Do outro lado da Europa
3 de Janeiro de 2018.
A minha Bulgária.
5 de Janeiro de 2018.
I never thought that being and living on the island can be so different from living in the mainland in a bigger agglomeration.

But actually it differs a lot and I felt it soon after I came here. This strange feeling of being locked and kept in a small island so that you cannot escape from it so easily in case of any human/natural disaster remain in my subconscious.

Everything has limits here and sometimes it can make you feel anxious.

I wonder if some people has that inborn will of constantly moving from place to place, just getting into the car or taking a plane and travelling at least for a bit or if it is just a feature that we acquire when we start to go abroad and decide to leave our comfort zone.

It is harder to realize this need on the archipelago but still it is possible. Surely it is recommended to leave the island or at least your city once in a while, it will clear your mind and you will have a new look, from distance to your daily routine. For this reason I try to do levada walks at least once per week and each month I try to organise some trips to the mainland, Porto Santo or at least to the other part of the island. That keeps my claustrophobic thoughts away.

Short bio of the volunteer:

Karolina Szwaj, Polish with a Portuguese/Brazilian soul, volunteering in one of AAUMa’s projects namely history tellers project. Passionate about Romance languages and Lusophony culture as well as travelling as a backpacker.


Erasmus+ is a programme of the European Commission embracing the fields of education, training, youth and sports during the period 2014-2020. One of the major aspects is the cooperation between the different fields where the programme acts, hence contributing for a diverse and rich Europe.

Amongst the several goals of the programme, the following are prioritised: the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy, including the headline education target; the aims of the strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET 2020), including the corresponding benchmarks; the sustainable development of Partner Countries in the field of higher education; the overall goals of the renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field (2010-2018); the objective of developing the European dimension in sport, in particular grassroots sport, in line with the EU work plan for sport and the promotion of European values in accordance with Article 2 of the Treaty on the European Union.

In order to achieve these goals, the Erasmus+ has several action policies. The Key Action 1 (KA1) is directed towards the mobility of people; Key Action 2 (KA2) for the cooperation for innovation and the interchange of good experiences; and Key Action 3, which is for the support of reformation policies.

European Voluntary Service

Since 1991 the University of Madeira Students’ Union has developed a wide incentive policy for voluntary work. In 2013 the Students’ Union started the process to receive, send and coordinate Erasmus+ projects of the European Voluntary Service, in order to have a larger influence in the volunteering field. The Union received its first volunteer withing the ambit of a KA1 project in 2014. Many efforts have been done to allow young people from Madeira to take part in several initiatives in Europe, as well as propose several projects allowing young people from several countries to work in the projects of the Students’ Union of the University of Madeira. The main goal of the voluntary work is the contribution of the volunteers to the communities and places they will be staying, being their work not rewarded with payment.

We believe that the European Voluntary Service is a mechanism full of experiences, allowing the approved candidates to have the privilege of taking part in these projects and benefit the places and communities where these volunteers will be staying.

Since 2013, the University of Madeira Students’ Union has received volunteers that have collaborated in several activities and initiatives. Besides being able to enjoy a wonderful experience which will contribute to their personal and professional growth, they are able to contribute in a unique way to the community in which they are inserted and to join dozens of volunteers from the University of Madeira.