7am: I prise myself out of bed and get ready for work. It’s not light yet and it’s pretty cold. I’m doing an internship specialising in EU communication at the Centre Régional Information Jeunesse Champagne-Ardenne (Regional Youth Info Centre) in Reims, France – and today we’re almost at the end of our 2 week long campaign travelling to 28 high schools in the region.
Our aim: to discuss international mobility, talking primarily about Erasmus+ programmes. Plan of attack: presentations to 4 classes in a school in the outer suburbs of Reims.
Raphael, my boss, comes to pick me up at 7:30, and we’re greeted with a nice sunrise on our way to pick up the rest of the team (my phone doesn't do it justice).
Today we’ve recruited Victoria, an Irish girl doing the French voluntary programme Service Civique and Sarah, a German Erasmus student, to share their experiences with the classes. We’re met by the Principal and we’re taken to the staff room, where we grab a quick coffee. A teacher then takes us to the multi-purpose room and we set up.
8-12pm: Our little group presents the different ways available to young people to live abroad – 1 class at a time – making sure to clearly explain the process and add in heaps of jokes and anecdotes. We also say a couple of sentences in our language (nobody ever guesses what language it is when Victoria’s speaking Gaelic!)
4 hours later and we’re very ready for lunch and feeling pretty relieved that most of the kids listened and seemed interested. One teacher comes up to me and says she did a school exchange to Durham when she was 13, and one shy girl whispers to me that she’d love to go to Australia!
We go our separate ways for lunch (GOD BLESS THE FRENCH AND THEIR 2-HOUR LUNCH BREAK) – Victoria and I head back to her house to make pasta. Such yum.
2pm: back to the office. It’s NEVER boring and regardless of whether we have to do stats (probably the most boring thing ever) or more fun things (like making new stuff, talking to young people who come in asking questions), we always have a good laugh. Daily occurrences involve:
Observing/imitating the French national sport of going on strike
Dancing (this being Anna, a Czech on European Voluntary Service)
Word pronunciation competitions – this one proving to be v. difficult
6pm: It's home time, yay! Tonight is Beaujolais Nouveau – a French tradition of tasting the year’s wine vintage (so it’s just been bottled and hasn’t matured and is supposed to taste disgusting…). Me, Anna and Victoria go round to a French friend’s house and we spend the evening chatting, laughing and judging each wine on how bad it is while snacking on cheese and salami.
This one’s name caused plenty of laughs
Midnight passes and we realise that we have to work in the morning. So reluctantly making our way to the door we yell out a pretty enthusiastic “à demain” across the courtyard and (slowly…) make our way home.
Bring on Friday.