by Tania Russell-Owen | 31st Aug 2018
At the end of last month we had to say a sad ‘au revoir’ to our EVS volunteer Manon De Lalande after 11 months working with us here at ProMo-Cymru. We chatted to Manon before she left about all the things she’s done here in Wales and what’s next for her.
Manon, 23, comes from Brittany in the North-West of France. Before joining the ProMo-Cymru team in Cardiff through the European Voluntary Service she completed a degree in Communications back home.
Why did you choose Wales?
I chose Wales because I wanted to improve my English, so when I was applying for EVS projects I was only looking in the UK and Ireland. ProMo-Cymru fitted well with my studies and it was a great opportunity for me to practice and learn about communications.
What did you do at ProMo-Cymru?
It was very varied and I got to take part in various activities: communication campaigns; events; creating multimedia projects; producing and editing videos; promotion etc.
My skills changed and improved. I learned so many things during the 11 months. I enjoyed meeting new people and spending time with these new friends, sharing our different cultures was amazing.
What was the biggest challenge?
Speaking English of course! I struggled to find the vocabulary I needed to build the sentence I had in my mind. I felt shy to speak in another language and became withdrawn and wasn’t really myself. I needed time to get confident but this is all a part of this experience. I can now say that I met that challenge successfully.
Did you learn a lot during your time here?
I learnt to adapt to new situations, with new people, finding solutions to problems on my own, and being more independent and stronger than I ever thought I could be. Thanks to my housemates, I also got to travel quite a lot which was something I didn’t expect, and it has increased my taste for travelling.
Professionally I had lots of new experiences, learnt about new laws and was able to practice more on the computer and in the field. I will be proud to put these things on my CV.
What do you think of Wales?
I love it. Living in Wales was really nice and I’ll be doing it again if I get the opportunity. Cardiff is a nice city, it’s small but at the same time there are lots things to do. People are so kind and friendly, you feel welcomed and accepted very quickly. It’s a lovely country, with wonderful landscapes and I’m so glad I got to discover it thanks to my EVS experience. I will really miss the kindness of the Welsh people when I go back to France.
What are your thoughts about ProMo-Cymru and your co-workers?
I think ProMo-Cymru is a really good organisation, with an amazing team of staff. I felt like a part of the team and everyone tries to help each other. I felt everyone was really supportive and caring.
Are you glad took part in the EVS scheme?
I don’t regret it at all; it has been the best year of my life so far. If I had to do it again, I wouldn’t change a thing. It was a really amazing experience, an enriching one that I will never forget.
In September Manon is starting her two-year Political Communication Masters Degree in Paris. We wish her all the best in her future and hope that our paths will cross again someday.
Our new EVS volunteer Daniele Mele from Italy will be starting with us soon. We look forward to welcoming him to ProMo-Cymru and hope that his time here will be just as positive as Manon’s was.