Throughout this semester in Pau, France, I have been spending every Thursday afternoon at a local middle school. I assist an English teacher in his courses with the level 5 students (13 and 14 year olds) and I’ve learned so much from this experience!

I initially was hesitant to volunteer abroad, as I worried it might be too exhausting to do on top of my courses at the local university. Nevertheless, I decided to try it out and I fell in love with the students! Every week is different at the school, and I’ve gotten to engage in so many different activities to help them practice their English. My personal favorite was a dream trip to Dubai– over the course of two weeks, I helped the students prepare a 4-day itinerary to Dubai in the UAE with no budget restraints. They planned the trip of a lifetime, full of waterparks, camel rides, and 5-star hotels! Upon the completion of the itinerary, my students delivered the presentation on the trip entirely in English. It was so amazing to watch their skills improve throughout the course of the project and develop a stronger relationship with them. 

Overall, volunteering abroad has been one of my most enriching experiences in France. I get a unique insight into French culture through working with teenagers, as they teach me just as much as I teach them! They energize me, and I look forward to seeing them every Thursday. When you study abroad, ask your program advisors what opportunities are available to you to integrate yourself into the local community and immerse yourself into the culture! I promise you won’t regret it!