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How to stay motivated

Hard to believe, but even when you live in Madeira after some time your life eventually becomes “normal”

You stop choosing to walk by the ocean, because that route it’s longer; you get stuck in a rut when it comes to work; you feel like you’re just doing the same thing every weekend and in your free time and you think you’ll never going to actually learn Portuguese.

Is there a way out of this dead end?

Well yes, there is, but you need to make an effort.

I realized I need to create a “life” outside of my usual surroundings, separate from work, colleagues and the residence. The easiest way to do it is by making new friends among people from different environment. Somebody who will bring another perspective to the conversation or who can show you places you haven’t been to yet. You can try reaching out to people on couchsurfing, approaching somebody you know by sight or going on a casual date. Maybe you won’t meet your soulmate (or maybe you will!) but you’ll definitely take a step out of your comfort zone.

Another thing that turned out to be helpful for me was pursuing a hobby or creating a fun, regular activity. Sing up for some class if you can afford it or dedicate one evening of the week to sports/cultural activities/movie watching… Something you’ll be looking forward to when you’re in a bad mood.

Decide to challenge yourself! Do some changes in your lifestyle that you always wanted to try – a healthy diet, learning to recycle or waking up early – your choice. It’ll be demanding but also so rewarding if you succeed! Since I’ve started, every day is a little victory

that makes me happy.
Push yourself a little bit more and ask for new tasks at work. Learn, study or teach others to avoid being bored and procrastinating. Being useful and busy is key for me to feel happy.
And what about Portuguese language? Just use it! Embarrass yourself thousand times and be ready for more, but you’ll get there. Best of luck!

Short bio of the volunteer:

Katarzyna Kozak, a volunteer from Wroclaw, Poland. Arts, culture and foreing languages have always been her interest in school, in her professional life and as a hobby. She worked for several cultural institutions, often starting as a volunteer, and especially enjoyed being involved in film festivals and cultural education of youth. In Madeira she studying its history and landmarks to become a tour guide, but also learning Portuguese and traveling around this beautiful island.


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.