The French Erasmus+ Agency on 20th June published the portrait of Cédric, the French EVS Volunteer who worked in GEAI since September. After nine months here, Cédric shares his experience and his learnings. (Read the original article)
[Article disponible en français ici]
My name is Cédric, I’m 24 and for 9 months I’m a European Volunteer in Ireland with Good Energies Alliance Ireland (GEAI). I live in County Leitrim, a rural part of Ireland which keeps its authenticity. The living environment is wonderful: I’m hosted in huge chalet bordering a lake called Lough Allen near the River Shannon’s source. My organisation supports renewable energy development and the anti-fracking campaign. I do some legal studies and I learn communication work (Facebook, Tweeter, Newsletter, creation of leaflet, organisation of public meeting, etc.). That is a very varied work experience.
Before my EVS, I studied environmental, maritime and public law in France and I was also local press correspondent for Le Journal du Bugey. I would like to be journalist and in GEAI I can work at this professional target.
I will never forget my first day during the trip between Dublin airport and Co. Leitrim, it was so long. Kilometres after kilometres, the car left motorways and cities, villages became rare and road not enough large for the traffic. Also the trip was long because I did not really speak English, just basic words to say simple sentences. At this moment I realised that my Irish adventure was starting and I asked myself if I was not crazy to go into the unknown.
Another lasting memory is the reaction from Irish people around the country when I tell to them “I live in Leitrim”. All of the time they have immediately this reaction “Oh f***! Jesus! Why Leitrim?”. Unfortunately, this county suffers a bad reputation because it is rural and sparsely populated but obviously when you live here you know those are just clichés. I will never forget the friendliness and kindness from Irish people and I hope I will bring that from them. The proof of this friendliness is the current eulogistic press articles in France about Irish supporters during the Euro2016 football competition.
After my studies in law, I chose an EVS to spend my time for the public interest. I have never been member of an NGO in France and I find this type of work very interesting. I work in a small organisation and we do huge communication work to raise public awareness in the environmental cause. I am sure when I will be back I will engage myself in an organisation, now it is very important for me.
With EVS, volunteers can live with different nationalities and cultures. For example, at home and at work I share my experience with Romanian, Portuguese, Ukrainian, English and Irish of course. The EVS training is also the occasion to meet EVS volunteers who come from all over Europe to work in Ireland. It is clear, every European cultures are related and we are citizen of a same continent.
My EVS opinion
I encourage everybody to do an EVS, really. Especially because it is possible to do a short EVS, even as short as one week or do two different EVS and it is available until 30 years old. Me, I chose one year because I would have a complete immersion in Irish culture and improve my English. An EVS could be a very good thing in professional life and it is often the catalyst of a career change. The French Erasmus+ Agency helps volunteers to increase the value of experience.