07 abril 2021

O testemunho no. 1 da Henri (SPIN)

Olá! I am Henri, a new Spin volunteer from 1st of March.

I come from snowy Estonia, where I was working as an assistant in TV shows. Before that I did a short term ESC project + woofing and working holidays visas in different countries. After a few years of working in Tallinn I felt like I really wanna be part of volunteering service again. I found out that Associação Spin was looking for new volunteers. I applied and had a flight here in Lisbon - city I already felt in love from my last visit. 

Arrived here in a nice spring time. When I could feel sunny warm weather. Also when covid pandemic is lowering (compare with January and February) and restrictions were loosening. 

A Really nice time to walk and wander around the city. Looking all the beautiful architecture and street art. Love all those cute narrow streets and little rocks of all pedestrian roads. Also many big parks chill riverside area. And of course  awesome coastal line and sandy beaches. Only one thing to always remember -  when walking around the city can't forget to watch on your toes otherwise might step into a dog poop.

I am happy to be part of a Spin team. After few we were able to meet and have a meeting in real life. What we could do under the big three next to the Spin office and kindergarten. Surrounded by lovely local neighborhood Bairro Padre Cruz  full of street art worth checking out. 

Also we were finally able to host other volunteers in there and definitely looking forward to this year, to meet and get to know more nice volunteers in this sunny Portugal! 



06 abril 2021

O testemunho no. 1 da Eliisa (SPIN)

Hi everyone! My name is Eliisa, but people here know me as Elsa and I am a new volunteer at Spin Association! 

It has been 4 months since the decision to change my life and become a volunteer thanks to a really great recommendation from a good friend with the same experience. After that everything is already foggy, the time went so fast since applying, interviewing, confirming and arriving. The moment I realized that I am really doing this was when I was already landing to Lisbon which by the way- the most amazing moment in my life so far.

A month has passed since I arrived to my new home. It is still hard to wrap my mind around it- this country is where I will be spending the next 10 months of my life so in between busy moments of exploring I try to take a few breaths to take in the moment. The first weeks were amazing even though we were quarantined for 14 days since we came from Estonia, but we could still do small walks around our home. To our surprise near our home is the most prettiest park for first impressions-Marques de Pombal. This first month has all been about getting to know our neighborhood and familiarize us with Spins activities. We started with online meetings and finally after self isolation we got to meet Spin office and the area its located- Barrio Padre Cruz and of course our most wonderful Spin hostel. 

My greatest pleasure so far has been the welcoming of new volunteers which meant that we would cook a lovely meal to welcome our new amazing friends. For now what is next hopefully we are able to start organizing Live It Lisbon! Hopefully you will hear more about it soon😉



30 março 2021

O testemunho no. 1 da Cristina (SPEA)

Hello everyone, I am Cristina, a girl from Salamanca, Spain, who started her ESC volunteering on the 1st of December 2020, the last Spin's volunteer of the year. 

Since I arrived, I have been very well received by the rest of the volunteers, especially by my flatmates, together with whom I have been meeting and discovering new people and places, and all of them were amazing. I am very happy because, despite of COVID, I’m still feeling that we have done a lot of cool things and plans. 

Regarding my project, I am a volunteer at SPEA (Sociedade Portuguesa para o Estudo das Aves) in the Department of Terrestrial Conservation, but also collaborating with the Department of environmental education and the maritime one. 

I feel very lucky to have this great opportunity, because I know that I’m going to learn and enjoy a lot. And I think that SPEA's work is essential, because environmental conservation cannot be worked on isolated. Society's support is needed so this effort and work are not in vain. Therefore, it is essential to educate and raise awareness to create the interdisciplinary environmental revolution that World needs.


Apart from my main Project here, I am also doing other activities to continue learning and growing in a personal way, like the Portuguese classes organized by Spin, some online courses, painting, or groups with local people, as my new Batucada's group: '' Nice Groove ''; which I could not miss in my Lisbon experience this year (because all the previous times that I have been in Lisbon were with my batucada group from Salamanca "Blocco Charro").

