2-Weeks Impressions about my ESC
It has been two weeks since I started my ESC project in Bournezeau, France. I participated in a number of classes, met up with the teachers, and got acquainted with the school life and the village. The teachers here are very nice and hospitable. Every day someone would ask me “ça va Oksana?” at least a couple of times and it makes me feel very appreciated and welcomed. During the classes I participated in with Charlène, I observed how students were playing games to remember the vocabulary they learned. I was extremely glad that some of them didn’t hesitate to ask me questions in order to help them out with the task. Even though my French isn’t good enough I was able to give some answers and thereby, feel my participation better. It is important to me that students could feel comfortable with me in the class because this way I can get to know them better and integrate with a school life.
I usually have lunch with teachers in “salle de reunion”. Each day there’re some dishes from the school canteen. That is how I can discover what kind of food is common to eat every day in France. Last time, I really enjoyed the cheese and the liver pâté called “pâté de foie”.
I was also happy to find out that there’s a bike in the school and that I can take it whenever I need. It was such a wonderful piece of news for me! I enjoy practicing outdoor sports a lot and think that exploring the countryside by bike is a great thing to do during weekends. I found that some locals are as much enthusiastic about this kind of sport as am I. Jean-Philippe, the teacher of economics, surprised me by the fact that he rode 84 km during last weekend. What a journey! Jean-François, the repairman had also explained me what kind of route it is better to follow If I want to look for the nice places near Bournezeau.
What comes to riding a car, there’s also such an option if you want to visit a city nearby or go to the seashore. It’s a little bit difficult for me to the beginning since I don’t ride a car at home too often but thanks to the driving lesson the school provides, it’s going to be much easier to get used to the new environment.
During the weeks I also went on a school trip to the place called Venice Verte to supervise the teachers and have some fun while exploring around. It’s a very green and peaceful place where people come for kayaking to spend time on nature. For the beginning, we took a boat with a guide who explained us the specifics of the surroundings. The students learned new vocabulary and noted it in their copybooks to be able better write their reflection on a trip after. After taking lunch we moved forward to the more interactive activity in groups. Each group consisting of 6 people had to choose 2 oarsmen or oarswomen to run a boat and there was given a sheet with instructions for the game. In short, we had to run a boat using the instructions from the paper. The first team coming to the finish was going to win a prize, after answering a couple of questions. It was an extremely interactive activity that required to engage both physical strength and mental sharpness.
Next day, I went to the place called “Equestrian Center S.h.y” to see the lesson of horse riding for students. For the beginning, we had a small excursion in the school as some of the girls were participating in the lesson for the first time. We saw the horses, the stables, the place where a horse ammunition is kept and plenty of other interesting things needed to take care of horses. Then we moved forward to a practical lesson on a horse care. Each student had to choose a horse (mine was Socrate, in the picture), walk him out of the stable and tie him safely to a hitching rail. After that, we started to take care of horses by grooming them and cleaning their hoofs. When the work is done, we moved forward to putting their bridle, saddles and the rest of ammunition on. It was a very unusual and at the same time fascinating activity for me as I’ve never taken care of horses before. During the class it was also engaging to me to ride a horse and observe how students enjoy this kind of sport.
To sum up, during these 2 weeks I received lots of impressions on the new environment I’m going to live in during next 10 months. I got acquainted with the school life, participated in some classes and went on the activities outside. During the next months of my stay I expect myself to travel a little bit to explore the cities nearby and, also, improve my French more, as language is an indispensable tool for communication, especially at school. I also look forward to meeting other ESC volunteers at the training in Narbonne, that is going to take place from the 5 to 9 October. Thus, I’ll be able to broaden my communication with international participants like me. I’m looking forward to acquiring new experience.