My home city is Vaduz. It is the capital city of Liechtenstein. Funchal is the capital city of the Autonomous Region of Madeira. Madeira seems to be pretty big if you compare Liechtenstein to the Autonomous Region of Madeira. Even Funchal is a lot bigger than my home city Vaduz. Vaduz has only 17,3 km² and Funchal has 76,25 km². One can also spot the difference by the number of inhabitants. Funchal has twenty times the amount of the inhabitants of Vaduz.
Funchal and my home city seem to be really distant and they are. It is really hard to find a lot of similarities and it is easier to find things that are very different. We do not have access to the ocean, we have a very limited amount of festivals, and lack a plethora of bars or supermarkets that are this cheap in Vaduz.
In addition to this, the only thing I can think of when it comes to similarities is how steep the streets are. This is because, the river Rhein that caused some problems with floods some time ago, has led to more buildings being constructed further up the hill in Vaduz. That is why the streets are often a bit steep.
However, Liechtenstein doesn’t even have the same currency as Portugal. We pay with Swiss Francs like Switzerland, and Portugal has the Euro. In addition to this, Liechtenstein isn’t part of the EU.
There are so many more things that are different about those two cities or countries but a big similarity is that there are really motivated people living in both of them.
Livia Halbeisen is a volunteer from Vaduz, Liechtenstein who likes art, hiking, and cooking.
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.