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I decided to be apart of the Erasmus+ Programme as it offered me the opportunity to enhance my skills and learn new skills alongside. I have now decided to pack in my Finance career (which drain the blood in me daily) to now teaching a more rewarding career. It has benefited me immensely as I got to learn about the Spanish culture, learn to be more independent in a country I had never been to before. I have also made some great connections and found my placement extremely rewarding. I have gained major confidence and have changed the way I view my life now. I was stuck in this rat race working in Finance and as London is known for the place to find work I feel Spain has major opportunities, it was amazing meeting expats living in Spain. I also loved teaching the younger children, it was so rewarding. This programme also allowed me to learn Spanish too, which helped whilst living there! I would definitely recommend this experience to young people, the advice I would give is that this is a programme that is only for 3 months but you would come back wishing it was for a whole year at least. You learn so much around you and about yourself. It will give you a major confidence boost and the best thing is that your not alone there is tonnes of support! A note for young people, if you are worried about your future career this opportunity will only add to your skill set and set you apart! I no longer find staying in the UK the only way to have a successful career, there are endless opportunities worldwide and this was the biggest I learnt from this experience. The organisation Twiin has been amazing from the days of candidate selections till the very end, a big thank you to Darsh and Sally in particular who worked with us directly and made sure we had a smooth experience. My future plans are to teach around Europe and not sit in an office all day from 9-5pm , currently looking at offers.
Tia Foster Review Erasmus+ Seville
After my decision to take a formal break from university, I wasn’t sure how to spend my time in a productive manner. While searching for internships online, I discovered Twin’s Erasmus+ website page and immediately thought it would be an amazing opportunity to improve my teaching skills, advance my level in Spanish and to have a new cultural experience. Before the internship, I completed a five-day teaching course at Twin’s training centre in Greenwich to prepare us for our placements. We met the other interns during this week, and had the chance to get to know the people we’d be spending the next three months with. During the course we learnt about the different elements of English grammar (which was super useful to learn about) and also enjoyed discussing activity ideas that we could do with our students. Whilst abroad, I spent 20 hours per week working at an English language school. I spent the first two weeks observing different classes to get used to the structure of the school. Following this, I was assigned a mentor and given my own timetable of classes, where I would be a “T2” or teaching assistant. One of the things I really liked about my placement was that I was given many responsibilities, which allowed me to develop my own teaching style. The teaching staff offered their support and advice but allowed us to plan and lead our own regular small classes. This helped me to develop my confidence in leading classes but also was a lot of fun and I got to know my students really well. In addition to my placement, I also had one Spanish lesson per week, as part of the programme. This really helped me to improve my Spanish vocabulary, which I put to use practising with local people in shops, restaurants and even having conversations with my Uber drivers. Seville has many “intercambios”, which are social nights where people can come to meet each other and to practise speaking various languages. My advice to anyone doing an internship in Spain would be to take advantage of every chance to practice their Spanish and to not be afraid to make mistakes. The Twin Erasmus+ programme has benefitted me in terms of giving me invaluable teaching practice, increasing my confidence in the classroom and a teaching qualification that will allow me to teach English whilst travelling all over the world. As someone who has always enjoyed teaching at various levels, I am excited by the opportunities that having this experience will bring. I would definitely recommend the programme to others, and I would urge them to make use of the internship, to practice speaking Spanish and to explore Spain. Seville is really well located in the south of Spain and there are plenty of beautiful nearby cities and beaches to travel to, including Málaga and Cádiz.
I decided to do the Erasmus programme as I seen it as a new opportunity to expand my personal and professional experiences as well as have the pleasure of learning about new cultures. I feel the programme has benefited me greatly as it has helped towards making my CV more attractive to potential employers and it has helped me gain more confidence in making friends from different backgrounds as language barriers can be challenging. I would definitely recommend the programme to others as I think it's an experience they would look back on and be proud of themselves living abroad and their workplace achievements. One bit of advice I would give is do as much as you can while you are there.
My time in South Africa and on this project was truly unforgettable; the project, accommodation and the hospitality and care I received was excellent, and beyond my expectations. The project gives real insight in to township life and the traditions and challenges within it; and a chance to make some small but significant changes if you give the project your all. The accommodation is extremely safe, ideally located and again, exceeded my expectation. The in-country support, Patricia (aka Superwoman) goes above and beyond to ensure that the volunteers are safe, happy and gaining to most from their experience in South Africa. Safe to say, I will be returning!
I absolutely loved Nepal and my experience at the Monastery was also a very amazing experience. I enjoyed the fact that we were able to stay at the Monastery and take our meals with the kids and spend time with them outside of the class time. It was definitely a worthwhile experience. We were able to have breakfast with the monks of we chose to and we than taught 3 separate classes in the morning and afternoon. I always ate lunch with the kids. I usually went for a walk every morning to the Buddahstuppa and was back for the 8:00 am class. Evenings were free to do what you wanted as were the weekends. I saw much of Nepal, a wonderful country and spent 11 days in the Himalayas, also highly recommended. Twin Work and Volunteer was also wonderful, which is why I used their services again on my volunteer project in Ecuador. Everyone has always been extremely helpful from the time of booking to the organizations they pair with for the projects.
