31 outubro 2017

O testemunho da Petra

So what happened since the last time I wrote the testimony?

A lot. New volunteers arrived, some left, then new ones came, I changed appartment, participated on on-arrival and midterm trainings, participated in info session and eurodesk session where I shared my EVS experience with portuguese youth, I led workshop “We are all equal”, I helped in the hostel, I replied on tons of emails, I learnt people how to make gluten free meal, I saw old ladies’ excitement when they renovated their old clothes, I shared Slovenian inventions on Noite Europeia dos Investigadores, I was part of Spin Banca for Sant’Antonio, I painted walls in hostel, I put dishes in and out of dishwasher countless times … 

I also got some visitors, I visited some places in Portugal, I got good moments and I had bad ones too. But this is all life. It really doesn’t make any sense to deny the reality. And at the end you realise you don’t need many things to be happy. All you need is to be true to yourself and others, be calm, have faith and life will show you a way. :) And you need a friend and a dog too. ;) :* :*

Petra Mršnik

29 outubro 2017

Intercâmbio TH!NK: youth & the post-truth era

Aqui temos mais testemunhos dos participantes do curso do intercâmbio TH!NK, que decorreu de 9 a 17 de Outubro de 2017 em Lisboa.

Jakub Kitel, Poland
Post Post-truth
The most important part of youth exchange for me was talking to people. Despite cultural differences, we all share common fears and anxieties. In these times people either don't have a vision for themselves, or they don't really believe the narrative they are telling themselves. No one feels appreciated, no one feels in the right spot. Pop-culture based in democracy fed us with lies about being able to change the world, given that we work hard and really believe, but the world was never changed by the will of common men. Joining any kind of political or sociological movement will change every day to a game in which we think in terms wins or loses about cases that don't affect us. And being a part of this system based on the mirage of importance always means losing. These are not times of great ideologies or plans, rather a small prejudices and silent convictions that can pose as universal truths about the world. Trying to find a solution or those “universal truths” will only lead us towards more lies and cruelty. Because the only truth lays in people – our common need to feel safe – we can achieve it by choosing narration, joining the conversation within the system and losing, or ignoring conversation and focusing on people that are close to you, and trying to be the best version of yourself for everyone else. I want to believe, that post-truth society is heading towards the world in which we don’t lie to ourselves about the importance of our beliefs, but rather focus on the only truth that always mattered – other people.

Marta Kuncer, Poland 
Sunny Lisbon, or Spin Association to be precise, hosted youth exchange „TH!NK: youth and post-truth era”. Since I’m interested in critical thinking and role of media in a modern world I decided to take part in it. Group of 30 people from different corners from Europe met together in a street-art-dominated Barrio Padre Cruz. We spent a week exploring the topic in a non-formal education way and simply sharing a time together. Workshops were dedicated to critical thinking, freedom of speech, manipulative fake news, comparison of various national perspectives, guidance to facts checking and other. Participants had an opportunity to explore the topic fully but it, of course, depended on everyone’s own engagement. Surrounded 24/7 by Portugueses, Italians, Macedonians, Scots, Poles, Estonians for a week we had plenty opportunities for a cultural exchange. Some were limited to small talks, while others – fortunately - went deeper into political/social issues. It’s clear that there are some still rather big differences when it comes to gender equality, education, corruption, basic human rights, freedom of press, homosexuality and others in each European country. What I find pretty common after this youth exchange is universal lack of respect for each other. Even though we bonded and liked each other it didn’t stop some people from not listening to each other, being late, or simply assuming that they will get things done for them by somebody else – to name a few examples. It was a valid reminder that whether it comes to a short youth exchange, longer social project or a society itself – the participants who play a part in it are the ones who are shaping it after all. I had some interesting interactions and conversations. Upside was to see people who left their own country for the first time, being a bit insecure, and how much they opened during the whole week. I believe that’s where youth exchanges are truly fulfilling their role. They are safe, organized platform for the youth who never before had a chance to go abroad and have more engaging interactions with people of different culture.

