Erwin Kräutler
25 de Agosto de 2019.
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29 de Agosto de 2019.
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Gerwin van der Werf

The Writing Teacher

Gerwin van der Werf is not a name that many non-Dutch people know nor are able to pronounce properly. Not a lot of Dutch people know him or his work either. He is not a famous writer of literature that creates complex novels with hidden themes and multiple meanings but he is one of the greatest Dutch writers. He has written four novels, Gewapende Man (2010), Wild (2011), Luchtvissers (2013) en Een Onbarmhartig Pad (2018). Apart from being a writer, he is also a music teacher at the high school I went to in the Netherlands. He is a teacher full of energy, full of empathy for his students and with a great sense of humor. He has captured his experiences as a teacher in two bundles Schooldagen (2014) en Stampen en Zingen (2018). The latter is filled with columns about his music class in their last year of high school as they are preparing for their final exams.

His lightness and understanding did not only allow him to create a sense of rest and fun in his classes but also enabled him to perfectly capture what it was like being in this class. Being part of this class always felt like something special. Gerwin taught us a lot about music (of course, he is a music teacher) but also about how making music together can connect people, no matter how diverse the group.

In Stampen en Zingen, he takes the reader on a journey through time from the first day of the year until the final exams. As tension builds up within the class nearing the final exams, Gerwin builds up tension in the columns for the reader to feel the mood change in the class. His sense of humor and empathy are perfectly reflected in his writing style. What makes Gerwin van der Werf a special writer is that he takes the time and effort to create works that are enjoyable to read but still teach you something. This is also exactly what makes him a great teacher. You can imagine that a book about how and who he teaches cannot be anything but great.

Text written in April 2019.

Short bio of the volunteer:

I’m Flore Paumen, 18 years old, and currently taking a gap year. I love making art, music, playing guitar, photography and traveling.


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.

European Voluntary Service

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.