05 dezembro 2016

Growing sand in my head! EVS "I help, I grow!" by Wojtek "Bacana"

My service took place in Lisbon, Portugal and lasted 12 months. I lived for one year here:

Amazing, isn't it?

This one with shorter 'rastas', as locals call dreadlocks, is me. I come from east of Poland, small city called Biala Podlaska. I love my place of birth, however at some point I fell in love with whole world. It is a wonderful place and it seems that we – human species – do not respect it properly. I try to. And I encourage everybody to do the same. With small steps. Nothing radical.

And talking about radical stuff... Organisation that hosted me in Portugal is called Azimute Radical. It is a non-profit institution with 15 years of experience in using adventure sports (like climbing, trekking, paintball, rafting, canoeing, scuba diving...) as a tool of informal education and social inclusion in city of Lisbon. Their work takes place especially in Carnide zone (where exist two social neighbourhoods). During my project these two social neighbourhoods supposed to be my main area of social intervention, and till some extent they were – many actions during my service took places there. Other types of activities in which I have participated were located either in Carnide zone (cooperation with other associations, with local authorities or local non-formal groups) or in Adventure Park that Azimute Radical is managing outside of Lisbon:

Very radical stuff in very radical adventure park!

Personally my co-workers weren't that radical. They were family - AZR family - and they took very good care of me and other volunteer – the best Italian ever – Roberto.
Our Service started with adaptation period that lasted more or less three months – till the end of November 2015. During this time our hosting organization provided us office space to work, presented zone in which they are operating, and slowly included us in their daily, routine activities (such as promotion of their offer, maintenance of their equipment, preparation of social events done by them in this period). At the end of this period hosting association had their annual meeting of members connected with 14th anniversary. Part of our duties was helping them with preparation and execution of this event.
In December our hosts gave us project to develop. Idea was their, but the researches, development and implementation was up to us. Project was called ‘Percursos de Carnide’ and was about inventing and identifying in space walking and running thematic paths. All located in Carnide zone. During next three months we were developing this idea on our own.

Me again. And my working place. We spent here long hours!

Finnaly, at the beginning of March, the brochure was done! We described there five thematic paths. Paths were presenting historical, cultural, associative, nature and simply curious places from zone in which we worked. Good job? It is not for us to judge. But this was for sure the best job ever. Just see:
Again me. Ehh. The happiest moment of my EVS!

It was 6th of January. Dinner with local elders. I have never felt better while preparing potatoes, serving dishes, talking and dancing with grandpas and grannies. It is nice to help communities, to be part of it! I recommend!
Starting in March the level of our responsibility increased.  Due to that also number of hours that our co-workers put on us went up. In march main responsibility were half-colonies with kids that lasted two weeks around Easter holidays. And in April we participated in professional training course for instructors of association’s activities. The number of hours that we were working these days was much bigger than we supposed to as volunteers and this created some internal conflicts between us – volunteers and the rest of co-workers. After training course given for us by Azimute Radical we decided to talk with president of the association and we sought for some help within coordinator association – amazing SPIN association. Talks that we have done with them brought good results and we managed to change our weekly work schedule in accordance with Erasmus+ rules. Unfortunately relation with other workers of hosting association become more distant and cooled a bit. However I manege to pass the training course and received a diploma of adventure sport monitor, so the effort put into the course brought good results.
May, June and July were months of applying new weekly work schedule and months with many activities in social neighbourhood that brought to me new motivation and a lot of joy. Applying knowledge acquired during training course was also satisfying. In June and July we were part of the crew responsible for kids during half-colonies and this experience, tough it was demanding, was also very pleasing and interesting. In July I have participated in mid-term training and I used this time for self-evaluation of my development and evaluation of what have happened during my Service. In the end of July we have done final evaluation (as August in Portugal is a month of holidays – many institutions decrease amount of work or stop working – we wanted to do evaluation earlier) with presence of member of coordinating organisation and the hosting one. August, thanks to our not-that-radical hosts, was a month of personal discoveries and adventures – holidays! And, unfortunately also saying “até já”.

