1) The sun. Okay, so I spent my spring in sunny Portugal, went home for a sunny summer and came here to spend the next 10 months in the sun. Well, now I remember that we don’t actually have sun in Finland, even in summer. At home you have to carry your jacket with you all the time and you don’t have to wear any sun lotion. When I did both of those things here, I noticed that the first one was unnecessary and the second one was a huge mistake.
2) The food. Pasteis de nata, bolo do caco, bifanas, cervejas… Of course I missed those, but the first time I got them to my mouth here, it was like a dream came true.
3) The streets. Tiny adorable streets here in Madeira and in the mainland are something that will always have a place in my heart. I love walking around these roads, get lost, have an espresso in little cafés and find new places and things to see.
4) The smiles. I don’t know if I need to add anything here. The Portuguese smile is so real and when you have one, you just can’t stop spreading it forwards to others.
Karoliina Nissinen, 21 years old volunteer from Finland. Loves new languages, cultures, coffee, nature and colourful clothes.
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.