10 julho 2020

O testemunho da Veronica No. 1 (Junta de Fregusia do Lumiar)

I’m in Lisbon since the 1st of March, unfortunately I’ve arrived here exactly two weeks before the quarantine 
started. I can’t say to have been very lucky. During the quarantine sometimes it’s been hard. I couldn’t wait to start this new experience and, of course, the reality is totally different in comparison with my expectations. But despite this inconvenience I can say that I’m very happy to be here and share my time with other volunteers.

During this period I focused myself in studying Portuguese and improving my English. I also started doing sport and other activities, like painting and drawing, to relax in a such stressful situation. The positive side of this lockdown is that I had the opportunity to know better my flat mates and get friends.

When the lockdown finished we have been starting to go out and discovering new beautiful places in Lisbon, but also trekking in the nature. In June we also did beautiful trip in Alentejo and In Algarve. It’s been very nice!
I’m doing volunteering in Junta de Fregusia do Lumiar, a structure where we do many activities of after school and recreation for kids from elementary school. In May I finally started doing some activities with my hosting organisation on smart working. It’s nice having contacts with my colleagues and with kids, but I really can’t wait to meet them by person and implement and increase our activities!

After a very fresh and rainy spring, the summer is finally arrived and I’m enjoying and when I’m not working I enjoy my days to the beach around Lisbon with my friends. I’m having fun and I’m happy to have found this group of beautiful people!

08 julho 2020

O testemunho da Jeasmine No. 1 (SPEA)

Hi 😊
I am Jeasmine from France and I started my volunteering with SPEA (Sociedade Portuguesa para o Estudo 
das Aves) in Lisbon at the beginning of march.  Everything went super fast because I knew I was coming only five days before flying to Portugal, and I was super exited of this radical lifestyle change and above all incredibly happy to return to Portugal, to Lisbon! 
The first week I have met my flatmates, they were very nice, and they explained me everything I needed to know about the house. I am sharing the room with another volunteer, Veronica from Italy, and even though it is a particular experiment sharing a room for a long time and that I was a little bit scared about “what if we don’t get along AT ALL ??”, I am super happy that’s her because we get along wonderfully and I am sure that we are going to be very good friends ! We had the time to know each other better and had already really good moments together!

 Also this first week, we went to the Miradouro Santa Catarina, that has an amazing view on the river, the bridge 25 de Abril and the Cristo Rei, and there I met some other volunteers. We also went to the beach, that is pretty close to the city center and really easy to access! <3 We had our welcoming day where we get to know some other volunteers more.

The next week was the beginning for me with SPEA, I was sooo exited!! On the first day I get to know all the team and the afternoon I went to Moinho do Sado to count shorebirds. And back to the office I was told that I had to do 14 days of quarantine before going back to the office but finally the general quarantine and state of emergency started and I decided to go back to France has we didn’t knew how long it was going to last, and I was doing telecommuting so it was okay. I spent April, May and June in France, working from home with SPEA. We also had an online on-arrival training in April. It was very cool, we met other volunteers, had fun and it made us felt less alone. 😊

By June I was a little frustrated and sad not being in Portugal living at 100% the volunteering life experiment, but now that I am back I am being more optimistic and  I can’t wait to do my best and enjoy the adventure !

06 julho 2020

O testemunho da Ksenia No. 3 ((Associação Spin)

Pois, chegaram ao fim estes 9 meses, e parece que era o tempo mais tranquilo e despreocupado da minha vida. Mas tudo tem o seu tempo, e agora é a hora para eu fazer mudanças e trazer mais estabilidade e mais equilíbrio à minha vida.'

Não quero dizer adeus a nenhumas pessoas que se tornaram próximas a mim durante essa jornada. Espero mesmo que dê para ter novos encontros com elas no próximo futuro. 