Caroline Männik, Estonia 
Even though I have been in quite several youth projects, I still felt extremely excited when i got to know that i can go to the youth exchange in Lisbon. This experience was something completely different for me as I have never been in Southern country, neither been in a group leader`s position. But first of all, try to imagine arriving to Lisbon as an Estonian. You are used with cloudy and rainy weather and with wearing jackets and scarfs all the time. But then you take a flight and suddenly you have sun and can wear shorts even in October. I`m pretty sure that I got overdose of D-vitamin here. We came to Lisbon a day before the official beginning of the youth exchange and used the free day for exploring the city and it`s fascinating mosaic walls. I`m so satisfied that we came earlier because it helped to create strong group feeling inside our Estonian team. Next day we arrived to Spin and got positively surprised how cool Bairro Padre Cruz is, especially it`s street art. After introducing ourselves through couple of games, we understood that with these participants we will have really memorable project... and we were right. Throughout next few days we got more familiar with the topic of the youth exchange, we discussed what is the definition for the post-truth and shared examples from our countries. I enjoyed watching documentary called “HyperNormalisation” and I`m sure that I will watch it again once i arrive back at home. After having intensive workshops in Spin we also went discover Lisbon with the whole group, visited museum, Media lab and stunning castle. What made this youth exchange very different from my previous projects is that every nationality were responsible for preparing the whole dinner for the participants. It was obviously very stressful, but at the same time it improved our teamwork and cooking skills. Everybody seemed to love trying out different cuisines, starting from Italian pasta, ending with Polish pierogi. Overall, this youth exchange was magnificent and I`m going back home only with positive memories. 
Stay positive, 

Esmeralda Ferati, Italy
Hi everyone! I'm going to write shortly for my youth exchange in Portugal. I didn't know about the existence of this project until me and my friend talked about it. I came from Italy where these programs are very popular but I never thought that I'm gonna be part of the similar one. Now I'm here, taking the best of it! At the beginning, I wasn't convinced about the success of the project. We were people from different countries like Italy, Estonia, Scotland, Portugal, Macedonia, Poland and I thought it would be difficult to interact with each other. But my suspicion wasn't real. Different activities made us know each other and now we behave like a family. Looks like we are part a TV Show and every day we have some tasks to complete to achieve our goals. Fortunately, we achieved all the goals together with no differences. When I write about tasks it comes up in my mind the firsts ones, when we had to remember all the names of 30 people. The very first one was that we had to choose by causality one secret friend and we had to do something special for them to make their day beautiful and interesting. I did it for my secret friend but unfortunately, I didn't receive anything from my own secret one. But anyway my days were beautiful and more beautifully. It wasn't just for the activities that made us know each other there were also activities that made us know more about the world around us, some things that weren't said before to us. We discussed too many topics that show the main our days problems such as was the Post-Truth, about media, politics and society.

27 outubro 2017

Intercâmbio TH!NK: youth & the post-truth era

O intercâmbio "TH!NK: youth & the post-truth era" decorreu de 9 a 17 de Outubro de 2017 no Bairro Padre Cruz em Lisboa. Aqui ficam uns pequenos testemunhos de alguns dos participantes

Agata Siwak, Poland
I had decided to participate in my first youth exchange only 4 days before it started. At first, I wasn’t sure if I was ready for it, but as soon as I got there and met these incredible people, I knew it was a place for me. I loved Lisbon, especially at nights with live music. The atmosphere, the company, the weather… Everything was perfect. Thanks to the people, workshops turned out to be exciting and interesting. The hosts did their best to give us another great experience. Having participated in this youth exchange, I can surely say that it will not be the last one.

Aneta Ligenza, Poland 
It was my first youth exchange. I was really excited but full of fears about my skills and knowledge. New experiences, new people, different cultures. The subject of exchange was for me interesting. I'm a street photographer and knowing about post-truth is for me necessary. Every workshop was a great way to learn new skills, listen to other participants. This exchange wasn't only workshops but meeting new people, sharing our passion, trying new meals from 5 other countries, sightseeing and exploring Lisbon all together. I think I will be looking for another exchange because is a great way to explore Europe.

