Clémentine Bridoux was born in Paris, France. She is now 26 years old. Her EVS started in September 2019 in Baia Mare, Romania and she’s going to stay for 9 months.
She is a youth leader and a director of youth camps. She obtained a DEUG in French Sign Language, a bachelor’s degree in Education Sciences and she is now doing a Master in French as a Foreign Language (correspondence). Clémentine did a service civique in France 6 years ago with Unis Cité. She loves travelling, she spent 4 months in India, 3 months in Morocco and she did the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in Spain a few months ago.
Why did you choose to do an EVS and why in Romania ?
I wanted to work outside of France, to have an interesting job but not too challenging because I wanted to have time to study. An EVS was a good mix. Moreover it was easy to go : the journey is paid for, somebody is waiting for you and is offering you a flat so you do not need to look for something to rent… I wanted to discover the East of Europe and I was wondering how are Romania, Albania, Serbia, Macedonia like … Because I had no idea about life in those places, I applied and American International School of Transylvania told me ok so I came.
Have you ever been to Romania before ?
No, never !
What did you know about Romania before going there ?
Mmh, the Dracula story, horses pulling carts, wild dogs, some segregation between the Romani people and Romanians.
What did you expect from the country, the culture and the European project ? Were your expectations fulfilled ?
I was expecting beautiful landscapes (and I found them!), to meet people from other European countries (and I did) and to change my point of view about Romania – to really discover it !
It has only been 3 months but nonetheless, have you ever felt like the motivation for the project was slipping away from you ?
It depends, sometimes nothing goes as you want it to, or cultural misunderstanding or different levels of motivation from the other volunteers can make my own motivation go up and down. But the camp we organize in January and the French classes I do motivate me a lot !
How is your relationship with the other volunteers ?
I have a good relationship with mostly half of the group (we are 20), and I don’t really share things with the other half. I do an online Master’s at the same time and meet my boyfriend (from France) every 2 months so I need to share my time between everything and it is sometimes a bit difficult. So I don’t go to every party the others do !
After your project is over, do you see yourself going back to Romania over the years ?
I want to visit or live in a lot of countries but Romania is not so far and when I will have kids I would like to show them this place where I had lived for 9 months. If I build good friendships with Romanian people I guess I would like to see them again. Maybe Baia Mare will be kind of a second home 🙂
Have your family or friends visited you or do they plan on doing it ?
My boyfriend came and will come again, my sisters are coming next week, two friends of mine want to come as well and my mother will visit me so… Yes they do ^^
What do they think about the project? Do they support you ?
The project is very diverse and so it suits me and they know it. They understand when it’s difficult as well so they support me and that is very nice !
How do you find the Romanian people in general ?
It depends, they can be very kind and helpful and welcoming as they can be very cold (some waiters at the restaurant for exemple). So it really depends. In my first gym place people were very cold, in the new one, they are so so so kind and welcoming !
How about the traditions and the food ?
I love placinta and palinca ^^ The national day was a bit surprising because during the speech they said that family, God and the army were the 3 most important things in Romania. The pig killing was a bit surprising as well. To see icons in schools is very strange for me and I was told my tattoo and my way of dressing-up are a problem for a certain religion teacher. But dances, music, dresses, fabrics are so amazing !!
Will you spend the Christmas holidays in Romania ?
No, I will join my boyfriend and my sisters in Serbia.
Living in another country for awhile is very rewarding. Leaving aside the obvious improvements that one gains from that, have you encountered something that changed your life or your decisions in a way you did not expect ?
Wahou difficult question ! I miss my friends a lot, I would like to live in another country next year but I need to spend one year with my firends before. I feel that living here changes many things in my mind but it is too early for me now to understand what exactly 🙂
— photos – courtesy of Clémentine Bridoux