Because all of this, although we started the year with another lock down, I still have a lot of desire and energy to be able to carry out all the events, activities and good times that await me this year. 

I'll keep telling you in few months! 

Beijinhos, Cristina.

23 março 2021

O testemunho final da Polina (SPEAK)

Time flies and it is already the end of my ESC project.

It’s time to evaluate my experience. I spent a year in Lisbon, and I fell in love with this city, its spirit, people who live here. I couldn’t imagine a better experience in all the given circumstances. I met so many people who became my friends, and I am sure that we will continue speaking and meeting each other in different places of the world. 

This year I learned so much about myself, and I think it’s one of the most precious gifts ESC can give to a person. I learned how many things we actually can choose for ourselves, how many things depend only on us. I learned a lot about independence and friendship, about different cultures and people, about inside and outside freedom. 

I am not sad to say goodbye to this time because this experience is not going anywhere. We became somehow a part of it, and it became a part of us. 


19 março 2021

O testemunho final da Kerim (SPIN)

Heyy, what’s cracking y’all? Kerim a.k.a. KC got the mic to throw a free-style testimony.  

 It has been almost 11 months since I have started rolling as an ESC volunteer at Spin association. It was a bit hard to get used to life in Portugal because the starting date of my project crossed with the spread of Covid-19 in Europe and that was a lil bit whack. After a while, I started clicking anyway because of the friendly people in my host organization and the sunny weather in Portugal. It was a life-changing experience through hard, tight and a’right moments that I could have never imagined to have had  before coming to Portugal.

Despite the fact that I wasn’t been able to go to the office and collaborate with my teammates closely, I have always tried to do my best as an ESC volunteer. I spent such a tremendous effort to manage Spin’s Instagram account. It was challenging but in the end, I felt that my sweat drops paid off completely because I learned a lot about preparing useful content for promoting youthwork. 

     I enjoyed and experienced greatly through interacting with people from different cultures. One of the biggest moments I have ever had in Portugal was meeting with one of the greatest artists and the rising star of Portugal called “Bruno Reis”. His unique creativity and vision about transforming the music into another whole dimension of art during his show made a huge impact on the audience including me and my company M to the I, R, I who had the most rejoice among the fans.

     Besides, another markable fact was about the fishermen in Portugal because when I looked at those guys, I could clearly see that no matter what kind of physical difficulties they face with, the attitude was always simple “never give up, never surrender”. I felt the enlightenment and relief through watching them because it was inspirational. I know that people go to Portugal to see natural beauties and amazing Portuguese culture including delicious cuisine with dishes such as Bacalllhau and Francesinha but It also worths seeing the harmony between nature and fisherman based on my experience. More than that, I will be always missing to watch the amazing sunset in Lisbon with my half-eaten cheeseburgers and a couple of candies while spinning some rhymes by the inspiration I got through the vibe. 

Long story short, during the time I have spent in Portugal, I have become more aware of social obstacles and the importance of intercultural integration. ESC is a kinda program that everyone should participate especially after getting graduated from the university because I believe that it is quite important to experience giving to the community without receiving a considerable amount of money. Coming to Portugal as an ESC volunteer was one of the tightest decision I have ever made in my whole life. The last but not the least, I wanna say thanks to my unofficial mentor J-Roc who helped me go through the hard times in Lisbon. I am also thankful to Erasmus+ program and Spin Association for giving me that opportunity to widen my vision about life and people. 

Let me say goodbye to y’all in my whacky style;

“blaaap shiggida erriip erriip blaap zhyeaeaa erriip shiggida erriipp sliiippp peaceeee”

18 março 2021

O testemunho no. 1 da Mikk (SPEAK)

My name is Mikk, I come from Estonia and I started my ESC with SPEAK in February 2021.

I decided to go to Lisbon because I wanted to get away from the cold and super hard-working life. I had been in school and logistics job scene at the same time for 2 years by now. This was very stressful for me. The main reason for arrival was to get a little rest and clear the mind from narrow minded mindset. To think outside the box. To be open for new possibilities.

