This idea has stuck in my head since long time. It would be so perfect to have the possibility to go out in the nature, not depending on when and where the few public buses could drive you at the weekend. There are just a few options to gain this freedom of self-determined hiking. Renting a car together with friends, going with a friend who has a car or hitchhike. Although every of these options has its benefits the disadvantages are highly considerable, especially when you want to hike with more than 5 people.
So as I heard about the guided nature walks Aauma provided a few years ago, I made the plan to revitalise this project, this time not only with madeiran students but also with Erasmus students, international students and volunteers. Hence, I used to work every Friday in the office of Aauma to improve the university sports offer, I could directly work on the realisation with the persons responsible. Soon I made a poll and the results were auspicious. Everyone I asked wanted to go hiking transported by a rented bus, which would bring and pick up the group at the requested time and place.
So I started to do the research which hikes are interesting depending on the needs of the group and created a Facebook group to organise everything. The only issue was that we didn’t have the information if the insurance of the Erasmus and international students would cover such activities. Another possibility would have been going with a mountain guide and pay a company for the transportation, but that would cost too much money, one of the main reasons with the opportunity to meet your unknown neighbours, to go as a big group and organise everything alone.
In spite of that, we scheduled unofficially the first hike for the weekend of the 13th and 14th January plenty of time when you keep in mind that this was in the middle of December and we just needed to find out the information about the insurance and rent the bus of which we already had the contact.
But however we didn’t get all the information up to now, a lot of volunteers as well as Erasmus students left or will leave shortly and I can just hope that there is progress coming…
Julius Sax, a volunteer from Germany with interest in basketball, tennis, scouts, playing guitar, read and meet friends.
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.