Since I applied for my voluntary service on Madeira I realized how important European connections and projects are to get to learn new languages, cultures and moreover to develop further as a human being, such as a big community.
Being part of the European Union makes me aware of many benefits we have because of this interconnectedness. Our possibility to go abroad has changed a lot in the last few years and it is getting easier with every year. As a result of the EU, we have more chances to take part in Erasmus projects or student exchanges than ever before.
But being part of the EU means more than that.
Bigger companies can take advantage of the economic growing system, we don’t have to pay roaming bills and traveling became much easier since we have open borders. Moreover, we have our own Parliament where we share ideas, discuss about laws, deal with common issues such as Security Policy and education. With so many different perspectives from each country, usually it takes a lot of time to find a solution, but in the end that makes us stronger and we develop in the same direction.
Of course not everyone would agree with that, because lately the European Union became a highly discussed topic and people are growing apart in their opinions. So I definitely don’t want to embellish the situation by just counting all the positives aspects.
To start of with, my country Germany, I have to admit is divided and insecure about the EU being the best option for everyone in this country. Some people are worried about the local companies, because since we import so much it is hard for them to deal with the lower prices. Other people complain about our huge money investments to help other nations in their financial crisis. In their opinion we first should invest in our own country and solve our poverty problems before helping others. We see the European Union splits countries and their people, but nevertheless new elections are coming up soon. Already in May citizens from the EU have the chance to elect new politicians for the Parliament.
So we have the chance to change something although we all know we have just a little impact on this system. We will see how the EU is going to change in the next few years, cause in my opinion nothing is preventable after Brexit and the immigration issues in Europe.
Text written in February 2019.
Hey, I am Anne Schroeder from Bonn and at the moment I am staying in Madeira for a voluntary service.
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.