27 novembro 2016

O testemunho da Agata

A year ago, during my first month as an EVS volunteer at Spin, I was still getting used to my new life in Lisbon. Exploring the city, getting to know other volunteers and my flatmates, trying to communicate in Portuguese in shops, figuring out my new way of living and new habits. Even though Lisbon was my love at first sight, not everything was very easy at the beginning. Nevertheless, I knew that I had been given an amazing opportunity. I had a chance to spend 9 months in Lisbon, which was my dream and it would be an enormous waste not to use this time in the best possible way. Step by step, I was discovering what makes me happy, where and with whom I like to spend my time and quite soon I started to feel that I am exactly where I was supposed to be. At home. :)

The voluntary work at Spin allowed me to try new things, acquire new skills, meet even more people from all over the world, who were participating in youth exchanges and summer camps. When I got more responsibilities and had to help with organizing some of the Spin's activities, like Live it Lisbon! Summer Volunteer Camp or Make it Happen! Youth Exchange, it reminded me of what I used to be good at and it gave me an idea of what I would like to try as my career in the next few years. We'll see if it works out!
It also turned out that I really enjoy having many flatmates and now I know that when you find the right ones you can create a unique kind of community, not only spending great time together but also supporting each other and knowing when to give each other space. Now it would be very difficult for me to live alone again.

My EVS experience helped me to open up, meet many interesting, unforgettable people coming from different countries and different cultures and learn from them. It taught me that there are many ways of living your life and the biggest challenge is to step on the path that you feel is right for you, even if it doesn't match expectations and ideas of others. It was also a great chance to discover Portugal and I took it, however I still want to see more of it. :)

I saw that living abroad is not that scary and it gave me courage to look for some other opportunities outside of Poland. Right now I'm doing a traineeship in Barcelona and I keep my mind open for what may come next. My EVS was 9 months of intense, unintended and inevitable self-development, for which I am the most grateful. :) And I didn't give up, I'm still studying Portuguese! ;) Obrigada Spin, obrigada Lisboa! Até breve!

14 novembro 2016

Conhece o Eloy, o nosso voluntário chegado de Madrid.

Quase seis meses depois, aqui estamos nós, aqui vamos seguir.

Já passou quase metade da minha experiência SVE em Lisboa, com seus altos e baixos, suas idas e vindas, pessoas vão, as pessoas chegam... Eu não posso dizer que esta sendo chato, em seis meses eu não tive dois dias iguais.

No que diz respeito ao meu projeto, Vicentix (CAF São Vicente), não pode ser melhor. Os dois meses de trabalho que tínhamos no verão estamos dedicados a ir à praia, piscina, museus, eventos, peddypapers em diferentes partes da cidade de Lisboa ... nós estão agora a ser atropelado o curso e fazer avançar as várias actividades previstas, continuamos educar e aprender todos os dias com as crianças. Pela minha parte, estou retomando o curso de forma gradual, certas circunstâncias me impediram de iniciá-lo normalmente. Mas eu sou muito grato pelo apoio e compreensão da Spin, Joseph (meu coordenador na escola), colegas de trabalho e amigos. Com eles tudo é possível. Agora estou circulando próprios projetos para no início da escola.

Para tudo o resto ... é ainda melhor. Tenho amigos e colegas maravilhosos, estou começando projetos culturais, ajudando muitos outros, viajar, fazer música, conhecer pessoas de todo o mundo e milhares de outras coisas. Mas acima de tudo aprender, aprender muito.

Em suma, a experiência só confirma a minha paixão por esta cidade, e Portugal. Não sei quando, mas vemo-nos em breve!

02 novembro 2016

Nossa nova EVS: testemunho da Paola!

Sometimes the life chooses for us, and often it chooses suddenly. 
Everyone of us knows, at a certain point, when the change time is arriving, it is something that you feel, you don’t know how to explain to the others, and maybe you don’t know what you are looking for neither , but you know that you need it. I was looking for a change, I wanted to go to Spain, a country that I have always loved for its culture, language, food, I was planning everything  to move, and instead my change has been different, and it is named Lisbon.
We start a little bit before! My name is Paola, I’m 30 years old, and I come from Naples, one of the most beautiful cities of Italy, but I haven’t felt it as my home, for me “house” is another beauty city, Rome, where I have studied and worked for 11 years. There, I have found friends, I have experienced opportunities and every kind of situations that have changed me, but after all these years I was tired to do the same things every day, without enthusiasm, creativity, or no ideas to put in my job. I was literally alienated. 

I was unsatisfied and I didn’t know what to do for changing my life, and suddenly I have discovered an opportunity: the EVS project. 
It was no clear what it consisted in, but there was written two interesting things: Lisbon and sport, the last one, my huge passion. I thought: maybe it could be what I’m looking for, even though I thought to be “too old” for being take into consideration really, but in the past I had lost the opportunity to participate to the Erasmus project for several reasons, and now I didn’t want to lose another one.
I had almost forgotten my application form, when a day I have done an interview and  I have been selected to move in less of 10 days, and so, I have upset my previous life and my new house has become Lisbon, a city that I knew yet, because the last summer I was here on vacation, and my new job’s place has become Junta de Freguesia de Carnide, a dynamic place, in which is clear that everyone works with passion because they believe in what they do for the citizens, a place where there is always a space for my ideas.