Shan Richards from the UK
I really enjoyed my stay on the Living with Lions programme. I met some very interesting people and saw animals I have waited all my life to see up close. I have some wonderful photos and memories.
Zoe Duncan from the UK
The trip was everything I dreamed of and more! It was without a doubt the best experience I have ever had and would have happily stayed for longer. The people I met were all extremely lovely and the staff and rangers could not have been more friendly and welcoming. The reserve itself was wonderful and the facilities were fantastic - I could not have asked for anything better. I could not recommend this trip or TWIN Work and Volunteer enough - thank you so much for all your help and support, and for giving me the opportunity to have an experience of a lifetime!
Andrew Hughes from the UK
In short I loved my experience with the language exchange programme. The family with whom I stayed were incredibly accommodating in all regards. They were extremely kind and welcoming and I have noticed a huge improvement in my capabilities in French. It is an experience I will never forget and one which I intend to recommend to others. The school helped to refine certain skills that had been waning on my part and the teachers ensured classes were always engaging and fun. The opportunity to meet so many people from so many different backgrounds was incredible. Just to add, thank you once again for ensuring that my trip went effortlessly in terms of organisation and I hope to repeat a similar experience in the future!
James Ingham from the UK
Well first and foremost, this experience has been the best thing I have done for ages. It has allowed me to experience a different culture, given me the opportunity to improve my Spanish and to see a different view on family life. This family in particular are incredibly warm and treat me as part of the family. I think its in the Spanish nature to have your relatives and friends very close by. They allow me to treat their home as my home (which was what i was expecting in the first place) so there is no awkwardness or misunderstandings which is fantastic for me. As for the kids, they have surpassed my expectations. Initially, I was expecting the kids to be very difficult to handle. I was placed with 2 boys and a girl and i was expecting a tough challenge to making the boys focus on their homework. I am delighted to say that not only do they respect and listen to me during homework times but they also are well mannered and we get on really well. In fact, so much so that we have become good friends and have a good laugh now and again. The house is situated very close to Madrid so for daily commute, its great for me. I have been in contact with a couple of fellow language assistants within the area however, there doesn't seem to be a great deal of communication afterwards. The local coordinators try and get the communication flowing by encouraging people to post an introduction on a Facebook page. From my experience, I have made friends more from language schools and going out rather than using this method with language assistants, which is a little bit disappointing. Apart from that, I am very happy with the program. It has been a highlight of my life without question.
Overall, I had a very enjoyable stay in France. I can have no complaints with how my trip was arranged, and was able to have my say if I had any queries. As soon as I’d handed over my details, my host family and accommodation was arranged in no time at all. I couldn’t have asked for a nicer host family to have stayed with. They immediately welcomed me and made me feel at home. They were keen to make sure they cooked meals that I liked and that I was comfortable in my room. Besides this, they were eager to help me with things such as public transport and making sure I could find my way around the city. The city itself was consistently exciting and full of life. I had high expectations of the place but they were vastly exceeded. There was always something new to see and I was never bored. I enjoyed nothing more than going down a different street to see where it lead, and was surprised to see that although Montpellier is considered a “small city” there was always something new to discover. My favourite part was the oldest part of the city which still had all its original architecture, where you could wander through the old winding streets. Besides this, there were countless things to do such as visiting the aquarium, galleries and the zoo, just to name a few. The tram system made it so much easier to gain the most from the city, as you could travel almost anywhere this way. I would say that Montpellier is a city that everyone must visit during their lifetime and there is no better place to learn French. I greatly value the time I spent there and would love to go again!
This internship was a great experience which unfortunately did not last long enough to all the more perfect my English. Nonetheless, I could seize the opportunity to improve my English level by learning some phrases and discover in detail the British culture, which I like. Moreover, Twin has done a great job for providing me a company and for having treated my record with care. My internship was alright for the whole part and I could get along with my colleagues. Indeed, I could discover the English corporate culture.
Leonardo da Vinci - 10 weeks, Barcelona
Would you recommend the Leonardo Programme to other people? Yes, definitely. Because for me the programme was not just about gaining work experience, it is also a chance to learn about leaving away/abroad, learning about other cultures and also learning a bit more about yourself as a person. What was the best thing you experienced while on the programme? The different culture and habits. How has your experience changed your view of the world? Well it has improved, I learned they can be a lot of similarities between different cultures even if they are not exactly from the same continent, and yet just because some countries belong to the same continent it doesn't necessarily mean that they would have more similarities in cultures. How has your experience enriched your professional career? This experience has definitely given me the confidence to apply for the types of jobs that I want. How has this experience helped you to develop and grow as a person? Throughout the programme I have learned that I am capable to comfortably travel on my own and certainly live and work abroad as I can quickly settle in with the different life style and make use of what is available there for me.
