15 janeiro 2019

O testemunho da Nerea

Há 7 meses abandonei a minha casa rumbo a Lisboa e há 7 meses estou a crescer como pessoa e como profissional no meu EVS. E muitas coisas acontecieram durante todos esses meses. 
O meu EVS na Sociedade Portuguesa para o Estudo das Aves (SPEA) é uma das melhores experiências da minha vida. Estou a trabalhar no que eu mais gosto, com um grupo de pessoas incredível e disfrutando todos os dias. Além disso, graças ao trabalho de campo viajo o país de norte a sul, de Miranda do Douro a Sagres, conhecendo Portugal e as suas regiões e tradições. 

No mes de outubro aconteceu umo dos momentos mais importantes no EVS: o On Arrival Training. Caminho a Gerês, lugar onde decorreu o meu On Arrival Training, não tinha muita vontad de estar ali. Eu sou timida, e no momento de conhecer pessoas novas tenho medo e inseguridades, mas no decorrer dos dias em Gerês tudo ese pensamento mudou e foram uns dos dias mais fixes em tudo o meu EVS. Apesar de não dominhar o inglês, conheci montes de pessoas de diferentes nacionalidades (Espanha, Turquia, Austria, Poland, etc), que são agora amigas. Ficar 6 dias no meio da montanha com pessoas diferentes e interesantes foi um dos aprendizajes mais boms de estos meses.

No mes de novembro, aproveitando um fim de semana, visitei Porto com algumas amigas do escritório. Apesar do frio gostei immenso da cidade e comí o prato estrela dali, a francesinha. ADOREI. Foi também o momento ótimo para me reencontrar com muitas das pessoas que conheci no EVS e disfrutar um bocado mais uns dos outos.

Também estou desfrutando de Lisboa, dos sitios mágicos que há nesta bonita cidade e das pessoas que tive sorte a conhecer durante este tempo.

Agora começa o ano com bons propósitos e ainda tenho 5 meses por delante que vão ser iguais ou melhores aos 7 meses anteriores. 

O testemunho do Fran

The people over at Spin asked me to write a blog post to “to share my personal experience with others, as this might help them be aware of the program and get involved”. So I was thinking about what to write about to make you, the reader, involved in an EVS. There were so many topics that came into my mind; I could write about my personal experience, I could write about what EVS consists of, I could describe Lisbon and living in Lisbon, volunteer life, what it feels to leave your hometown for a new place abroad or I could even have the audacity to tell you what to do with your life; do this or do that, how dare you not do this or how dare you not do that! But I will not write about these things. I feel other volunteers have written about all these in a manner and fashion (and enthusiasm) I could not dream of matching. There isn’t much of a point in adding one more to the tens of similar posts in this blog. Scroll down (or up) if reading about the aforementioned topics is what you seek.

But, I have to write about something, therefore I would like to give you a small piece of advice. I strongly recommend you, volunteer in potency, to do your research before joining an EVS. Before engaging in a project like an EVS, which usually implies having to move far away from your house for at least 3 months and up to a whole year, try to understand what becoming a volunteer implies. Get a clear understanding of conditions, tasks, responsibilities and expectations (both yours and from the people you’ll be working with). Go through any information available about the project you are applying for and talk to the people working there to inquire about any doubt you may have. If there were any older volunteers contact them to get a clearer image of the whole picture. Doing and EVS can be a good decision, but shouldn’t be a lighthearted one. 

I might have made it look a wee bit grim, didn’t I? But dread not. I did not mean to scare anybody. In fact, I hope the opposite! EVS is (or at least, can be) such a wonderful experience in one’s lifetime that it is a pity when people do one without really knowing what they were up for and end up having a subpar experience because of this. 
The bottom line is; EVS can be a great option but get to know where you getting in before doing one. If you are interested in doing one, do your research. If you feel the whole thing fits you and what you want to do, go for it! 
Anyway, here goes the third picture.

04 janeiro 2019

Why not?

Do me a favor, do an EVS. Leave your hometown, your family and your friends and go abroad. And if I can give you a suggestion, move to Lisbon. One of the best things about being part of the European Union, is having the possibility to go on Erasmus. EVS, ESC, Erasmus+, it doesn’t matter the name. What matters is that everyone should take advantage of it, and experience living in another country, at least once in life. Why? Because life is so short and the world is so big, and you have already spent 25 years living in the same place. Aren’t you tired? Don’t you feel it’s time to really live the world? Going on holiday somewhere is not enough. To get to know another culture, you have to live it. Probably you will not manage to get to know each and every culture on Earth, but why not giving it a chance? What do you have to lose? Nothing. What do you have to win? Everything.

