Bosnia and Herzegovenia is a fascinating country to study, it is a fairly recent country (in terms of being independent and having defined borders) stemming from the collapse of Yugoslavia in 1992. Since the end of Yugoslavia it has encountered terrible wars and a lot of ethnic tensions. The reason for this comes from a long and complicated history that saw ethnic groups bound together under empires. Firstly the Ottoman Empire, secondly, the Austro-Hungarian, and lastly, the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. What happened between 1992-95 was the worst humanitarian disaster Europe faced since WWII. Acts of ethnic cleansing and genocide took place in Europe during the 1990s. An ethnic conflict that is not easy to explain in less than 200 words caused the country great devastation. The country is respectively comprised of Bosniak Muslims, Serbs, and Croats. The impact of this ethnic war are still felt today in the country between the Federation and the Republic Srpska, and the economic status of the country is still a major factor in problems that occur, as Bosnia and Herzegovenia is still recovering from the devastating effects of the economic crisis in 2007.
The roughly triangular-shaped Bosnia and Herzegovina is bordered on the north, west, and south by Croatia, on the east by Serbia, on the southeast by Montenegro, and the southwest is partly surrounded by the Adriatic Sea. The country has beautiful landscapes, ranging from stunning mountains to crystal blue glacial lakes. Having a dominant muslim population and influences from Turkey, the cusine reflects this, as they have very good coffee and baklava type sweets. The architecture too has an amazing Islamic influence as there are many mosques and decorative buildings around the country. Coming from a dark period in a sadly too recent past, Bosnia and Herzegovina is trying to put those bad times behind it and try and make things work, they formally applied for EU membership a few years ago and is becoming an ever more increasingly popular tourist destination. A place with a diverse and multicultural population, a long history, and beautiful landscapes it is definitely worth going to.
Text written in July 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.