Disappointing Past Review

By (University of Birmingham) - abroad from 07/30/2018 to 08/02/2018 with

La Giraudiere: Internship Abroad in France

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Nothing

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I’m afraid I was quite disappointed with what La Giraudière had to offer in terms of a volunteer placement. The organisation of the programme was non-existent. The jobs are just made up on the spot and what you’ve requested to work on or your skills are not taken into consideration. The renovation seems like it’s come to a complete halt, there isn’t really anything for the volunteers and interns to do except general maintenance and up keep of the property e.g. cleaning bathrooms, answering emails, grocery shopping and a bit of gardening. You’d expect there to be some kind of project plan with the renovation and what everyone can help with, but there’s nothing at all. In fact, the ‘old house’ that’s being renovated is currently just being used as storage for the tools and a load of bric-a-brac that the owner seems to have picked up at a flea market. It’s misleading that this is a cultural exchange as we spoke English the whole time and there was only one French lesson a week. I could have been in any country in the rural countryside, you wouldn’t even know you’re in France except for the beautiful surroundings. I think the cost is also not very fair, it works out around €200+ a week but you end up working 3 days a week from 9am - 5pm. I think there are some big profits being made from volunteers/interns here. Not what you’d expect. A personal one for me, I asked if we were able to lock the gites we were staying in (especially as I was a single female traveller and was alone in my three bedroom gite) and was met with ‘Why? We’ve never locked them’ and yet when the owner went out for the evening, he decided to lock his gite. I don’t believe in double standards and this made my decision to leave early much easier. Also a word of warning, you’re very isolated at this rural house with minimal transport links to anywhere else. I decided to leave after 3 days instead of the three weeks I had planned, and I wasn’t the only one that left early...

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No

Awful experience

Finances

* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

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  • Host Family
  • Other
* Who did you take classes with?

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  • Other

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Nothing
* What could be improved?
  • Everything
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? An honest review as I wouldn’t have gone