I would recommend the Leonardo Programme to anyone who would like to experience living and working abroad, because through the programme I was able to stretch myself and I learned a lot of useful work and life skills. My best experiences included experiencing life in France and making friends from several different countries. Thanks to this experience, I now understand different cultures better and I have learned more about the politics, culture and history of different countries. My internship has enriched my professional career to a large extent, as although I do not wish to pursue a career in the hotel industry, I have learned many valuable skills from this type of work experience. I think that the skills I learned will be useful for any job that I have in the future. Overall, I feel more confident as a person and in a working environment. It has given me the motivation to travel more and to live abroad again.
I would definitely recommend this programme as it gives the opportunity to immerse yourself in the language and culture of the country. Being able to live and work with people who speak the language was a very good way to improve my level and become more confident because I lived real situations and saw language in context. There were many good things while I stayed in Bordeaux but the fact that I spent a really good time with the locals (including my host family) was one of the best things. Now I have some French friends with whom I´ll keep in touch. This programme has shown me that stereotypes are not always right and it is always good to travel with an open mind. This experience has increased my motivation to continue to improve my language skills in French for both personal and professional purposes. If possible, I will look for a job where I can use this language. It has been a really enriching experience in all senses of the word and I am very grateful for it. Thank you to all the team at Twin Group for providing me with the opportunity.
Gloria, from Germany
I love working at my placement company, they really make me feel as part of the team. Everybody is very nice and I learn so much! In the first week I had a lot of training which was extremely beneficial and helped me to understand what the company does how everything works etc. Now they are starting more and more to give me tasks which are helping me to get a better understanding of how the business works etc. I must say I dont feel like a intern at all as they really treat me as one of their own. Digby is a better supervisor then anybody could ask for, he is there for me all the time, helps me when ever I need help and trys to make my time in England as beneficial for me as possible. I could not imagine any better place for my internship!
Sally R, From the UK
I have just returned from 4 weeks volunteering work on the game reserve in South Africa. It was the most amazing experience! After booking the trip, James and Patricia ensured that I was 100% prepared – they were at the end of the phone or email for me consistently – even when I rang on a Sunday evening in a panic because my flight had been delayed and this meant that my connection couldn’t take place and I wouldn’t be at the airport for my transfer. James rang the project organiser in South Africa for me and the project manager sorted everything so that I wouldn’t be stranded at the airport! James then rang me to check that I was ok once I had arrived in South Afrcia ! Thank you Twin for having a 24 hour help line and thank you so much James for looking after me so well! I absolutely loved every minute at the reserve!! It is a beautiful place. Every single person was so friendly - I felt as if I had moved into a little family community, I was collected from the airport by Jeff who greeted me with a huge smile and introduced me to the other volunteers before driving us to the reserve. Faith and Sipho really made me feel at home and went out of their way to ensure that all of the volunteers were enjoying their stay! ‘Mama’ prepared the most wonderful food, including freshly made bread and I can honestly say I was extremely well fed and the food was very tasty! The accommodation (Kubs 1/4s) was very clean and comfortable and the experience of being woken by monkeys scampering across the roof was simply awesome. All of your rangers were great – friendly, informative and had a real passion for their job. They taught me so much about the animals and land and animal conservation during my stay! The work, which was mainly based in the bush, was great fun and very rewarding too. I can honestly say that there wasn't a job that I didn't enjoy doing! Plus, because I was out and about in the reserve so often, I was able to spend lots of time observing animals in their natural environment for extended periods of time – in many instances getting up close and personal to them – which is something most people only dream about! I have to say I had an absolutely fabulous experience, have so many good memories and I hope to return one day – like so many of the past volunteers do!!! Thank you to everyone at Twin, particularly James and Patricia, and the reserve for providing such a truly wonderful experience. If you need me to tell someone about my experiences, I will gladly do it.
