Born in Alloway, Ayrshire, in 1759, he was the eldest of seven children. He was raised in poverty and the difficult farming lifestyle took a toll on his physical health. Despite his poverty, he still gained an education through his father, a local minister and eventually, he was sent to a school for three days a week. After farming for years he began writing and wrote some of the most famous poems in Scot’s language. He died in 1796.
A poem of his I read in school at the age of 11, it is possibly his most famous, Tam O’Shanter. First published in 1791 it tells a story of man’s return to his home after an evening of drinking, a storm brews on the journey and he starts to believe he is being chased by witches, warlocks and the devil. It paints a picture of the heavy drinking culture that existed in the farming communities in the Scottish Town of Ayr during that time. In school, we learned parts of this poem in order to perform it in a recital competition.
Robert Burns is one of the most important writers in Scottish history. He is also known as Rabbie Burns and considered to be the national poet of Scotland. In 2009 he was even voted the greatest Scot by the Scottish public for a television show.
Every year his Birthday, 25th January, is celebrated in Scotland called Burns Night. On Burns Night we hold Burns Suppers, where we eat the traditional Scottish dish haggis; first of all reciting Burns’ poem Address to a Haggis. Guests are often piped in with music played on the bagpipes and the supper is sometimes followed by Scottish Country dancing.
On New Year’s Eve, known as Hogmanay in Scotland, a Burns poem and song Auld Lang Syne is sung to welcome in the new year. This spread throughout the UK as well and even to other countries.
Despite being most famous in Scotland, Burns’ influence is seen throughout the world.
Text written in April 2019.
Lorna Murphy is an Erasmus+ volunteer from Scotland, UK, graduated in tourism management and loves 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.
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.