E, com certeza, não digo adeus a Portugal, o país que não deixa de me encantar, pasmar e admirar. Vou sentir saudades e vou lembrar-me sempre destes detalhes, que em conjunto representam a minha experiência:
  As janelas e varandas com roupas coloridas penduradas em cordas;
O cheiro a bacalhau (amigo fiel) nos supermercados;
Os cães que correm felizes ao longo da costa;
A água geladinha do Atlântico;
  As pessoas desconhecidas que te cumprimentam quando passas por diante delas (fora de Lisboa);
Os motoristas de táxi que cantam ou assobiam umas melodias alegres;
As ruas estreitinhas, tão acolhedores e cheias de vida;
Os gatos que olham para ti das janelas;
O vento salgado do oceano e esse sabor do sal nos lábios;
O playlist da Padaria Portuguesa;
Cafés cheios, pingados, meias de leite e abatanados;
Os hikes com as minhas companheiras simpáticas ou sozinha;
Neblinas misteriosas;
Jacarandás em flor, que fizeram as ruas ainda mais esplêndidas.
E assim por diante... Enfim, valeu a pena! Obrigada por tudo :)

20 junho 2020

O testemunho do Kerim No. 1 (Associação Spin)

Hello, My name is Kerim from Turkey. It has been 3 months since I started volunteering in Spin Association. Although the quarentina had been started because of COVID-19 after arriving Lisbon, I was lucky that Spin Association and other volunteers welcomed me sincerely. They were quite friendly and that helped me a lot to get used to of my new life in Lisbon. I am satisfied about my experience since the beginning even though I was working from home. Everyone in the association is doing his/her best in order to contribute to the community.

Besides, I have started to learn Portuguese thanks to our teacher Aurelie who is another ESC volunteer in Spin association. As a fresh graduated electrical engineer, I am improving myself in various fields by volunteering in Lisbon.

Long story short, I am quite happy about the decision that I made by coming to Lisbon. I am excited for the next months and always feeling motivated to do my best.

16 junho 2020

O testemunho da Polina No. 1 (SPEAK)

Hi! My name is Polina, and I am volunteering with SPEAK in Lisbon. I came to Portugal on the 1st of March and two weeks later we were told to stay home because of COVID-19. Luckily, I went to see my hosting organization during those two weeks so I got to know SPEAK people a little and could start working from home.

SPEAK helps migrant adapt in a new country through language learning and communication. It is an amazing goal and I am happy to become part of this important job. First weeks were difficult because I had to start working immediately and help SPEAK move language groups online. I worked with a team to create new guides and materials, then translated them into French. It was challenging but not impossible. 

I also met my flatmates and other volunteers in Lisbon. I really like spending time with them and discover new places of this beautiful city. 

04 junho 2020

O testemunho da Marta No. 2 (SPEA)

The time passed pretty fast the next months. I kept hanging out with my friends visiting villages around Lisbon and going for hikes, like Sesimbra, Setúbal, Cascais, ... The day of the Carnival we were in Sesimbra, enjoying the parades and the different costumes that the people were wearing. We had many rainy days, but fortunately for us, just during the week, the weekends were full of sun, laughs, beers and friends.

I went back to Alicante for Christmas and it felt good to see again all my family. I came back for New Year’s Eve with a friend from my childhood and I showed her around (Lisbon, Belem and Sintra). We enjoyed the party, fireworks by the river, the delicious Pastéis de Belém and the amazing palaces in Sintra.

After that I came back to work as usual going again to fieldwork in the International Park of Douro river. It was as amazing as the first time, we even made a new fluffy friend. Unfortunately, because of the sun, the wind and walking so many hours, I got sick, so I had to stay home for a couple of weeks to recover!

I went with SPEA to Campo Maior, almost in the border with Spain, for the arrival of cranes in their migratory rout. But first, we stop in one of the schools to do an activity with the children. We made them feel how is a day for a biologist at work, so they went birdwatching with us and some binoculars. It was a magical moment seeing the cranes flying in the sky with those beautiful sunsets. A trip to remember.

New volunteers came and we all started to get along very well, until… the Covid-19 came…

28 maio 2020

O testemunho da Ana No. 2 (SPEM Sociedade Portuguesa de Esclerose Múltipla)

This experience is just getting better as time goes by. I feel very integrated in my organisation and I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to get to know better the people I work with. I am getting to know more about their lifes, the challenges they have everyday and their strength to face them. And besides that we are sharing fun and unforgettable moments. I have also started doing some workshops in portuguese, which seemed impossible when I started!

About Lisbon… it's amazing the experiences this city has to offer! I have been in theatres, escape rooms, so many gigs and art exhibitions!

And as the weather is getting better we have also been able to discover breathtaking places in nature! And what I value the most... is the people I am sharing this experience with! I am really looking foward to have more adventures together!