Rory & Alex, from the UK
When me and Alex said good bye to our parents at the airport I was very nervous, I had never traveled without them (or on a school trip) before. It did help with all the leaflets and information we had been given before hand because I knew where we were going and what to expect. The goal was Chit Lom station, and once there I viewed the rest of the trip (minus the return journey) as plain sailing! I really enjoyed my time in Bangkok, but then it was over quickly and we were on the bus to Ban Ta Klang (which was more luxurious than I was expecting). Oucia (I don't know if his name is spelt correctly) was great fun and very helpful whilst we were there, on the way he took Alex and me to a market to pick up some potatoes for the elephants. This unexpected attraction was a great way to start the experience as it opened our eyes to the difference between Surin and Bangkok. Our welcome was warm when we got to the village and Nikkei (the volunteer coordinated chord us to our rooms in the shared house. I was very surprised to find electricity there (with U.S. plug sockets) and also by the mosquito nets (which were in excellent condition) and a mattress with freshly cleaned sheets (these are replaced weekly). The work we did there was hard (mostly because of the heat) but it was nothing less of what I was expecting and did far from detract from the experience, but made it more rewarding. There were some close encounters with a black scorpion (on my ankle) but Oucia dealt with it easily enough, and no sting was in sight. The elephants on the project were wonderful and washing them in the river was one of the highlights. It is amazing how used you get to seeing them just being around the place and walking alongside you (I sometimes think I see one walking through the trees back home, despite it being whips of memory implanted onto life back home, the impressions are very strong). I will remember everything for ages to come, and I would love to go back again. The elephants are an obvious reason, but also because of the mahouts that I met. Despite the language barrier, we grew to know each other and I would call many of them friends. Whilst there I saw many things, a few of which weren't that pleasant. I did know in advance that I wasn't signing up to go to a sanctuary and that welfare conditions were not that great. But very little can prepare you for the actual experience. The elephants on the project were treated extremely well (a few of them did still do regular repetitive movements) but you could tell very easily the incredible difference between the projects elephants and the other ones. I think this highlighted the importance of the work I did and the significance of just going there. I understand the issues with working with elephants, and the strain put on the relationship between mahout and elephant due to the deforestation. It is because of this that I feel I can appreciate the problems being experienced in Thailand. The situation is not simple and it is not just the mahouts fault (I do not see them as the evil villains in the situation), it is so complex that I feel you have to go there and experience it to understand the whole picture. I would say that because of going I have changed, and for the better (I think). Going to Thailand was a far greater and rewarding experience than the other project I dad (conservation in Honduras) and the personal contact and experience with the elephants and mahouts is one I will treasure for many years. Overall I would rate it as one of the best things I have ever done, and I am grateful for the privilege of going.
Omar Fletcher, from the UK
I had a great time during my time in Cyprus! The work was challeneging, yet fun, and the people were amazing. Most of all what I enjoyed was the opportunity to go to another country and experience the rich culture that they have. I loved the food, the history and the language and by the end of the internship I was listening to Greek music and communicating with the locals in their native tounge! It's a truly immersive experience and a great opportunity if you want a change of scenery and experience working life abroad. It was definitely a worthwhile undertaking.
Laura Guss-Tarazona, from the UK
I really enjoyed my time in Montpellier! I had an absolutely wonderful host family who made me feel really welcome and at home. They helped me with any problems and sorted out anything they could for me. I did my language course for the second month which I felt was a good decision because I had time to practice my french before starting there. The school itself was in a great location, really modern and with beautiful class rooms. They organised group activities and day trips which were really interesting. I liked how there were two different teachers which we did different things with and that we had our afternoons free too. The city is beautiful and the perfect size and I had a brilliant stay!
Emily Chicken, from the UK
I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent in Knysna on July. Everything ran really smoothly which allowed me to enjoy the trip as much as possible (which didn't prove to be hard!) Working with the children at the township was a fantastic experience and seeing small improvements in their English skills during the time I was there was extremely encouraging. The host organisation was great and working with them allowed me to experience first hand the difficulties those living in townships face and enabled me to witness the huge difference they are making to so many peoples lives daily. My only regret of the trip was that I didn't stay longer!
Izzy Bolt from the UK
Volunteering in Nepal was a truly amazing experience! Although I was slightly worried at first and not entirely sure where I would be and what exactly I would be doing, it all fell into place once I arrived. I was taken to a volunteer house in Kathmandu, where all the new volunteers arrive. The family who run the project are such wonderful people and were really warm and welcoming. They made me feel so at home and it was always nice to go to the volunteer house to see them. I really enjoyed orientation with them, I got to see sights like the monkey temple, the stupa and Durbar Square. For my placement, I stayed at Gonkyap Orphanage, run by a lovely family who are passionate about social work and lifting children out of poverty. The orphanage was home to ten children and the family. The conditions included cold showers, a squat toilet, and a shared bedroom. There is power for about 4 hours a day so we ate by candle light quite a lot of the time. I was given three meals a day, and they always cooked really great traditional Nepali dal bhat! Bed time was between 8/9 pm. It's about a ten minute walk to an internet cafe where you can get free wifi from. I found the conditions very different from my home comforts, but I have to say I really enjoyed the lifestyle and immersing myself into the Nepali culture. Me and another volunteer looked after the children by helping them get ready for school, dropping them at school, picking them up from school and helping them with homework. The best part was coming up with activities for the kids to do on their holidays and in their free time. Bring plenty of pens, paper, sweeties, any sports equipment and bubbles! An idea me and another volunteer came up with that we never got round to was to have a sports day for the children. Working at the orphanage means you get time in the day to yourself to explore, and you can go back to the volunteer house if you want to and get a taxi back to the orphanage which will cost you about 500 rupees. I also worked at Khawalu Monastery, which was very close to the orphanage. I worked here for less time but enough time to get a taste of what life was like there. My job was to teach English to the monks. I found that there was more free time here as the lessons only went on from 9 in the morning till around 1 in the afternoon. The monastery has shared bedrooms, a toilet, a cold shower, and you can get wifi if you sit outside the office. The monks are all very friendly, an they all love chocolate! Nepal is an amazing country to travel to, and there was plenty of surprises along the way. The people are so friendly, I never felt unsafe... Apart from when crossing the road. I would recommend visiting Pokhara, The Last Resort (if you fancy bungee jumping!) and Chitawan while you are there. Holi festival in March was also a highlight of the trip! I would highly recommend this placement especially because you will be staying in the safe hand of the Quest family. It will change your life forever, for the better! I would love to travel there again in the future.
