Alexandra Vepierre: My first week at Pestalozzi
Introducing Alexandra Vépierre! Alexandra is a French volunteer, who completed a Bachelor degree in literature at the Sorbonne Nouvelle University. Before passing a competitive entrance examination to journalism school next year, she is undertaking a three month internship at Pestalozzi International Village Trust to help her . Let’s see how her first week with the Pestalozzi Team was…
This time, it was for good. I left France to live in England for 3 months! I was looking forward to discovering England and English people, the most polite people I have ever met, for whom everything is "great”, "brilliant” and "lovely”.
Only one night after my arrival in England, I had to begin my internship at Pestalozzi. I was really excited because I always wanted to work in a charity, and this one seemed to be what I was looking for. However, I was nervous too – it’s the first time I have left France for several months and I knew that my English language wasn’t very good. When I arrived at Pestalozzi, the first thing I noticed was the amazing landscape around us, with fields and woodland as far as my eyes could see. But I was here to work and not for admiring the spectacular view.
I met Abi, who is the Head of the Fundraising and Marketing Team, and she gave me a tour of the HUGE Pestalozzi Village. Unfortunately, the students were at school so I couldn’t meet them, but it was only a matter of time. After that, I met all the staff members, who were really nice and friendly. I was very much focussed when they were talking to me because I wanted to understand everything, but it was complicated for me to answer, so I think I only said "yes” and "ok” during the whole of my first day! After all these encounters and explanations about the Pestalozzi organisation, it was already the end of the day and I took the bus back to Hastings to my host family.
During the following days, I primary worked on the alumni data base and I am sure I became a professional of that! I also met Ed, who is the Head of Education, and I offered to create a Pestalozzi newspaper, where students are the journalists, and to run a dance workshop. He enjoyed these ideas and he also asked me to update videos on the website. I have a lot of interesting work to do for the following months but now I have to reflect about a way to organise all of that!
My first contact with the students was through the internet, when I sent them an email to talk about new activities. I was really surprised by their friendly attitude and I wanted more than ever to meet them! The first meeting was on Friday night, during the Sedlescombe karate club fundraising Barn Dance held at the village. I went to the girl’s accommodation, and I discovered a cheerful confusion, where young people from all around the world were playing the guitar, playing pool, dancing and laughing. It was a really pleasant atmosphere.
After one week in Pestalozzi, I could say that I am really happy to work with caring people, who never let someone down if they have a problem. Moreover, the working environment with the singing of the birds is really peaceful and is definitively a change from my last job in Paris. With the squirrels, rabbits, woodland and nice people, I feel like the princess in a Walt Disney cartoon! The coming weeks will be full and interesting, and I know that I will acquire new skills and knowledge. I am looking forward to discovering everything Pestalozzi can offer!