Going to the mainland was an adventure itself, but the training was also more an adventure than I expected. During my time there I met some amazing people, learned a lot about different cultures, about myself and also about other volunteers’ projects.
I’ve been here in Madeira now seven weeks, and I have made new friends and contacts, went hiking to beautiful places, started a new hobby and made so many wonderful memories already. Living the dream. But the training made me think about the reasons why I wanted to do volunteering, why I came here and what I’m going to do to achieve my goals during my time here.
My main reasons to come here were to learn about the Portuguese language and culture, get more confidence in different kind of situations and the most important: to learn about myself, what I want to do after this year and in the future. Defining and searching yourself is a difficult mission that everyone has to do on some point of their life.
But how can you search, and maybe even “find” yourself? I would say by learning different things that would be interesting to you, by having developing conversations with people and maybe finding differences and similarities with these people, and by getting new experiences, which will stick to your mind and modify your behaviour, habits and actions.
During my time here I have been doing all these things and I feel I have already changed as a person. But I think it’s time for me to start thinking about what of those things that I learn every day or what conversations I have every day are the most interesting for me. Maybe after my ten months here I can tell who I am and what I want to do “when I grow up”.
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.