So many of you reading this would probably be wondering why I haven’t posted in a good few months. The reason for this is because I have spent the last two and a half months working on a campsite with children, in the middle of France.
I decided during October 2016 that I didn’t want to waste the summer at home, partaking in the same activities as I usually would. I wanted to experience something completely different, something that I probably wouldn’t have the opportunity to do again. I searched online for different options and found various summer jobs for students abroad. The position that stood out for me was the role of an Activity Courier because of the type of activities I would be running. I applied for the job online and was surprised by how easy the application process was. I filled in an application form online, progressed further to have a Skype interview, applied for a DBS check and before I knew it, I was on the Isle of Wight training.
I completed a weeks training course on the Isle of Wight, learning everything from child safety through to first aid. Although the early starts were difficult, I met some amazing people and had so much fun – taking part in chocolate parties, body zorbing, raft building and more. Would I have done this at home? I doubt it very much.
After my training week, I left the Isle of Wight to travel to Les Alicourts Resort in France. This trip was possibly the longest, most tiresome journey I have ever been on. Two ferries, a bus, 2 metro’s, 2 trains and a taxi later and we arrived at the campsite. Typically when we arrived, it was raining, which naturally made me feel rather homesick. Days passed, the weather cleared up and I gradually got the swing of things. Running sessions took my mind off being homesick and the children’s personality and energy helped me power through. It was never going to be easy, after all, I was working in a foreign country with complete strangers for two and a half months.
I would run daily sessions for children aged between 0-18 years old, with the addition of family activities. My favourite activities were family sessions because I had the opportunity to build a rapport with the parents. I was able to discover stories and life experiences from cultured holidaymakers, with the addition of advice from professionals who work in the sector that I’d like to work in. I also thoroughly enjoyed witnessing parents and children bond together through fun and interactive activities. It became apparent to me that the team and I were helping to create holiday memories, that families would cherish in the future.
I ran some sessions that were a complete shambles, I ran sessions that had me laughing in stitches for a good half hour and I ran sessions that were so boring that it was like watching paint dry. I guess it was all part of the experience and I knew I would never have been a world-class instructor, as it was my first season. If you are considering applying for this role next summer, don’t be put off by nerves and disbelief in your ability because everyone has to start somewhere.
It was a fulfilling experience that I would recommend to everyone. I had the opportunity to meet some lovely families and children throughout my time on site and I also managed to travel around parts of France on my days off. It was never the easiest, nor the cheapest day off, as the site was so isolated that it worked out quite costly for me to get around. However, it was worth it when I was able to see Château’s that were out of this world and pretty, little French quaint towns.
I would highly recommend this to a student looking for a summer job and for anyone looking to experience something new but challenging. Don’t get me wrong, It’s not easy work, especially if it’s a sweltering day or a child misbehaves but the rewards are outstanding. Now I’m sure that sounds appealing to you!
If you are reading this and you’d like to know more information regarding seasonal work, please feel free to comment on this post or contact me via email and I’ll try my best to respond accordingly.