For her university language year abroad, Charmaine is spending September 2018 – July 2019 in Brussels serving at Woluwe Church (alongside mission partners Steve and Dawn Orange and Robbie and Lizzie Bellis).
As well as serving the church with administration, Charmaine is part of Le Stage 222 apprenticeship programme which involves participating in the church student group, helping with children’s and youth groups, reading the Bible one-to-one and studying one day a week at the Belgian Bible Institute – all in French!
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I am now halfway through my year abroad and therefore have been doing some reflecting…
Five months ago, I nervously arrived in Brussels not knowing what adventures awaited me. I will never forget my first full day. It was a Sunday; everyone had been praying and awaiting our arrival and they were eager to greet us (with the Belgian greeting, a kiss on the right cheek). People had so many questions. It’s all well and good regurgitating a speech in an exam but I came to realise that having a conversation in French is challenging. For weeks, I felt scared every time someone came to say ‘hello’ - I never felt ready to speak to them. It was a challenge expressing myself; my vocabulary was limited and often I didn’t feel like my normal self.
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