One of my favorite activities at the AIWC has been the Volunteer Service group. I really enjoyed volunteering in Charlotte, NC, where I lived ten years prior to our move to Geneva. I found that I got back tremendously more than I gave. Volunteering gave me a much-needed paradigm shift from my ‘perception’ of stress in my daily corporate job.
I expressed an interest in continuing my volunteering in Geneva. Our acclimation coach said it would be very hard for me to find opportunities to give back in Geneva with both my beginner-level French skills and the fact Geneva was a wealthy city. I only wish that a need didn’t exist for helping others more unfortunate in Geneva (the coach’s statement was false), but I was delighted to find that the AIWC helped coordinate willing volunteers with organizations, with French not a strict requirement.
There are three main organizations the club aligns itself with: Au Coeur des Grottes, Le C.A.R.É. and La Maison de Tara.
The one that I have the most interaction with is Au Coeur des Grottes, a shelter for displaced women. I tutor English on a weekly basis to two different women. Not only am I improving my French in the process, I also get to learn about different cultures as both women are from a different origin than me.
It is a lot of fun as well. I find that the benefit I bring to them, is that I am learning a language at the same time they are. So I appreciate finding tricks or a method that works for my English to French, and I am able to reverse my techniques to then teach them. I feel it helps them better than a textbook.
Honestly, those tutoring hours are my favorite hours in my week.
We are a group of international women living in Geneva, Switzerland. If you would like to join the AIWC, please visit our website at http://www.aiwcgeneva.org/.