Sisi was born on Christmas Eve in 1837 as the second daughter of Duke Maximilian and Duchess Ludovika in Bavaria, Germany. In 1853 she met her cousin Emperor Franz Joseph, who was going to marry her sister Helene. Franz Joseph of Austria fell in love with Sisi immediately and decided to marry her instead of her sister. They married, when Sisi was 16 years old. The marriage did not work out: Sisi was an independent girl and totally unprepared for the strict protocol at court, an ambitious stepmother and a busy husband who struggled to fight revolutionary and separatist tendencies in the Habsburg Empire.
The court society of Vienna was making fun of her, and her mother in law Sophie took over the control of her life. Sisi was rarely allowed to see her children and fell into a deep depression and illness. After different voyages of health, Sisi returned with new confidence to Vienna. She decided to take control of political issues and soon took interest in Hungary, the very troubled neighbour of Austria. In 1867 she was crowned Queen of Hungary. Sisi was obsessed with her beauty, her perfect figure and taking care of her body. As a result of it, she got anorexia. Her very liberal ideas, her call for a republic structure and her effort for the poor and troublesome made her very popular with the Austrian people.
Three years later she decided to withdraw from public life and tried to live the life of a private person. In 1898, on the 10th of September, while she was walking through Geneva, she was assassinated by a young Italian anarchist. In memory of her life, in 2004 a Sisi Museum in the Hofburg of Vienna was opened.
Julia, from Austria, is 18 years old and is now part of the Madeira Heritage voluntary program. Likes to go hiking, swimming and reading, and is looking forward to learning about the culture and history from this wonderful island.
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.