we learned together 🙂 ) but some words in their languages, too, such as Arabic, Dari or Macedonian. I also learned patience, and from the whole volunteering as well, how important is to be playful and open to everything.

Finally, one of my absolute favorite things about this in general, was the intercultural atmosphere. I loved how with my friends, we shared our languages and had so much fun by learning little phrases on them. That feeling was everywhere. When I was working, when we were together or when I started a sentence in one language and finished it in another without noticing it, and the others informed me about that.

This was a really special year for me and I’m so happy that I chose to do this mission. If you want to make friends from all around the world, travel in Europe and do something extraordinary, this is your way to go.

 Big shoutout to Association Horse Pistes for the support in France and to Phiren Amenca from Hungary!