I have to admit that the first days have been terrible, because I needed to find a house in few time and I have discovered soon that it is not so simple because of lot of people who search at the same time, but  for me it was necessary to find a comfortable place where to live in, I mean, Lisbon would become my home, and I wanted to stay in a good way.
Fortunately, I have been able to deal with this first obstacle, and I have found a cute house in Moscavide, where I live with a kind and untidy landlady who teaches me a lot of new “palavras” and way of doing by Portuguese people, and I have to say that I consider her my first friend here in Lisbon.
I like the neighborhood, because it is full of shops, and I feel as I stay in my old quarter; it is comfortable and there is everything that I need.
I have appreciated three things in this first month: the efficiency of public transportations, Lisbon’s atmosphere, and  I have met new people.
The first is one of my obsessions, I like taking metro or buses because it’s my favorite way to discover the city and new places that people often ignore, and in addition, it is rewarding when you pay for a service that works!
The second point is tough to explain, but Lisbon, for me, is a strange city, with a surreal atmosphere, where old and new are mixed, where some things are at the forefront, and others are remained motionless over the time, as if the change did fear. Sometimes, I feel as this equilibrium could break suddenly and to generate chaos, but it is just my impression, because here everyone and everything has a slowly rhythm, where the is no place for the anxiety. 

The last point is very important for me. I have met other volunteers as me, they come from several countries; I know them a little, because we don’t work at the same place and I have few opportunities  to see them, and I feel that they are so different than me, my habits, and way of doing, but I hope that we can spend more time together, I’m not sure that we will become friends, because for me my friends are irreplaceable, but I would like to  find someone with which to share this important experience, where it happens something of good or bad, where I think that I want to come back home, or when I fell alone or enthusiastic for this opportunity.
 I have met also people who work with me in Junta, and I have to say that they speak a terrible english, but at the same time they are so kind and I appreciate their efforts  for teaching me the Portuguese, that I can forget their English! I believe that to find good people to work with, it’s a good way to start a new life. In addition there is always music in the office, and I really love; every job’s place should have music all time.
Honestly, every day I ask to myself if I have done a good choice, if to leave everyone and everything it has been right for me, I have left an entire life that I have built with huge sacrifices and efforts. People say always that the changes are good, but I say that everything depends on our choices, our feeling, and what make us feel good. 

For now, I’m happy of my choice, I’m glad to live in a charmed city as Lisbon is; I’m here to challenge myself, because I had lost trust in myself, and now I feel that I have a new opportunity to prove who is Paola, most of all to myself. 
I’m here also because I want to understand what kind of person I may be, what I want to do in my future. I have always lived following my duties, and I have never heard my desires or necessities, because for me the others were more important the me, and now, for the first time I have done a choice only for me, for my well-being; I feel free. 
I have always had few certainties in my life, but what I know now is that I will learn Portuguese, I will live in Lisbon for one year, I will visit new cities, I will study, I will change myself a little bit more, and who loves me, they will support and stay by me.

28 outubro 2016

Liberdade e desafios!

Chamo-me Maria mas aqui chamam-me "a menina que vem do frio" como sou da Polónia. Já não sou uma miúda que acabou de tirar seu mestrado.  Em 5 dias vou fazer 30 anos. Na Polónia deixei toda a minha vida - trabalho numa agência de marketing, família, namorado, amigos. Vim aqui para tentar algo novo. Conhecer de perto o trabalho da Junta de Freguesia de Carnide, praticar língua, revisitar a cidade que já me acolheu várias vezes. 

Nos primeiros dias da minha estadia foi convidada a participação no XV fórum de geração co-organizado pela Junta. Numa das primeiras palestras uma professora reformada falou de processo de integração de crianças dentro do grupo. É o mesmo pelo qual têm de passar todos os voluntários no SVE. Conhecer o seu ambiente, adaptar-se à situação, ser aceite pela comunidade. E disfrutar de coisas boas e novas amizades que se encontre no caminho.


27 setembro 2016

Bonjour Lisbonne: o testemunho do Jordan

Bom dia Lisboa.