Shirley Van-Dúnem, Portugal
Being in a youth exchange for one week can make us experience different emotions: we can be homesick or find another home next to new people, we can feel tired and really exhausted and even without energy try to enjoy the experience to its fullest because we know that in a blink of eyes it will all be gone soon. Living in the host country of this youth exchange remember us of the pressure to treat others like we would like them to treat us, it's all about learning, respecting boundaries and turn what makes us different from each other the reason why we need each other.

Ana Sofia Abreu, Portugal 
As a Portuguese girl I had only participated in Youth Exchanges outside my country, but Spin gave me the opportunity to spend ten days with amazing youngsters in Lisbon. The experience was quite different. Being from the hosting country makes us have a different participation in the programme as we are able to communicate with the natives and know the surroundings. Regarding the thematics, the workshops were very interesting and my knowledge about freedom of expression and freedom of press in Europe changed my perspective, as some countries still struggle with this issues. The multicultural differences between the participants is also one of the things I liked the most. With so many historical and personal backgrounds it was impossible not to learn so much about the other countries and other nationalities- we even tried typical meals from each country. Also, the friendship built in these 10 days just proves that no matter how different we are, the foundations of respect and togetherness are real and we all feel very European! And in the end of all this, what we learnt the most is that... what's really important is to TH!NK !!

Kristo Tamm, Estonia
I spent a week in Lisbon, Portugal as part of an Erasmus+ Youth Exchange. The exchange gathered participants from Estonia, Portugal, Poland, Macedonia, Italy and Scotland. The project was extremely constructive, interesting and beneficial. The topic of the exchange was an important one: post-truth politics, combined with the concern for the youth and their ability to navigate in this new world in which we now live. During this 7-day exchange, we had a wide variety of constructive exercises that helped develop our critical thinking and analytical skills. We had workshops with smaller groups, thus giving everyone a chance to speak their mind, but we also had exercises involving everyone at the same time. Additionally, we watched a thought-provoking documentary, visited Lisbon, and enjoyed each other's cultures, by having country dinners each night. As this was my first youth exchange, I did not know what to expect. However, all my expectations were exceeded, as the project was organised superbly, the participants were nice and the location was beautiful. I made a lot of new friends, learned about some lovely cultures and gained a huge amount of new knowledge about the topic of the project. 

Lola Milkovska, Macedonia
This is my first youth exchange and therefore I am very happy to be part of it.I think that is very inspirational to bring people from different countries together and make them work on different thematics. This youth exchange made me think more critically towards media and politics. I gained new skills, knowledge and a great experience. This was also my first time in Portugal.I get to know more about the political, cultural and societal aspects of this wonderful country. It was great and challenging to be part of the intercultural evenings.I am happy I had the opportunity to bring the Macedonian cuisine and tradition to the participants from different countries.I also enjoyed the other international evenings and cuisines and therefore I feel closer to the other counties. It was a pleasure to be around this kind of people because I made new friends and I experienced new things. I definitely recommend Erasmus + mobility projects to young people around the world.

Pedro Carvalho, Portugal 
This was my first time doing a youth exchange and I really enjoyed it! During this last week, we did a lot of different activities to get to know each other and also discuss the topic of post-truth. What I liked the most about this experience was the interaction with people from other countries and to learn more about them and the history/culture of their countries. I learned a lot I didn't know about these countries and now I want to visit them to learn even more and experience the wonderful things each country has. I'm taking a gap year and now I'm thinking about doing a trip around central and eastern Europe to visit some of the countries that were represented in this youth exchange. I really enjoyed the theme of the youth exchange as well, I love thinking about topics such as freedom of speech, what is truth, politics and media manipulation... I think these projects are a great opportunity to meet other people and learn about interesting topics and what it means to be European. It's also a good way to travel so I want to do youth exchanges in the future outside Portugal so I experience what it's like to do have an experience like this in a different country. To sum it all up, I think the projects and activities were very well organized and the people amazing!

