The term ‘university residence’ conjures up many different pictures to different people. Having been exceptionally lucky during my own time at university in regards to accommodation and having heard other people’s horror stories about their own times it was with some trepidation that I came to live at the university residence here in Madeira.
I discovered that I would be sharing a room, something I hadn’t done since I was a child. Fortunately for me these girls were absolutely lovely and very considerate which was a godsend as these rooms were only designed for two people not three, so it was quite a squash. It was also very fortunate that we all shared a similar taste in music, hearing Enrique Iglesias was commonplace.
After settling into my room I decided to discover what the rest of the building had to offer.
In the kitchen I introduced myself to anyone who walked past, determined to meet as many of my neighbours as possible. In this way I met several of the other volunteers I would be working beside during my time on the island, all of whom were most welcoming.
As the months went by I came to see the positives and negatives of the residence. The positives mainly being the people and the constant buzz of activity throughout the building. The negatives were mainly to be expected, ants, noisy drunks coming home at all hours and the fight for better conditions.
For the most part I’ve enjoyed living in the residence. If I had not been here I would never have met some of the people who’ve made my time in Madeira so memorable although I’ll be very happy to get back to my own private room.
Jessica Clancy, a volunteer from England.
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, 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.