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Volunteering Abroad

Even before coming to Grenoble I knew I wanted to volunteer somewhere in the community throughout the semester. After graduation I hope to go into the nonprofit sector, and work for an international organization. What better experience than to volunteer at an organization while abroad?!

The American Corner was recommended to me by my CEA program director, Patrick. This organization acts as a resource for people wanting to learn more about the United States. People can learn information such as the visa requirements for traveling to or living in the United States, as well as gain valuable insight into how American culture and society works. One of the primary goals of the American Corner is to help foster relationships between France and the United States.

The American Corner in Grenoble was the first American Corner in Western Europe. Grenoble is a perfect city for a resource such as this because it has such a large American community. It is a sister city with several cities in the United States, and is home to multiple large American companies.

Each Thursday I volunteer my time during a four-hour shift. I work with other student volunteers from the United States to help people find resources where they can learn more about studying, living, working, and traveling in the United States. Volunteers are a vital resource for the American Corner because we can give firsthand information to curious people about our country. The American Corner also regularly hosts events to display artwork from America and around the world, as well as various other receptions.

It is really a win-win situation for both myself and the people I am talking to because I can give them information they wouldn’t have been able to get otherwise, and at the same time it is the perfect opportunity to work on my French conversational skills. The people I interact understand that I’m an American student, which takes off much of the pressure I sometimes feel when speaking French to a native French speaker.

 Volunteering my time doesn’t take much effort and it really helps me to feel better connected to the Grenoble community. Going into the nonprofit sector, I have always felt the need to somehow make a difference, and even though it’s a small thing I do once a week, spending time helping others even while overseas helps me to remember why I chose the major I did!

For more information, check out their Facebook page:

Aimee Goffinet is the Fall 2013 CEA MOJO for Grenoble, France. She is currently a senior at the University of Kentucky.
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