24 outubro 2017

O testemunho da Maria

I can’t write much about my EVS experience, yet. After all, this is the first month; I’m still getting used to my new routine, I keep meeting new people, I discover new places every day and I form new habits. In other words, I’m still setting up my reality for the next nine months. 

Like in every beginning, I feel like a child that has been given paints, a brush and an empty canvas to fill it with the colours they want. I’m full of excitement and anticipation, willing to undertake challenges, to create an impact to the society, to see myself grow and improve… I want to develop new skills, learn more about the area of youth work and discover new career prospects. I want to find new passions, learn Portuguese, adopt elements of a new culture and get a fresh perspective. This is an opportunity for me to fill my canvas with colours I haven’t used much before. The other days I heard some EVS volunteer who’s been here for a while already saying that this is the “honeymoon phase” when everything seems exciting and ideal and that later on there will be some moments of crisis along the way. But I’m looking forward to exactly that: the creativeness, the tiredness, the fun, the homesickness, the friendships, the frustration, the laughter, the “nice to meet you”, the goodbyes. It’s all part of the learning process. I don’t know if after my EVS I will know how to write or run a project or if I will be fluent in Portuguese but I’m sure that I will be more self-aware; a better version of myself.

So bring me the paints, the brush and the canvas and I will create a painting to make my life a little more colourful!

O testemunho da Olga

Confesso que nem sei como iniciar este post… Tive uma oportunidade tão única e especial que fica difícil transmitir por palavras tudo o que vivi e senti nestes dias… 
A Área Marinha Protegida onde faço o meu EVS colabora muito activamente com o Centro de Recuperação de Tartarugas Marinhas da Estação Zoológica Anton Dohrn de Nápoles. Para além do trabalho veterinário de recuperação de tartarugas e devolução à natureza, este Centro faz também investigação e dedica-se à identificação de ninhos na região da Campania, protegendo-os e estando presente no momento do nascimento das tartarugas para garantir que elas vão bem para o mar. 
Já no último dia de Agosto eu tinha tido a oportunidade de ir até Palinuro, praia onde está o ninho, para verificar a temperatura da areia e aplicar a fórmula que faz a previsão do dia em que acontece a eclosão. Nesse mesmo dia, uma tartaruga Caretta caretta foi encontrada ali perto e nós transportamo-la até ao Centro.

Falei então com o meu coordenador sobre a hipótese de ir com o pessoal da Estação Zoológica para a eclosão do ninho de tartarugas. A resposta foi positiva e eu parti para aquela que seria uma das aventuras mais lindíssimas vivida até agora em Itália
No dia 14 de Setembro fiz a viagem na carrinha do Centro. Para minha surpresa, três pequenitas viajaram connosco para se libertarem em Palinuro! E foi o que fizemos mal chegamos lá: libertar estes seres tão pequeninos mas tão fortes naquele mar imenso! Que sensação!

Voltamos para a praia e montamos acampamento. A organização Sea Shepherd Itália também estava presente! Suponho que já se estejam a questionar porque não deixamos que tudo isto aconteça naturalmente? Quando as tartarugas nascem deviam seguir o brilho que o mar reflecte. Infelizmente a mão humana encheu a natureza de luzes artificiais e quando elas saem da areia vão na direcção errada e a maioria acaba por morrer… Como não queremos que isso aconteça, ali estávamos nós…

Os dias eram preenchidos com os turnos de vigia (sim, o ninho não ficou sozinho por um minuto!), muita conversa entre todos os presentes e muitos banhos no mar (sim, também aproveitamos o facto de estarmos a viver numa praia!). A falta de conforto não parecia importar, estávamos ali felizes à espera de contribuir de alguma forma para a Natureza que tanto teimamos em destruir…