Eu chamo-me Jordan, moro em Roujan, uma aldeia pequena perto de Montpellier na França. Depois de obter o meu diploma no turismo, eu decidi de viajar para a Europa para aprender línguas e culturas diferentes, mas também para crescer, não vamos mentir. Partir sozinho para uma cidade que não conhecemos e onde não falamos a língua pode ser assustador. 

Com muita sorte eu encontrei-me aqui, em Lisboa, uma cidade bonita, para fazer o serviço voluntário europeu de 10 meses. Quando cheguei na cidade, alguém da Spin veio me procurar, fez-me sentir imediatamente à vontade e explicou-me o foncionamento da habitação, do metro, da associação etc. Eles são pessoas muito simpáticas, sorridentes e te-faz querer aprender e viver aqui.

Eu gosto deste conceito de voluntariado num país diferente do teu, eu acho que não haja melhor maneira de aprender uma língua. Nós realizamos inúmeras tarefas sociais, intercambios interculturais, atividades de culinária onde podemos aprender e trocar diferentes refeicoes típicas de alguns países. Como se trata de pouco tempo, eu conheci muitas pessoas de diferentes origens. Eu visitei a cidade e descobri a deliciosa comida portuguesa.  

Eu estou aqui há uma semana e ainda tenho 39 mais, e pretendo passar ao máximo cada segundo que vivo aqui. É uma experiência extraordinária que eu aconselho fortemente aos jovens a pesquisa de aventura. 

26 setembro 2016

O SVE do João na Suécia!

Tanta gente, tantos momentos.
O meu tempo na Suécia tem sido brilhante, ofuscante, pesado, transformador e muito divertido! :)

Estou a fazer o meu período de  voluntariado numa pequena associação no Sul da Suécia chamada IFALL.
Trabalhamos com grupos de refugiados e comunidades locais em 2 cidades (Örkelljunga e Klippan) e desenvolvemos maioritariamente actividades de ocupação de tempos livres. Trabalhamos tanto como jovens como adultos, homens e mulheres. No fundo, promovemos espaços de reflexão, partilha e encontro para todos (O lema da associação é "Integration För Alla"), sem requisitos de papéis, vistos de residência ou complicações (a burocracia é um problema na Suécia... ).

E o que posso dizer sobre o meu tempo aqui?

Várias coisas! Em primeiro lugar, trabalho com pessoas muito especiais!
Tenho aulas de Sueco todas as semanas com dois voluntários da IFALL (o Stig e a Birgitta), que todos as semanas se juntam a nós no terreno de livre vontade e com enorme dedicação!

O Stig e a Birgitta, os nosso professores!

Uma das nossas aulas, com a cadela Nina, membro honorário da IFALL!

Also, tenho a possibilidade de desenvolver as minhas ideias e projectos!
Durante o mês de Julho desenvolvi um workshop de Fotografia em parceria com o Município. Os resultados foram espectaculares! :)

Uma vez por semana visitamos a cidade de Klippan, onde temos um segundo grupo de jovens refugiados. No geral vamos para jogar futebol e voleibol (o desporto é uma língua universal! Cristiano Ronaldo é a resposta mais comum quando lhes digo que venho de portugal! xD). No resto dos dias ficamos em Örkelljunga, onde há sempre muito que fazer!

Aula de Judo em Klippan.

Uma outra parte do meu trabalho aqui envolve os projectos de intercâmbio e formação. O local onde vivo situa-se junto a um lago, rodeado de natureza e com uma vista espectacular e é o mesmo local onde a IFALL desenvolve estes projectos. Partilhei este espaço com vários grupos e passei momentos muito especiais aqui!

Sobre o meu tempo aqui posso dizer que foi rápido, muito rápido.

Mas valeu muito a pena!


13 setembro 2016


The plane is doing circles above the Lisbon. One circle and another and another and... “Ladies and gentleman there is no place on the airport. We are flying to Porto.” That´s nice, I am few minutes in Portugal and already I will visit two cities. What is more, traffic jam on the airport. That´s interesting. Later it was confirmed by number of tourist I passed by every time I had a walk. But first what I will remember from the plane was Atlantic. Blue, dark blue, calm. Huge. Never ending line of water. And only near the coast calm ocean was changing into white waves while dancing with the coastal beaches. 
Me in the middle :)

So I am here. Lisbon. Still can´t believe it. I had this city on my bucket list. Someday, somehow I would visit Lisboa, I thought. Everything started a year ago when I decided that I would like to participate in EVS. Meanwhile I took part in two Youths exchanges in Romania and Cyprus. I was searching for a particular EVS which suits me more and where I can offer the best of me. I was very picky with the projects and I found only two which interested me but that time I wasn´t chose. So I decided to work abroad until I find a proper EVS for me. After working in Greece and Cyprus I went back to my country Poland and saw the advertisement about EVS (European Voluntary Services) in Lisbon. I was sure this is what I want to do and where I want to do it. This is it!