Would you recommend the Leonardo Programme to other people? Why? I would recommend the programme to other people whoa re interested in the industry which Leonardo provides for. Such as tourism in my case. And it is a great way to see an experience a new city while learning a new language. - What was the best thing you experienced while on the programme? I had the chances to see other parts of Andalucia that I would otherwise no have been able too. I made new friends through my work and had a great time trying to speak Spanish! - How has your experience changed your view of the world? The experience has given me more confidence intraveing as I discovered I can learn the basics of a language much quicker than I thought. I have also learned first hand the advantage of knowing another language. It is great being able to communicate with people you would otherwise not be able to. - How has your experience enriched your professional career? The experience has enriched my career by giving me another experience to reflect on. I learned how to make many professional decisions in a foreign environment and do it with confidence. This will help me a lot in a professional environment. - How has this experience helped you to develop and grow as a person? Having the confidence now to work in a different and completely new environment is a massive progression for anyone, and this programme provided that. And living in a new culture also the changed the way I live in my home country, in a very positive way.
The Leonardo Programme offers a great experience in many respects including the opportunity to live in a different culture, experience a different way of life, learn a new language & become more independent than ever. Every day is different, you will work in a way which you have never worked before, learning & improving everyday. The people you meet, places you visit are all what make the experience! You start to understand how other people live, view the world how other people view it, change yourself as a person to become more integrated to that way of life, it is a change that affects your perspective on life as a whole! During the time in Seville I have learnt so much, not only in the way I work but the way I live. Everything that has changed about myself over this period is something I feel that will have a huge impact on my working career in only the best possible way. You have to make the most of your time & appreciate all that is offered to you!
I was part of the group that Twin Work and Volunteer sent to Barcelona in May 2014 on the Leonardo Di Vinci programme. The programme provided me with a fantastic opportunity to live and work in Spain in order to gain fantastic work experience and improve my Spanish which is something I have wanted to do for a number of years but during an economical crisis where more than 25% of people in Spain are without work, I may never have had the opportunity to do so without the program. Twin organised everything for me; flights, accommodation and I was even provided with free inner city transport for the duration of the programme. During the first two weeks of the program we attended a language school here in Barcelona and the program provided us with 20 hour of language lessons. We were given a small test and put into classes depending on our language level, as someone who already spoke pretty good Spanish, the lessons were extremely helpful and I learned a lot with my 20 hours of lessons. We also had a lot of free time in the first two weeks to travel and explore the city and discover what an amazing place Barcelona really is. We were provided with recommendations for restaurants, bars and also places nearby that are worth visiting such as Montserrat which is a monastery in the mountains just outside of the city which is a really amazing place to visit. Twin arranged for me to do my internship at the Grand Hotel Central which is a 5* hotel in the centre of Barcelona, my Spanish has improved so much working there and I received a job offer at the end of it! Now I am living in Barcelona, speaking Spanish, working on the open air rooftop bar of a 5* hotel, 10 minutes from the beach and it’s 30 degrees every day. Sure beats living in Nottingham, and I owe it all to Twin Work and Volunteer and the Leonardo Di Vinci program!
Joanne Shaw from the UK
In 2009 I was a complete party animal and believed that was my identity. I believed that if I calmed down I would have no life and so when I went to volunteer I had to face facts and learn how to be me without my armour. I found out I was scared. Scared of not knowing myself, Scared of change, Scared of losing everyone, Scared of life. The joys I found in Nepal in the months following my realization will stay with me forever. With the help of amazing friends over there I learned to be comfortable on my own. I learned to laugh at myself. I learned to communicate more and I learned so much from everyone I volunteered with and for. I felt and still do feel so grateful to have met so many amazing people. Never think you have stopped growing because throughout your life someone or a group of amazing people will enter your life at various points and change it forever and for the better. Be open. Be brave. Be strong. Be you, Go Volunteer!
Steven Probert from Norway
I'm having a great time in Africa. The food and people are great and accommodations are comfortable.