E eis que dia 19 de Setembro, por volta das 22h se começa a ver um bocadinho de areia a mexer… E sem conseguir explicar, os meus olhos encheram-se de lágrimas! Não sabia como um momento tão fugaz e tão simples podia ser tão belo e tocante! Vê-se depois um bocadinho de uma cabeça negra e puff, uma tartaruga! Que emoção! Passa um bocadinho e eis que surge outra tartaruga… Fantástico! E… um vulcão de tartarugas! Ahaha! 67 tartarugas a emergir da areia ao mesmo tempo! Não havia mais tempo para distracções, este era o momento para o qual estávamos ali! Pesaram-se e mediram-se algumas tartarugas para estudos científicos e depois foi a altura de elas começarem a andar para o mar. Mesmo com um corredor montado e ladeado por plásticos escuros, algumas não seguiam a direcção do mar… Nós ajudamos! E pronto, lá foram elas para a sua jornada… Quanto a nós, resta-nos continuar com os turnos e esperar caso alguma nasça mais tarde…

Como mais nada aconteceu, no dia 22 à noite abriu-se o ninho. O que significa isto? Os responsáveis escavam o ninho para verificar se há alguma tartaruga viva que não tenha sido capaz de sair e para perceber o sucesso da eclosão. Felizmente só lá encontramos 4 ovos que não se tinham desenvolvido o que faz uma taxa de sucesso de 95%! Excelente!

No dia seguinte arrumamos tudo e voltamos à nossa rutina (se é que isso existe num EVS). Estou felicíssima! Obrigada Area Marina Protetta Punta Campanella, Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn e Sea Shepherd!

Olga Azevedo

O testemunho da Lucía

Sou Lucía, uma galego-portuguesa em Lisboa. Mais uma vez escrevo sobre o SVE. Gosto de reflectir a minha experiência no blogue para que pessoas interessadas no voluntariado vejam esta grande oportunidade.
Como referi nos artigos anteriores, estou a trabalhar no CAF (Componente de Apoio às Famílias) na Escola Básica de São Vicente, no bairro de Telheiras. Tráta-se dum espaço onde se desenvolvem atividades de ocupação de tempo livre para as crianças do primeiro e segundo ciclo da educação primária.
O meu papel aqui é dar apoio nas actividades rotineiras e saidas, dinamizar actividades, escrever reportagens para o jornal Vicentix (site: vicentix.wordpress.com), assistir às reuniões gerais da equipa, fazer decorações para as diferentes salas e cartazes, participar nas férias e eventos que decorrem no CAF, brincar com as crianças e tentar ser guia no caminho da sua aprendizagem.

Começamos um novo ano letivo com o aumento do número de crianças pelo que tivemos de fazer um horário mais comprido. Actualmente dou aulas de Filosofia dois dias por semana, sessões para o segundo ciclo e para o grupo do terceiro ano. Dispor dum tempinho próprio para fazer as minhas actividades é muito fixe! Além, tenho liberdade para abordar qualquer tema e utilizar os diferentes recursos que há no CAF. Já tenho implementado Filosofia Positiva, Filosofia Ambiental, Filosofia de Investigação Absurda, Filosofia Emocional e Filosofia Alimentar.

Depois de cada sessão é importante repensar e tomar notas sobre possíveis melhoras. Tento pesquisar e elaborar coisas relacionadas com os gostos das crianças para desenvolver actividades estimulantes e divertidas enfocadas nos seus interesses. Por exemplo, na próxima sessão tenho pensado fazer Filosofia Narrativa. Contar histórias através de baralhos de cartas do Dixit e do baralho espanhol. Estou a ver que a fórmula funciona. Acho que gostam!
De forma transversal abordo a educação em valores, o coperativismo e as inteligências múltiples. O objectivo fundamental das minhas sessões é aprender a pensar, mas sempre aprendendo felizes. Sem dúvida alguma, a materia de Filosofia para Crianças devia estar integrada no curriculo de todas as escolas pois é a base para construir o pensamento crítico.
Decorreram já quase oito meses e fico com grande pena porque o meu SVE está quase a terminar. Contudo, continuo com a mesma motivação e ilusão do início.
Sinto-me muito cómoda, valorizada e integrada na equipa Vicentix. Fico agradeçida pela ajuda e boas dicas de cada um dos monitores e do Guerreiro. Também gosto de ver como as crianças confiam em mim, sentir o seu carinho e respeito, ser um apoio para eles quando alguma coisa não está a correr bem.

