September 2018, I went to Moldova on a European Voluntary Service out of curiosity. I went somewhere to which I would never have ventured, I worked in an international organization (glimpsing some of the realities of foreign aid) and I familiarised myself with a culture I wouldn’t have known of or grown fond of.
Even though I am familiar with culture shock and the way it influences your mindset -I lived in the US for a year-, I still have moments when I stop and reflect on how strange or how admirable the Welsh are. Here are a few examples of my most memorable culture shocks here in Cardiff.
My name is Hélène, I am originally from suburban Paris and I am twenty-four years old. After spending one year abroad as a teaching assistant in the USA, all I wanted to do was to pack my suitcase again and leave for new adventures.Read more >
This year the European Commission’s Erasmus programme turned 30. Since 1987 some 9 million people have had opportunity to take part in European-funded exchanges: 600,000 of them from the UK. To celebrate, members of the UNA Exchange team joined cross-sector colleagues and volunteers at the Senedd on 13th November 2017.
Each year UNA Exchange welcomes two new team members from overseas as part of the European Voluntary Service, which provides long-term volunteering abroad opportunities in all EU member states and many neighbouring countries. Sara Sportelli and Sandra Tiitson, from Italy and Estonia, respectively, joined UNA Exchange in September 2017 for an exciting 11 months with the team. Based in Cardiff, our outreach work will be taking them across Wales and further afield. We have invited Sara and Sandra to blog about their experiences and in the first instalment they tell us about how they are settling into life in the Welsh capital.