Reuben Oreffo from the UK
I have thoroughly enjoyed my placement in France. Not only have I been placed in an incredibly generous and warm family, but have gained experiences which will last a lifetime. I arrived in France and began learning from the get-go. This started with the language school. The lessons can be challenging from time to time, but the teachers are unfailingly enthusiastic and encouraging. I spent the lessons simply fixed on the goals of enjoying the language and acquiring enough for ordinary conversation (rather than having any serious professional goal) so the homework wasn't too welcome! Nevertheless, as long as you are placed in the right group for your French competency, you will find the classes both enjoyable and hugely beneficial. I took the standard language course for 4 weeks, and by the end of my time in Montpellier I will have been absorbing and exploring for 12 weeks. It may take a while to adjust to having entire lessons delivered solely in French, but you will become accustomed to spoken French (which is markedly different to that which is written). The language school is a few steps round the corner from the stunning Place de la Comédie and hence is only a stone's throw from many of the places you probably want to visit. I have shared most lunchtimes with those I met on the course, usually in the 18-25 age bracket with one or two older students who are studying French for their work. You will certainly make plenty of friends on the course and will find that most people in your class will be Anglophones. The nationalities I have found amongst the students here include English, Swiss, Brazilian, German, Australian, Libyan and Scottish (just to give a few) and all without exception speak English! Do not fret; teachers will refuse to speak English so you can still strive for immersion. The crucial thing is to continue with the French once you leave the classroom! As you tour the region and share meals with friends, keep them strictly en français! Montpellier is a lovely place to be. Not only is the city itself vibrant and full of opportunities with a beautiful appearance and a welcoming feel, but there are many surrounding areas to visit. Social life is easily established, especially if you involve yourself with the French-American Center which organises events between English and French speakers. There is freedom to organise trips to the beach, the cinema or even to nearby cities (for instance, I recently travelled to Nîmes with some friends from the course). Overall, Montpellier will not disappoint! This experience has been hugely enriching and I would encourage all those who are considering signing up to do so. I have learnt a huge amount, improving my French, becoming accustomed to looking after young children and building my general independence. I will be returning to France to further my experience, this time encountering another area and a new family which I can only hope to come to love as much as this one. It will be very painful to leave the four children who I have great affection for... even though they repeatedly woke me up by running and screaming about the house at 6 o’clock in the morning! Without a doubt, I have been very fortunate to be here, taking on new perspectives and growing as a person. If you are at all ambivalent, I urge you to put aside any qualms and go for it! You will not regret the time you spend here.
Emily Thompson from the USA
Montpellier was one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. I loved everything about it, from the history, to the crepe carts on every block, to the vibrant night life, and not to forget the gorgeous weather. Every day that I woke up in this beautiful city I felt empowered to explore and challenge myself to try new things. Second, Accent Francais was a wonderful school. The teachers were very insightful and enthusiastic and made me look forward to class each day. Most importantly, however, the school connected me to some of the best friends I have ever made. I never expected coming to France I would learn so much about so many different cultures from the people I met (Colombian, Austrian, Italian, Australian, British, Mexican, Brazilian, German... and many more). I have the fondest memories discovering the city with these amazing people and I still keep in touch with so many of them consistently. I am making plans to visit several of them this year which I couldn't be more thrilled about. I can honestly say that these are people that I will remain close friends with forever. Thirdly, I loved staying with Madame. Although it was certainly an adjustment, it was so helpful that Caroline only spoke French. I think speaking with her at length each dinner was what really led me to improve my french the most. She was an incredible cook and exposed me to so many foods that I had never tried before, but ended up loving. Her apartment was so centrally located and I absolutely loved being able to walk to almost everywhere I needed, and to be such a short distance from the Parc du Peyrou where I watched the sunsets most evenings.
Absolutely EVERYONE can learn really much about how much fun work can be at this company! Beate’s main tasks included event management, marketing and PR activities on Social Media, communicating with clients, writing press releases, administration tasks, make bookings for makeup courses, work with Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Exel.
I have learnt how to use new software such as Vectorworks and Google SketchUp, as well as useful vocabulary related to construction and architecture. Mireia’s main tasks included detailing both application and construction drawings, carrying out research of materials, details or solutions for a specific project, undertaking site surveys when needed to ensure the correspondence between drawings and reality and also the validity of the proposed solution.
I really recommend this company to others, Great experience, thank you. Tomas’s tasks included customer service, general office administration, management of online accounts, working on long-term project focused on risk analysis of the customer portfolio and marketing.
I am very happy about my internship at Roli Solicitors and my host family. I learned at lot at the company about English law and about the English culture & language. Moreover I learned a lot concerning England. Everything was well organized by Twin and the third parties. I would also like to mention that Twin was great and quick acting when my first host family was cancelled one or two days before my arrival. Thank you very much for the lovely stay in London in February/March 2013!
Emily, from the UK
The special touch of being picked up by someone from the UK really made it an easy experience traveling to the project as it answered many questions and stopped the panic. Overall a fantastic experience that i would highly recommend to anyone interested in meeting some truly inspirational and loving children.
Maddie & Rachel, from the UK
Thank you for your email, Rachel and I are having such a wonderful time here in western cape! The township is a truly amazing community to work with as we feel so lucky to be able to contribute to the Somlandela pre-school where we have been placed. Patricia is such a welcoming host mum and made us feel at home from the moment we arrived. Thank you again for your help with organising our trip for us. It's already such a success and we are only half way through!