Just go to the EVS database (I know you have already saved it in your bookmarks), have a look at all the projects, think about which countries you would like more (don’t be just the average Italian… people can also survive in countries where it’s not always sunny), choose some projects that would be right for you, and apply. It’s so damn simple.

I will not tell you to go to Portugal because it’s beautiful: you already know. I tell you to move to Lisbon because the language sounds like Russian and at the beginning you will not understand a word. I tell you to move to Lisbon because you don’t like to eat fish and they will just try to offer you bacalhau in every possible way. I tell you to move to Lisbon because climbing up and down in the streets of the city centre will make you miss riding your bike so much. What I mean is, go out your comfort zone, so that you can really say “with every broken bones, I swear I lived”.

And once you are there, just take advantage of every single moment. Meet the local people, talk to them, fake your best italo-spanish-portuguese accent, learn why they laugh when you try to say “pão”, eat queijo & fiambre in almost everything, ask for a menu “pequeno-almoço” at Padaria Portuguesa at 4h in the afternoon, teach portuguese people that spaghetti is not a side dish, decide if you like more Sagres or Super Bock, listen all the time to Brazilian Funky and never to Fado, climb 75 steps to reach your house, learn by heart that “este comboio não para em Arroios”, go to the night bakery almost every night even if you are not hungry, have a cafezinho while you wait for the 747, go to IKEA to work when you have tele-trabalho, look everyday for Ryanair offers to go to Azores (and Madeira, and Spain, and France, and Cabo Verde…), pretend you’re still a student and ask for discount on museums tickets, buy thousands of black-and-white tote bags and take pictures of graffiti for your Instagram, visit abandoned hotels and steal broken azulejos. In every situation, just ask yourself one question, “why not?”.

Again, life is so short, and you only get one. What are you waiting for?

Letter to my past self,

02 janeiro 2019

O testemunho da Romea...10 meses depois


It has been 10 months since I first arrived to Lisbon, and since then a lot has changed…

Firstly Spin's volunteers since I first arrived already left and new ones came. And each of them brought something special to Spin and to the atmosphere in the office. We had many projects during all this time from which we learned a lot but mostly we had fun with all the participants. In two of the projects Live it Lisbon! i had my first cooking workshop witch was so much fun, and all the participants were amazing and it was very nice to see people from all over the world making Croatian traditional dishes. During summer there was a lot going on in Spin, some of the days were hectic but with good communication among volunteers we managed to make everything happened. I had the opportunity to make videos with volunteers of other organizations to talk about their EVS experience, and it was very fun and interesting to see what they do, also was fun making the videos and learning how to edit. Rewording part was that my videos were featured in Feira da Luz in Carnide. Wintertime in Spin is a bit calmer but we still do have work to do. We had a project with 5 youngsters from France who were here for a month doing internship, and I had my first mentoring experience. They were all so hardworking and eager to learn English and Portuguese, since some of them did not know any foreign language. My mentee was amazing with her language skills, positive attitude and work abilities, she even got a job offer for the next year. All in all it was a really good experience of being a mentor. I still have some plans to achieve before my EVS finishes. 

During all my free time in past 10 months especially during summer, I have travelled a lot trough Portugal and Spain. I visited north, middle and south of Portugal plus Azores. A few years ago I lived on Madeira so I know a lot about all the places in Portugal now. All of the travels were different jet so amazing and special. I cannot choose one that was the best because all the parts have something to see and experience, well maybe I enjoyed the most Azores, because I like islands especially because they look like a Jurassic Park jungle truly amazing and calm, and a good “escape” from the urban jungle. 
I have meet a lot of amazing and special people during all this time, but also a lot volunteers had finished their EVS and returned to their country, but by now I get used to people leaving all the time and new ones coming. However, I am glad that the ones that I am the closest with also decided to stay in Lisbon after EVS like me. Before I needed a guide trough Lisbon streets but by now I am the guide to all the new people who come but also to my friends and my family when they visit. I truly fell in love in this city and all of its beauty. By now I know all the beaches Lisbon has, all the best bars, best restaurants…but there is still so much more to explore and learn…