I remember my travel day here really well. I woke up at 5am in the morning in order to reach to the Tallinn’s airport. Since it was a snowstorm outside it took a while for them to clean the wings of the plane with hot water and some foam. The plane could not take off on the right time and I was late for my transit in Frankfurt. I ran and walked really fast and used my good map locating skills to reach to the flight to Lisbon. Luckily boarding was delayed by 15 minutes so I reached it. I saw many other planes getting canceled from Germany later in the Lisbon airport. 

Finally I was in Lisbon and had to take a corona test where I waited an hour to make the test and then another 8 hours to get my results. It was late already and there were many available taxis waiting for costumers near the airport. 

The first day here already fascinated me when I got outside. I went to the supermarket and to an healthy walk. Architecture was so different from Estonian style. The streets were very clean. It was really warm and I didn’t have to wear my winter coat anymore. It still hangs on the rack till this day without it being used anymore. All in all I was really happy with the outside. 

I didn’t see my flatmates very often on the first days here because some of them were in isolation due to Covid situation. After this difficult time we were reunited and could socialise very well. The people that I am living with are all very nice and respectful. I really appreciate that. One thing that I have noticed about the flat though has been that people come and go. Only a few decide to stay for the all year. This is most likely connected with the unequal room distribution. It just doesn’t make sense to share a room with no window or a room where is no space for table and chair. Those who stay are staying mostly because of friends, patio or financial situation. For me it doesn’t matter much because I have shared worse conditions than this. On the other hand I have also lived alone in a studio apartment and I loved that one with a private kitchen and bathroom. 

Last but not least, do I miss Estonia? Well I can still be in contact with my family and friends, but I do miss some food. Mainly good sour cream/dipping sauces, the best mayonnaise, black bread made from rye (in Portugal they have the ones made from wheat), chips with flavours, dumplings and smoked salami that is also extremely good there. Sorry Chorizos from Spain and Portugal are good, but it is not the same. In Lisbon I have discovered some new recipes to cook like prawns, bacalhau. I have not tested more because I have no idea how to cook them yet. I also have ordered bitoque which was very good. I like that I can buy cactus, lichi, mango and other interesting juices here that they don’t sell in Estonia. Also the wine is really cheap so it can be used for both drinking and cooking. And last but not least, the very good thing about Lisbon is that pork is so cheap and it has always been one of my favorite food to cook. 

17 março 2021

O testemunho da Bárbara (Volunteering Now)

Chamo-me Bárbara Gomes e estou a voluntariar na Irlanda do Norte. 

O meu trabalho passa normalmente por horas ao computador em reunião com a equipa, ou com programas de ação social (e sendo com menores não posso divulgar). No entanto, esta semana ajudamos o grupo a compor o vídeo que irá sair de um dos grupos, sobre o qual envio a seguinte captura de ecrã: 

Este voluntariado não segue nada de acordo com os planos, mas encontrei um equilíbrio que possibilita mudar os planos. Se por um lado o meu trabalho digital diminuiu pelo atraso de eventos, durante estes novos meses os centros de vacinação mantêm os voluntários ocupados e aliviados por finalmente sermos úteis nestes tempos.

Nos restantes intervalos de tempo, em que haver um balanço entre projetos pessoais, que esperavam por atenção há algum tempo, passeios para algum exercício físico e acompanhamento de grupos de jovens em programas de ação social. Como todos os voluntários internacionais, sinto a falta de viver e conviver, mas sermos úteis neste momento faz-nos ter esperança para o Verão.

Além disso, faço turnos de voluntariado no centro de vacinação de Ballymena, sobre o qual nao posso tirar fotos. Num projeto paralelo à minha organização, sou voluntária para a Olio, de modo a combater o desperdício alimentar - como nao tenho capacidade para recolher os alimentos, faço propaganda digital e distribuo flyers e cartas personalizadas pela minha área quando preciso sair de casa.