Perrine, from France
I wanted to thank you for taking care of my request about my trip to South Africa. Indeed, Patricia was very nice, welcoming and always there when needed. The project turned out to be really interesting and rewarding.I enjoyed so much being helpful to the children and I got very attached to all of them including the teachers. Concerning the accommodation, the flat was truly amazing ; so big, with such an amazing view and the fact that I was only with foreign people helped me improving my English a lot. Besides, all my flatmates were very kind. Finally, South Africa was such a beautiful country with so much to do. My trip was full of great new experiences and I have now so many good memories. I met numerous nice people and if you need me to tell someone about my experience, I will gladly do it. I am really greatful that you advised me this trip.
Margit, from Estonia
Dear Adventurers! I recently returned from my mobility in Barcelona with Leonardo da Vinci. As many of you, my quest started because of a friend, who took advantage of this amazing program a year before and as you now, I followed her footsteps, because travelling is in my blood and I always dreamed of living in BCN. My placement was in a language school; since I applied for Marketing, I was in charge of their social media and online marketing as well as a bit of event management. The more you take out of this experience, the more you get! I had a chance to study Spanish for 2 months and spend my internship in the very center of Barcelona’s culture. In this city, you must use your initiative and create the environment you visualized to be in, there is so much to take in! Visit the whole BCN and go further than that – Costa Brava, south from BCN, Montserrat… It’s amazing! Don’t waste a minute to enjoy, it’s over faster than you can imagine! Meet locals! Forget the touristic places – you live there! Endorse the culture and inspire each other with your discoveries. After all that, I speak Spanish! I gained a social media marketing experience and connections all around the world. My BCN was fantastic and I absorbed a lot about myself, about a new culture and how to handle the up and the down struggles of a new life. Find your way in BCN & have a wild adventure!
Danielle, from Canada
I had a wonderful volunteering for Living with Lions. I stayed for two weeks and had the experience of a lifetime, getting the chance to help out around the Lion Park by working directly with customers, as well as feeding and cleaning up after animals. I had the opportunity to work directly with lion cubs, cheetahs, giraffes and more. On days off, the surrounding Johannesburg offered many fun activities, including visiting a Crocodile Farm and an Elephant Sanctuary where we got to see elephants up close! I feel so lucky to have bonded with the animals during my stay, it was so rewarding and they were so sweet! I've met lifelong friends from around the world, and am very pleased I chose Living With Lions. Best time of my life!
Emilie, from Belgium
Twin has been fantastic from the start: from Sunita's initial phone call to me about my interest in Twin to her advice on how to put forward a strong application for the job I sought – a hospitality internship in Italy – to setting me up with an interview and ultimately providing me with work in Bologna. Twin (especially Sunita) has been so friendly and personable (and most of all reassuring!) throughout the entire application process, always keeping me up-to-date with the correspondence between Italy and the UK so that I was kept aware of what was going on and how my application was being received. I can’t thank you enough for helping me finally…finally, finally realise an ambition that has been on my mind for far too long!
Suraj, from the UK
I have had a truly unique and unforgettable 3 weeks, all thanks to Twin Work and Volunteer. The support and guidance before, during and after the trip was professional, accurate and most of all, genuine. From the first phone call, to the day before my departure, I was relaxed, well-informed and prepared, which consequential resulted in a virtually stress-free trip, one where I could completely indulge myself in the experience itself, rather than wasting time with menial paperwork or travel arrangements. I found the guidance from James particularly helpful, with the ability to call someone at any time for advice being invaluable, and something I found quite rare when speaking to volunteers from other organisations. The experience itself was more than I could have ever imagined, the community made me feel at home almost instantly, and I felt I had so much support to help make a real difference in a place which has so little. I was able to cycle to the Burmese school every morning, across lush countryside, alongside a running stream and rolling hills. When teaching the children, I found that I had great freedom in choosing what to teach, and how to do so, thus allowing me to really get involved with the children and gauge their individual levels. I was able to integrate arts and craft, the children’s favourite, with English and maths, something I found very effective indeed. (Origami also works very nicely!) The one and a half weeks at the Burmese school went far too quickly, and for my last lesson I decided to teach the children a little about myself, and used maps and photos to show them what it is like to be a Londoner, however they seemed to find the 5p coin far more interesting! I then moved to the orphanage, where again I felt accepted almost immediately. I found myself doing all kinds of jobs, and always busy. The children seemed to have too much energy, continually playing football, swimming in the stream, digging and helping clean or cook food. I was even able to go to a local school and help teach English for two days, whilst the children were at school, which was very beneficial, since I could make immediate comparisons between the Thai and Burmese school, and the differences between the two. I was also able to fit in a weekend at Khao Sok National Park, for some of the most amazing natural scenery and animals. I trekked through rainforests, rivers and caves, witness the rainforest at night during 2 night safaris, and also stay on floating bungalows on a lake. It is very difficult to summarise my trip, and although this was the first trip through Twin Work and Volunteer, it will most definitely not be the last time I and have already begun planning my next trip!
