Concordia - My ESC experience in Nouvelle Aquitaine

My ESC experience in Nouvelle Aquitaine

Hi everyone ! 🙂
My name is María and I have been a volunteer on an ESC with Concordia Nouvelle Aquitaine for 11 months. I am from Spain and I’m 23 years old.
I took the decision to go abroad because during my bachelor in anthropology I experienced living in Portugal doing my Erasmus and it was one of the best experiences of my life. In addition, living in France had always been my dream since I was a teeenager, so I found myself searching for new opportunities on the European Solidarity Corps’ website after I finished my studies.


I talked with Concordia Nouvelle Aquitaine and I thought it was the perfect organization for my ESC. Based in the south, in the countryside but connected to Bordeaux, with a lot of influence from Mediterranean culture… I instantly fell in love with the idea of coming here.

When I arrived I met some of my amazing roommates that later became my friends: Michela, May, Elena, and then it was Marzia and Mads. As Michela said to us one day, it is not always easy to share common life everyday and become friends with your own roommates, but this is just what happened between us and I know it was something very special. I’m so grateful that they also chose to do an ESC with Concordia Nouvelle Aquitaine !

Some days after we could get adapted to the house and our life in this little village called Saint-Caprais de Bordeaux, I started working with different groups of children and teenagers, getting to know them, the workers, and the different structures where I would be doing my personal project in the future.

After some months discovering the different structures, I presented my project in front of all the directors of the different centers. This was very intimidating for me at the beginning, but after seeing their motivation and interest in developing my project in their different centers, I felt super confident and I understood that my project was something valuable and important!
The project I created was about interculturality, so I started working with groups of children around different topics every day. For example, we talked about the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, we created our own Venetian masks, we talked about how we celebrate Easter in different countries, we learnt english and spanish, and many other activities related to culture in different countries all around the world.

This work sounds very nice (and it was!), but I also found some difficulties on the way. The first one was the language, because when I arrived in France I knew French because it’s a language that I love and that I had studied in Spain for some years. But one thing is the French that you can study in your hometown, and another completely different is coming to France and using this language in your everyday life, and especially trying to make you understand with little children.
Another difficulty I found was adapting to a different way of working and communicating. Even though Spanish and French culture have a lot of similarities, there are also some differences I learned through experience and that now I’m very happy to know. In addition, you have to understand many different ways of living life when you’re living abroad in a house full of international volunteers!

Changes and new beginning

While I was living in the house, new and amazing people came to the office of our delegation : Lucie, Martina and Laurent, so we had to say goodbye to the people that welcomed us to France and helped us to find our way in the beginning: Guillaume, Melanie and Emmanuel. Sometimes saying goodbye and facing changes and new faces sounds difficult at the beginning, but now I feel very supported and happy with the new group that leads Concordia Nouvelle Aquitaine and I know the ones that left found their own way that helped them to get closer to their future life projects!

The months passed, I kept discovering France thanks to the seminars we attended in different regions of the country, I met someone with whom I fell in love, met new people every week thanks to all the projects and activities that were organized in our garden, and kept developing my project and learning a lot from all my experiences here.
During the summer, I worked with Mads and May as a group leader in a work camp. We created, with many other international volunteers, a music festival called Frayse Toch, and this was one of the most complex experiences that I have faced since I arrived in France.

We had to organize a group of volunteers from different places all over the world, the common life together for three weeks, the festival with many other volunteers, and also, especially by the end, it was a lot of physical work. But despite all of that, it was a very rewarding experience. It was an amazing feeling seeing all the people enjoying the music, the food and the different activities that we had created. Sometimes I couldn’t believe that we had been part of making that possible, and also seeing how the volunteers that were in our charge enjoyed the experience even though all the difficulties that we faced, was very precious to me.

And now, that I’m almost by the end of this journey, I feel incredibly lucky and grateful for all the special memories that I’ll be taking with me when I go back to Spain in two weeks, and I hope that all the people that I crossed during this year can also keep the part of me that I’m leaving in here. I had a wonderful ESC with Concordia Nouvelle-Aquitaine.

See you again very soon!

Publié le mercredi 05 octobre 2022 à 14:26:03

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