My time at Pestalozzi – Fabien

Hi, I’m Fabien. I’m from a small town called Limoges in the middle of France. I have a degree in Communication and Graphic Design and since completing my degree I’ve worked in the charity sector. After six years, I felt that it was time for me to change my path and try something new.

I started to look into what I was going to do next and that’s when I discovered the Erasmus+ program. I’d always wanted to speak English fluently, so after some interviews and a lot of paper work, I was lucky enough to receive a place on the programme. The one thing that I was sure of was that I wanted to stay in the charity sector, to improve my skills in fundraising and marketing, but I was not sure where.

I found out about Pestalozzi thanks to an organisation in Eastbourne (Breakaway), who find internships for students. At the beginning I thought it was a Pizzeria with that kind of name. In fact in France we don’t have a charity like that and maybe that’s why I was so curious about it and after my research online, I was convinced it was the right place for me. After three months here, I can confirm it was!

The first thing that impressed me was the big hill. When you walk up the drive and arrive in front of the building, you see all the fields, the little red brick houses and it is absolutely breath-taking! In that first moment I already felt all the smiles and the joy in the atmosphere.

Sadly, when I arrived it was already the end of the academic year for the Pestalozzi students, so I only had the chance to get to know them for a few weeks, but it wasn’t just the students I got to know, it was learning about each country, hearing a new language, and discovering different cultures. I felt like I had travelled around the world in these four weeks, with some absolutely amazing young people. At just 17-18 years old, they are ready to explore the world and are already involved in charity and development projects in their home countries. Like the Pestalozzi strapline says, they are ready “to make a difference in the world”.

I completely understand why after just one day I felt so at home and why many of my colleagues have worked here for such a long time. It is a joy to sit at your desk and hear the students singing together after school and to enjoy all the cake and the food from around the world. It is the most rewarding feeling to work for these students and then at the end, to see them accomplish so much.

I need to mention of course all the work I did during these three months, all the events I attended, places I visited, the fun I had designing a new visual brand, the new skills I learnt with the Fundraising and Marketing department and all the laughs we had. My English has improved dramatically.

Before I arrived, I thought it was those kind of things I would enjoy the most and remember for the rest of my life but I didn’t anticipate one thing… that I would meet so many amazing people and be a part of this beautiful big family. They gave me the biggest lesson of my life:

You can have everything you want in your life but if you’re not with the right people in the right place, you will never find real happiness.

It’s the positive philosophy, the love and the people that I will remember all my life – not the work.

Pestalozzi is different from other charities and that’s why I hope it will continue for many years to come, to inspire and give the right tools to more people finding their special path and happiness in life.

I can’t thank the Pestalozzi Family enough for this amazing experience, it’s heart breaking to leave, I just hope to meet everyone again somewhere, sometime to remember this time.

Fabien Peixoto

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