With every year I know myself better, so I know that I feel the best when I am surrounded by nature, culture, people, water and viewpoints. Viewpoint is the thing I need to live. Is like an air for me. I can´t survive without it. Lisboa has it all. Is like a place giving you that balance of city and nature. It is just amazing that you can have a walk with billion tourists in the main street and within few seconds find yourself in miradouro being on your own. Love that feeling. Makes you take a distance to things in your life and put your thoughts in order or simply inspire you. 

And exactly I am taking every from each of these. Spending first evening with my new friends from organisation, eating dinner cooked in a beautiful old kitchen covered by azulejos – typical Portuguese tiles, drinking sangria and after going to listen to live music performing by one of unknown artist. Amazing viewpoint in front of the river, sunset, people around. Can´t describe it. Just breathe the atmosphere.

Here are many free entry, open air events, so of course I would die not taking part in any. For the beginning my flatmates and I went to listen to Fado. And some love it. Some not ☺ I was on the bright side which means that the music and the voice of the singer astonished me. Add an intimate light and square surrounded by tiles covered tenement houses and it starting to be a bit spiritual, going down deep in to your soul.
However Lisbon is not only calm and sentimental, it is also lively and vivid at the same time. Having two days off I decided to take a short trip on the Carcavelos beach. First time swimming in the Atlantic Ocean! Now I know that one part swimsuit has a purpose. Wave are so strong that you don´t know what to do first, hold your pants or try not to go under the water. No matter what, waves are fun! All nations, all skin colours, all languages, all ages – everybody has fun with Ocean and waves. And it is a great chance to surf which is also on my bucket list!
Lisbon is other world and I love it!

08 setembro 2016

O testemunho da Ingrid

Hello! My name is Ingrid, I’m French and I am currently doing an European Voluntary Service in a Centro de Artes e Formação in the Escola Básica São Vicente in Lisbon. It’s an organization that takes care of the free time of the kids after school.

Me in a red dress on the right :)

I fell in love with Lisbon two years ago and heard about EVS during my last year of master when I was studying in Strasbourg. One of my teachers was the coordinator of European programs and youth mobility for the Alsace Region and talked to us about it. Thanks to him I started to look for EVS opportunities in Lisbon!

EVS is a unique opportunity, first of all a great human experience! My first three months here has been amazing. The project in the school started at the beginning of the summer program. I had the incredible chance to go visit Lisbon and discover great places. We went to the beach, museums; we also did sports, outdoor activities, paddy papers and many more!

It is a challenging experience to work with children in a foreign language. This total 
immersion made me progress in Portuguese really quickly! I was really surprised to see how welcoming and generous were the children with us. In September when the school starts again I will do activities with the kids in English and create an online journal with them. The team is great and make me feel really part of the project!

EVS is also a great chance to make new friends and share your culture and experiences with people from all over Europe! I love the life in Lisbon; it is an amazing and beautiful city, with so many things to discover and with an incredible energy! Lisbon is a special city with its light, colors and landscapes to get lost into. Portuguese people are really generous, I can’t wait to see and learn more about Portugal! I am really happy to be part of this adventure!

O testemunho do Luca

O meu projeto correu bem: se é isso que querem saber. Començou hà um ano e chama-se Boutique plus. Ajudei na gestão dum espaço cultural em Carnide chamado Boutique da Cultura.

Pensava que nunca ia dizer estas coisas -que pensava sò as pessoas velhas dizem-, mas o tempo, com a idade a passar, passa mais rapido, e enterei-me que è muito importante escolher as esperiencias certas para nao gastà-lo (quando for possivel).

Este, depois antes de mesmo terminar, posso dizer que foi um bom ano: as dificultades que enfrentei mostraram novas maneras de comportar-me e de pensar; os momentos bons ficaram fortes no lugar onde estão guardadas as minhas memorias,para eu lembrar quando for preciso escolher. 

No dia 2, para terminar com beleza (assim dizemos em Italia) vou començar uma viagem para regressar ao meu pais de carro e tirar um tempo para dignar esta esperiencia da reflexão que precisa para ser bem guardada.

Boas escolhas a todos.

Espreitem o blog Us+ criado pelo Luca e pela nossa ex-SVE Carolina onde nos contam as suas peripécias até Itália.