Reading is in Berkshire which is about a thirty minute train ride from London Paddington. The University itself has some significant history attached to it. It was formerly part of Oxford University’s Christ Church College but was granted independence to produce its own degrees by a Royal Charter from King George V. It was also the first university to appoint a woman as a chair at an English University level-institution in 1912.
The University also boasts having the renowned Twentieth Century composer Gustav Holst as a Professor of music. Reading University can also proclaim one of the greenest campuses in Britain, it is usually voted as one of the greenest spaces for any university. The reason why it is usually voted for, is because it contains lakes, a forest, and a stunningly beautiful botanical garden. I spent a good three years there, learning and developing myself. It introduced me to new ideas and new perspectives to view the world with. Being involved in the politics department as their photographer meant that I could meet some of the most important people in contemporary politics. I met people such as Speaker of the House, John Bercow, Alastair Campbell- the Former Communications Officer for Tony Blair, and most importantly the author and linguistic scholar Noam Chomsky.
My time there was also sadly beset by economic problems for the University, the Vice-Chancellor at that time had decided to reshape the campus and this meant many job losses for important staff members. There were huge student demonstrations organised to stop the staff from losing their jobs, however, it was unsuccessful. Lastly, I have found out that recently, the University is in a substantial amount of debt, so I hope for the students who work so hard there, that all their effort does not amount to nothing.
Text written in June 2019.
James Garn, from the United Kingdom. My interests include photography, music (especially: jazz, hip/hop, and reggae), and philosophy.
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.