One week ago, I went to the mainland for the on-arrival training in Guimaraes. This is a training for those who do EVS in Portugal and who just arrived. I had so much fun this week! We didn’t have to cook, which was of course one of the things I appreciated the most and we also talked about A LOT. After this week I realised a few things, I realised how much I had already learned from the beginning until that moment. Let me sum up a few things:
– I learned how to fly on my own (without missing my flight or losing my boardingpass/ID. Applause!!!).
– I found out that I´m a really good saladmaker and that I´m able to cook simple dinners.
– I learned that there ARE people that you can trust. Although people think I´m quiet naive, I´ve always been suspicious, so if people offer to help me I always think they are trying to swindle me. Here in Madeira I came to the conclusion that sometimes people are more honest than you think they are and that mostly of the time they are just trying to help you.
– I learned that people from other countries are not as crazy as I thought they were. OK, I didn´t think they were like aliens, but I still thought they were totally different compared to me. Now, when I´m actually talking to them, I know that the differences between the European countries are not even that big.
Eva Dijkstra, 18 year old volunteer from the Netherlands. Is a by nature chaotic person that is trying to be structured and 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.