Last year, when I was in my final year of secondary school, I decided to wait starting my study and take a Gap-Year. After 6 years of hard work, I was sick of school and I wanted a life without any duties. However, when I finished my school and got my diploma, I felt bored and empty. I had no goal anymore and I really needed one. I tried to find a hobby like puzzling, reading a book and learning Portuguese words, but this was all soooo boring. So I stopped and kept on worrying about my problem of being purposeless.
I’ve been here for about 3 weeks now, and I don’t feel stress anymore. Although my trip didn’t start so pleasant, because landing here on Madeira can be very difficult as well as taking care of suitcases, it was all worth it. I can lay in the sun and think of cute kitty cats and good food without thinking of what I need to do, which is a miracle in my case. Besides, my nails are longer than ever before because of the less-stress and I can even put nail polish on them!
Although the nature is beautiful and the sea makes my hair and skin look great, I don’t think this is the main reason for my chill mood. I think it’s because of the people that are so extremely relaxed. They don’t hurry, they take their time (sometimes even a little bit too much, which is in my opinion totally fine, up to a point…). And it’s because I forgot Holland, where everybody is always in hurry and where they make problems about the smallest things. I feel like I’m living in a Madeiran bubble, far away from the Dutch world, which feels even better than being on a holiday.
Eva Dijkstra, 18 year old volunteer from the Netherlands. Is a by nature chaotic person that tries to be structured, who loves food, animals, dancing and art.
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