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My first month in the paradise

The island has been excellent, the people have been beautiful, the job has been amazing and I don’t have enough words to describe the other things.

I had some expectations for my first month in here, but it was even better than what I expected.
This project has been an opportunity to learn about the history of Madeira, about the history of Portugal, and about the different cultures and costumes of this country and the countries of the people who have been around me during this time.

I was in beautiful places with my colleagues. I was in museums, parks and beaches, where I saw beautiful places and learn interesting things.

Regarding to my job it has been interesting because I’m a history lover and here I have a lot of these to enjoy it and regarding my bosses I have a special felling about them because they’ve been there all the time during my process and they really show you that they’re interested in making your stay here an unforgettable experience. I also have to say that they show a special interest in your health and you welfare. For example, this month I unfortunately stepped on a sea urchin and they were quick to act and sent me to the hospital, in spite of it not being very serious. I could rectify that I’m in good hands.

I also have been lucky with my mentor because he has been very polite and he also speak my language and it has been very helpful, and regarding that two of my bosses also speak my language and the another ones although they don’t speak it, it hasn’t been any problem. In fact, in that field, I haven’t had any problem with my parents or with the people who are around me, because they still are very patient and we try to communicate between us.

I started the Portuguese courses this month, and I can see some progress and it’s very good because I know that my expectations about this are in good way and regarding it the people around me have offered me theirs help.

In the residence everyone has been polite, and even I have been able to form friendships with some of them. And in this month I have had the opportunity of being closer of them and share with them special moments, which has been the best part of my experience.

Now, between lovely people and beautiful places I end my monthly text, but before ending it, I’ll say that I am hoping for more on the next month, a month which more likely will surprise me with wonderful things.

Andrés Felipe Espinosa, voluntario en el paraíso.


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.

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.