I stayed in Madeira to experience Christmas and new years eve there, and one thing I learned is that the people here really like Christmas. All of the streets were starting to become filled with lights in the middle of November, and the stores were decorating even before that. Even before December had begone I already got sick of all the Christmas songs that were played everywhere. And when December eventually started you could see large structures of lights in the forms of cones and angels standing throughout the city.
Christmas eventually started with the Christmas market, a long row of shops on the square next to the cathedral where you could find a lot of local foods and drinks. Especially drinks. Everybody drinks a lot during Christmas.
It is tradition to go to mass at 5 am, drink and eat typical products from Madeira, and go to work a few hours later.
I tried it one time and it was really exhausting. However, this was nothing compared to the new years market night, a citywide event where all the streets closed down for cars to make way for stalls that basically had three purposes: being a bar, burger place or a toy-candy shop. And there are a lot of these stalls, repeating the same pattern of bar-burger-candy-bar in the streets.
During that night the streets were completely packed with people buying Poncha (local drink) and eating traditional burgers with lots of meat. When we went there with the other Erasmus people we actually had to hold hands to make sure we didn’t lose each other. Luckily that wasn’t all there was to the market night. personally, my favorite attraction here was a small train that was placed together with some small houses in the municipal garden.
I am pretty happy that I stayed here so that I could have experienced a little of Madeiran Christmas.
David Spoor, a 20 years old Dutchman wanting to live above sea level for a while. likes traveling, nature, food and buildings over 300 years old.
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 to 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.
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.