Hannah, from the USA
Hello James! I want to let you know how great your program is. First, the school was excellent -- its administration did a great job respecting the independence of its students, and the teachers were interesting and dynamic. My gracious hostess, Sophie, provided me with a perfect apartment in walking distance the city center. It was even across the street from my internship at Hotel Pullman! Speaking of the internship, that was the most incredible experience. The staff at the hotel was so patient, knowledgeable, and thoughtful; I learned so much about France and about life in general. The clientele was also kind and patient. I met the most wonderful people at school, at work, and at home. I always felt safe and welcome. I'm very thankful that I used your program. Thank you so much for coordinating my trip abroad. It was unforgettable. Truly yours, Hannah Leverson
My name is Ion and I participated at the “Hospitality Work Experience Spain” programme that was organised by Twin Work & Volunteer. I started the programme on the 10th of December 2012 and I finished on the 31st of March 2013. I was placed at a 5 star hotel in Madrid, working as a receptionist assistant, undertaking mostly night shifts. For me this was exactly what I wanted, as I am a professional receptionist working seasonally in Santorini in Greece for 6 months every year during the summer. Being free of job during most winters, I wanted to come to Spain not only in order to improve my language skills but also in order to add some work experience to my CV. I am very satisfied with TWIN because they gave me exactly what I wanted. First of all they made remarkable efforts to place me as soon as possible after I finished my regular job. Furthermore, I asked not to be placed at a random hotel position but at the reception of a hotel in order to gain more experience in my profession, and I was rewarded with being sent to a reception of a 5 star hotel. I still remember how happy sounded Mrs Sunita, the travel advisor responsible for my case when she announced me by phone the good news of my placement, proving me that TWIN pays attention to each case separately. I haven't regretted at all for participating in this programme.
In April 2012, following my redundancy from a job in youth services several months earlier, I undertook a 2 week Leonardo da Vinci vocational internship with a tour company based in the heart of Dublin. I carried out competitive analysis on behalf of the company and subsequently produced a substantial report, which was later presented to a member of senior management. Despite possessing a varied employment and educational background, I felt that I needed to enhance my CV and develop my transferable skills even further as well as demonstrating to a potential employer that I had the motivation and ability to think outside the box. Within weeks of returning to the UK, my perseverance had paid off as I successfully secured employment! I had a superb time socialising and interacting with the rest of the group, but I also had the opportunity to head off on foot, by train and by bus to explore other locations, including the picturesque fishing village of Howth in County Dublin, the coastal town of Bray in County Wicklow, the castle town of Malahide and the working fishing town of Balbriggan in County Fingal. It’s easy to navigate around Dublin by public transport, on foot or even by bicycle with a Dublin Bike, and with the availability of local transport and visitor maps, it’s so easy to see the sights. Anyone who is looking to encompass the “whole experience” of living semi-independently, whilst experiencing another country, the local culture and people, making new friends and enhancing your CV, life and social skills, should consider enrolling on a Leonardo da Vinci vocational internship programme. You will gain a lot in a short period of time!
"The two weeks that we spent in Cyprus in March proved to be an extremely beneficial, educational, and enjoyable time. Travelling with the Leonardo Da Vinci programme gave us all the opportunity to work in different fields appropriate to our own experience and desires, helping us to learn about work in a completely different environment and culture to what we are used to, on top of having us live completely separated from our normal daily routine at home in England. The work proved extremely valuable, but everything else we managed to fit in between working times helped to really make the whole experience an enjoyable and very memorable one."
Linda and Shannon N, California
"Living with Lions" was an amazing experience for my daughter and myself. The lion cubs were so much fun, and the meerkats and giraffes were also favorites. The camp was very comfortable, the game drive was incredible and everyone was so easy to get along with. We got to see and experience so much that it was hard to say goodbye. It was definitely an experience of a lifetime and we would love to go back to the Lion Park or to one of the other wildlife trips. Africa is just amazing and I would recommend this trip to anyone who loves animals."
Rosy & Andy Cartwright
"We have just returned from 2 weeks volunteering on this programme. We're older volunteers taking time out from work and we're very pleased we made this decision to volunteer in the pre-school. The children and teachers were lovely and very friendly. We felt very welcomed and had a wonderful exerience. Being in the school was the highlight, but we also loved travelling around on the Garden Route trip and the Western Cape trip. South Africa is an amazing country with many contrasts, we loved it."
Taking my trip to Norway was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I worked for two months in a hotel, where I met some lovely people.
I went to Italy for a 3-month work experience placement in a hotel, and it was one of the best experiences I ever had.
The family I stayed with in France, as well as the people I met on the programme were all wonderful, kind and welcoming.
Working with the Cheetahs was excellent, and you learn very quickly. I would recommend it to anyone.
I enjoyed the irreplaceable friendships I formed with people of all walks of the earth and fell in love with Knysna!
I have just returned from this project and I had the most amazing time. The teachers and the children were wonderful and so happy for me to be there.
I volunteered for 2 weeks in July 2011, and had a brilliant time! I loved South Africa so much.
I spent 6 weeks in South Africa - It went by so fast but I loved every minute of it. Patricia (the Project Organiser) was amazing.
I really enjoyed acquiring knowledge about marine life, and meeting all the friends that I made out there.
I Enjoyed living in a new culture and the welcoming attitudes of the locals and the other volunteers.
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