Funchal and my home city are so distant, however, what are their similarities? In this united Europe, what do our cities share in this Union of, so far, 28 countries?
What comes to my mind are mostly differences. In terms of the number of citizens, area, architecture and landscape that surrounds both cities. But where I see the biggest difference is climate. In Warsaw and generally Poland, weather is quite unpredictable. During summer days there might be an average of thirty-five degrees plus. On the other hand, sometimes in winter, the thermometer can show minus twenty-five degrees Celsius. While Madeiran temperatures are more stable throughout the year. Secondly, I need to mention is the pace of life. In my home city, everyone is running for something, always late and stressed. Here time slows down and people seem to be more relaxed. Maybe a high dose of vitamin D in their veins caused by the sun’s rays makes them happy.
In my opinion, the common thread is in people, their beliefs, culture, and values. In the past, shared European identity was deeply associated with Christianity. Nowadays most people in both countries still declare to be Roman Catholic and a lot of public holidays in Poland as well as in Portugal have a connection to religion.
People, especially youngsters from European countries, are similar to each other. They listen to the same music, dress in the same clothes, eat similar food, and have common hobbies. It seems this is what we call globalization.
Kasia from Poland, graduate in tourism and management. During free time I love to travel and hike.
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 (KA3) 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.