My name is Luna Keita, I am an 18-year-old French student. I live in Cluses, a town located in the department of Haute-Savoie, in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, in France. I just finished my first year of BTEC Higher National Diploma (BTS Tourisme in French) in the Cité Internationale of Ferney Voltaire, in the Department of Ain, in France.

The BTS (Brevet de Technicien Supérieur: Higher Technician Certificate) is a training in two years that you can choose to do after the baccalaureate (you must have the diploma to enter). In the BTS Tourisme, during the first year, we have 3 weeks of internships at the beginning of the year. At the end of the year, we have the possibility of asking to do 9 weeks abroad within the framework of Erasmus, instead of the usual 7 weeks required. During the second year, there is only a 4-week internship at the beginning of the year because then we start to take the final exams.

So, I just finished my first year of BTS Tourisme and I am very grateful to be one of the 6 students of my school that had the opportunity to do their work placement in Ireland thanks to the Erasmus Program.

Erasmus Program

The Erasmus program is a student and teacher exchange program between universities, major European schools and educational establishments around the world. This program is part of the European Higher Education Area.

The overall objective of the program is to support, through lifelong learning, the educational, professional, and personal development of students in the fields of education, training, youth, and sport, in Europe and beyond, and thus contribute to sustainable growth, quality jobs, social cohesion, promotion of innovation and strengthening of European identity and citizenship active.

Many organizations can participate in the Erasmus program: associations, establishments, and institutions, whose activities are supported by the program.

What I would hope to learn and do

In Portumna Workhouse, I would hope to learn more about tourist information, reception, marketing, organization of events, site administration, assistance in planning tourist projects, group animation, tour guiding, processing of tourist data, and advising and informing visitors about Portumna and the workhouse building.

For my exam, it is possible to add an optional test called “le projet.” In this test, we must think about a project that we could do in our place of internship as an intern. After my second year, I would like to continue my studies and then become a tour guide abroad. So, I plan to organize a guided tour in French at the end of my internship that I could present to French clients. This will allow me to familiarize myself with the profession of guide and to learn more about the missions to be carried out and the challenges to be met.

I had never been to Ireland before but I had wanted to come here for many years. When I had the opportunity to do my internship abroad, I immediately thought of doing it in this country and I am very grateful to be here.

During these past few weeks, I have had the opportunity to follow different tours given by the guides that work in the Workhouse. Different guides have their own way of doing the tour so I found it very formative.  I learn things every day but not just about the history of the workhouse; I also had the opportunity to participate in Podcast training. What I like about my workplace is the passion and the experience of the guides, there’s a very good cohesion, a great team spirit, and the working atmosphere is very pleasant.

I have been made very welcome by the team who are very patient, warm, and professional. Arriving in a new company, especially in a foreign country, far from your home can be quite scary, but I am here in the best conditions so it’s very reassuring.

The reason why I would recommend someone to come and visit the Workhouse is that since the guides are so passionate and experienced, you learn a lot about the sadness of the time. It’s somewhere you should definitely go to, to understand more about Irish history, it’s a very eye-opening experience.

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