The main celebration of Christmas in France is on the evening of the 24th of December. This is also on the eve that the presents are offered. Most of the time, it is simply a long family dinner which lasts until the early morning of the 25th. It begins as a basic aperitif with champagne and white wine. After we eat some seafood, that is called foie gras, then a trou Normand is served. It is made of vanilla ice cream and calva.
In the part of France from which I am from, the biggest Carnival is the one of Dunkerque. It takes place from January to March. Nevertheless, the main and noisiest part of the festivity takes place at the end of February. Local people even have a free week in order to participate properly. Costumes are colorful and extravagant, and the main beverage is local or Belgian beer. The first festival was in 1676. Tradition has it that local fishermen would feast with their families before heading off to sea.
During Easter, the Good Friday is a free day so the weekend is a sort of small vacation. Various kind of chocolates is hidden in the family’s garden for the children. Legend says that it is brought by le Lapin de Pâques (Easter Bunny) or flying bells.
Elisa Maurice, a volunteer from France.
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 to 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.