Volunteers Working Holiday
Volunteer working Holiday at La Giraudière in South West France
working holiday an article written by Dr DJ Rohling,
An American Volunteer at La Giraudière
Dr DJ Rohling aspiring novelist volunteering
helping to renovate a historic stone-built French master’s house
(maison d’maitre) in south-west France, where acre after acre of
vineyards and sunflower fields dominate the landscape … and intersperse
that with free French language lessons, good food, meeting new people
from all stations and walks of life and culture. Imagine, too, taking
day-long or extended weekend excursions to other picturesque regions
near or far. Again, imagine the wonderfully fulfilling sense of
accomplishment generated by having contributed to an educational
project. If any of this appeals to your sense of adventure, to that
unfulfilled longing to challenge yourself, to travel the world without
breaking the bank, then quite possibly a volunteer working holiday at
La Giraudière is exactly what you are looking for. It is exactly what I
was looking for! I am thrilled to have discovered it and experienced
it! Getting out of my office was just what the doctor ordered! As well,
I saved at least a couple thousand dollars on hotel accommodation over
the course of three weeks.
Sure, it helps if you are an experienced carpenter, electrician,
plumber, painter, landscaper or writer, teacher, artist or web designer
but at La Giraudière it is NOT required - there is something that
everyone can do. Maybe you prefer to cook, clean, or assist with other
general household management. Whatever the case, if you have the
motivation to contribute, you will be welcomed. For me, a clinical
psychologist and aspiring novelist, being outdoors, trimming hedges and
assisting with a writing project was a delight. I even learned how to
do crepi, that is, apply a chaux render to stone walls in the French
Here’s how the La Giraudière volunteer program works: During your stay,
you give 18 hours a week working on the project in exchange for a
reduced accommodation tariff. Your work commitments are typically
fulfilled over Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The recommended minimum
commitment is for a three week stay but you can extend as long as you
The rest of the week is yours to do as you please! There are several
exciting options. If you prefer, you can venture off alone on the
convenient French rail to any of several other locations. You can join
other volunteers on excursions to local events, markets and historic
sites. You can take in the surf at one of the picture-perfect beaches
along the southwest coast of France. Or you can visit nearby Bordeaux,
the amazing beautiful riverside city with its busy urban life, many
restaurants and Europe's longest central shopping strip.
a wonderful, whirlwind twenty-four hours in this city, absorbing all
the sights, sounds and smells I could. I chose to travel the city on
foot, walking mile after mile, taking pictures and practicing my
ever-expanding French skills. And of course Paris is only two hours by
train away!! Your three or four free days off allow time enough for a
sightseeing tour of the most popular city in the world, the city of
romance, the famous city of lights!
Do you want to refresh your dormant high school French skills? Or maybe
begin your study of French - that beautiful, lyrical language of love
you've always dreamed of speaking? Have no fear; an experienced,
patient and wonderful language teacher awaits you, at no added cost!
The opportunity of mingling with the Brossacaise and French people
everywhere you go gives you an immediate chance to use what you have
learned. It surely was the case for me.
If this sounds attractive but you have doubts - you fear you are too
young, too wet behind the ears to survive a volunteer holiday or too
past the prime of life to be of use - don’t worry. Volunteer holidays
are specifically geared toward helping you support the project!
Countless others have done it and so can you!
Perhaps you are already in France on a Backpacking holiday and you need
a break from being constantly on the move; perhaps you want a place to
meet others from across the globe to share your life stories and
collaborate on a work project. Volunteering at La Giraudière is just
the place to head for.
Working on the La Giraudière Project would look great on your resume,
demonstrating your team skills and testifying to your ‘real world’
experience. Also, with proper application being made at their school,
many students can earn course credits and even have the nominal costs
of the program covered by their university!
Volunteering at La Giraudière provides a great opportunity to take time
out, to challenge yourself in areas not before explored, to contemplate
and to redefine your relationships, roles and career direction. Many
have testified that the experience of being a role model to younger
volunteers has reinvigorated their lives by clarifying their values and
starting up a new vision for their lives. Also, from here you can make
contacts, research French work opportunities and build a network that
may enable a total redirection of your vocation.
Whatever your present station in life you will not regret
joined the team at La Giraudiere. You will create memories to cherish
for a lifetime. I, for one, will return. I have already spoken to my
children about coming to experience a volunteer holiday for themselves.
I only had wished I done so myself at their age! And, since my return
to the States, I have referred several friends and acquaintances to La
Giraudière’s website! So don’t wait any longer - start planning YOUR
volunteer holiday today. You know you want to, because you wouldn't
still be reading this if the spirit of adventure wasn't calling you!
is an accredited receiving organisation for the Erasmus Plus
program a program operated by the European Commission under
its Life Long
Learning program. for further detail of what is planned
for 2019 for our Erasmus volunteers and how you could help
Project in France