- Listing Type: Summer Programs
- Destination: Guadeloupe
- Program Delivery: Residential
- Session Start: June, July
- Session Length: Two Weeks, Three Weeks
- Entering Grade: 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th
- Gender: Coed
- Category: Community Service
- Sub-Categories: Leadership, International Relief, Youth Outreach
- Selective: No
- Ages: 14, 15, 16, 17, 18
- Minimum Cost: > $3,000
Dive into La Vie Francaise on the island of Marie-Galante. Build needed community projects, dig in at an organic farming co-op, clear trails and volunteer with local kids. Learn island traditions, such as natural indigo dyeing, cane syrup-making and Gwoka drumming—all while improving your French.
While most people in Guadeloupe live humbly, they experience neither dire poverty nor grossly inadequate public services as in many other Caribbean nations. You can be assured, however, that your service is real and appreciated, filling gaps and meeting needs identified by community partners. VISIONS teens have built park pavilions, school additions, footbridges, beach shelters, picnic tables and renovated playgrounds. You might also install fencing, work with animals and generally get dirty on an organic farming cooperative, and help teach English or arts and crafts at a local day camp. Doing all this in French increases the challenge and your sense of accomplishment.
More important than the tangible results of your community service will be your cross-cultural learning and new friendships with the people of Marie-Galante. In our increasingly globalized world, one way to serve is to develop relationships across country, culture and class divides. This is a key objective of our work in Guadeloupe.
VISIONS has worked in Guadeloupe since 1996, offering a true French language immersion experience. You will be based on Marie-Galante, where the charming, unhurried ways of Guadeloupe are ours to savor. Guadeloupeans are sociable and you will find our hosts eager to connect and share a way of life that is centered on relationships and spending time with friends. You will practice your French in conversations with neighbors, project partners and local friends who join us (or lead us) in many of our activities. In pairs, you’ll experience day-to-day life up close during short stays with local families, who also are guests for dinners at our homebase. Marie France, our dinner cook, is an outgoing woman who runs a local restaurant and whose passion is making people happy with her terrific meals. We spend a lot of time with local kids and teens, working on language skills—English for them and French for us—an effort fueled by the desire to build friendships, many of which endure long after the program is over.