The biggest and most noticeable one is perhaps not that this is a Portuguese island, but that it is a touristic island.
Tourism is quite deeply entwined in Funchal, which results in some small but noticeable differences. For example, I must have seen over a hundred cafés and restaurants but I have only seen two supermarkets which are at 200 meters apart from each other. You can also go anywhere by bus, but the price is the same no matter how far you want to go. Banana’s and fruits are about as expensive as in my home country (even if they are grown here) while meat is really cheap, even though I have not seen any cow yet during my stay here.
Now I have to say that I don’t know if any of this really has to do with, for example, tourist not buying meat instead of banana’s, but it is still very different from what I am used to.
Still there are also a lot of good things from tourism. A lot of people speak (reasonably) English, there are a lot of things you can do and churches to visit during your free time, and you can be working a tour guide while living in a sunny island 200 meters from the sea with meals included.
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 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.
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.