14 de Agosto de 2017.
Polish accent in Funchal
21 de Agosto de 2017.

Before arriving on the project – I didn’t completely know what to expect. Am I going to love it, am I going to hate it? Will I pick up the language easily? What will it be like being a non-native of the place I’m in for the first time in my life?

Now that I’m here. I can honestly say I still don’t have the answers to these questions … But I do know one thing, it’s the curiosity of NOT knowing that is spurring me on and igniting the inquisitive flames of my heart to continue upon this journey.

I always hated children’s shows like Dora the Explorer – I never thought that I’d be buying her books in order to try and improve my Portuguese. I also never thought I’d be able to communicate with my grandmother who is Madeirian … But only through reading Dora has that been possible!

It’s a massive change going from inner city Manchester to this small island. But a needed and welcomed change, indeed.

Everything is different; the sounds, the sights, the people, the food, the tastes – the FEELINGS. It can be hard to get used to – but i’m getting there. Of course, naturally, a few home comforts are missed.

As I discover the Island, I discover myself. I’m learning a lot about my heritage (my father being madeirian) that I never knew. Some traditions seem completely bizarre to me – others make sense and I wonder why these traditions are not global!

In fact this journey has made me open my eyes to a certain ignorance of my own … Perhaps a naivety, rather than an ignorance but none the less; I now realise the importance of learning another language. It’s all well and good to only speak English – but on an island like this where the locals (and my family!) only speak Portuguese; how am I supposed to connect with them as a human being!? Am I to EXPECT them to speak my language? NO! When in Rome – you do as Romans do.

My work here is really interesting – any job that involves learning history is a good job. Generally I take quite an informal approach to my tours – which seems to go down a hit with my tourists! Especially the ones from North England! I suppose it’s quite a shock for them when some dark haired fella with “Jardel Rodrigues” on his name badge opens his mouth to release a hard Mancunian accent and declare that he doesn’t speak much Portuguese. A good shock though … (I hope).

I’d never swam in the ocean until a few days ago… Oh, how this island can make a man feel free. I’m sure my entries into these texts will get filled with more and more memories as time goes on – as I am only 3 weeks in.

Short bio of the volunteer:

Jardel Rodrigues, travelling man, moving through places, space and time. In love with this language, in love with this island and in love with this life.


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.