Muay, Thai volunteer with French Civic Service 2018-2019

My name is Muay or Gail. I’m 19 years old. I was a volunteer for 10 months in Service Civique program, which is supported by the French government. The organization that I worked with is Solidarite Jeunesses in their delegation called REV in the south of France, about half an hour from Nimes. 

It was my first time going to Europe for a long time. In the beginning, I was worried about a lot of things. For example, new culture, people, language. But finally, I decided to go because I want to grow up and discover a lot of new things and experience.

About the work, there were 3 types of work.

  • Local animation, Local animation is the actions or activities that we did with local people because in the project we try to link, communicate and live with local people. For example, we did English classes for kids and adults in the village. We organized many events like international dinner, the aims of this event are taking with villagers, sharing our culture and to present our project to the villagers. We also join the local activity for example, I join the French local theatre. And we have a second-hand shop, the place where volunteers can meet and talk with villagers.
  • Chantier (the French word for working place), we planted a lot of trees to help farmer solve the problem of flamingo eating the rice. We also checked the hiking spot, if the way is still ok or the sign is not broken. And gardening as well.
  • Training, I joined 3 training. 2 with SJ about diversity, racism and discrimination and 1 with the red cross. All these trainings teach me a lot and change the way I see things and people.  

In the volunteer house, we live with volunteers from many countries. For me, in the beginning, it was very hard to adapt and understand the culture because it was so different from my culture. It took time to learn but from this difficulty, I had learned how to open mind and accept something different.

From these 10 months, I had learned a lot of things and discover a lot of new things, I experience happy moments, I meet nice people, Also I face difficult situations and having difficulty with some people. So I grow up a lot, my world becomes bigger and diverse. This volunteering was a big chance and big change too. It was a hard year, happy year, and changing year to become a better person and growing up.