A nível profissional estou a tirar boas aprendizagens na educação não formal. Ao mesmo tempo, tento contribuir no CAF com a minha bagagem na educaçao formal. Acho que o meu carácter pacífico e tranquilo dão serenidade e organização num ambiente onde às vezes há um bocado de confusão. Existe uma boa conjugação!
A nível pessoal apercebi-me que o voluntariado foi uma espécie de terapia para mim. Estou a ganhar confiança em mim mesma, perder medos e inseguridades. Nunca fiquei arrependida de tirar a licenciatura de professora porque é a minha vocação mas o facto de não encontrar um emprego digno no meu pais magoou a minha auto-estima.
Aproveito a conjuntura para fazer queixa da situação que está a viver a minha geração na Espanha sobre a fuga de cérebros. O Estado inverte na nossa educação e da-nos boa formação. O problema chega depois quando queremos abrir caminho no mundo laboral. As possibilidades de empregabilidade são baixas. Muitos jovens acham uma solução na emigração e procuram opções no estrangeiro. Um exemplo claro é o Serviço de Voluntariado Europeu.
No CAF Vicentix estou a ver que tenho qualidades suficientes para trabalhar na área da educação. Estou com fome de fazer coisas e crescer profissionalmente!
Geralmente sou uma pessoa demasiado perfeccionista e exigente. Neste tempo estou a pôr em practica a espontaneidade. Dei-me conta que nem sempre posso planejar tudo e ter baixo controlo as coisas.
Há duas qualidades que nasceram comigo, mas aqui estou a potencia-las: a responsabilidade e a empatia. As crianças são o nosso futuro, um tesouro que temos que cuidar. Indirectamente formamos parte do seu crescimento e adoro sentir que posso ajuda-las no seu percurso.

Apesar da incerteza sobre o meu futuro, o meu propósito nesta última etapa é aproveitar ao máximo a oportunidade. Só posso tirar coisas positivas do SVE como: aquisição de experiência para o cv, boas amizades e carinho dos miúdos, aprendizagem da língua portuguesa, qualidade de vida e independência...
No anterior artigo tinha dito que gostava muito de Lisboa e já quase era uma alfacinha. Agora tenho que acrescentar mais uma coisa. Estou a curtir tanto do CAF São Vicente que já me sinto uma Vicentix de coração. Obrigado a todos por fazê-lo possível!

O testemunho da Katerina

After I finished my bachelor degree in European Studies, I did not want just continue studying, I needed to experience something different. I wanted to travel, live abroad, learn new things and new language, but in the same time I did not want to lose this year for nothing, I wanted the gap year to be useful for me. When I found EVS opportunity it happened to be the best combination of everything for me. And so in October 2017 I started my journey in Associação Spin for 9 months.

My first weeks here in Lisbon were full of curiosity, exploring and searching for “This is my new home” feeling. Now already after 3 weeks I can say I found it, I am starting to settling down here, feeling very comfortable, having friends and getting to know the good places around. I fell in love with Portuguese culture, food, language, people, history, art and architecture on the first sight.

Until now in Spin we hosted an Erasmus+ youth exchange where I helped with many things and also the administration. I attended six similar Erasmus+ projects in my life, so to be in a new role was very interesting for me. Also I managed to get to know the neighbourhood of Bairro Padre Cruz where Spin is located. Our suburb is famous for the second biggest open-air street art gallery in the world. Now I feel more involved in this community.

For now, I find EVS an opportunity to grow, develop new skills and meet people but I am still at the very beginning of my challenge and I cannot wait for all my future experience, knowledge, challenges, self-growing, start of my Portuguese course, travelling and my on-arrival training course in Guimarães!