29 maio 2019

Project "ACT together" in Romania part.2

Our Portuguese participant Marisa is on the volunteering project in Romania from beginning of March. First part of associations report you can find here.

After two weeks of stoppage regarding the Easter holidays, ACT Together is already at full power again.

The beginning of the third month of the project, was toasted with European Week, from the 6th till the 9th of may, and it was proposed to the volunteers to approach this thematic in a wider spectrum in the institutions. During this week, the volunteers were doing interviews to some beneficiaries as well as to others volunteers. This interviews were regarding issues like European Union, our organization as a continent and the personal perceive and perspective of democracy in Europe. They were recorded and publish on Europe's day, the 9th of may on social platforms they used to work with as Facebook or Instagram.

Part of the team was, at the same time, having their on-arrival training at Bucharest, during the first week after holidays where they were receiving this important process of learning to help them to support their colleges, team output, personal development and be more prepared do face the challenge of their own project.

After the first presentation at Bals, the work proceed in this school with the next steps, the explanation of the necessary details about European Solidarity Corps, with all the process of becoming a volunteer being described and the fundamental ways to enroll in the platform of ESC. Once is a volatile project, and has the interest of reaching a large number of beneficiaries in different institutions, the work to establish new partnerships and possible institutions doesn't stop. Example of that are the schools where the volunteers started to work with during this month. Liceul Voltaire, Energy Technical College, Tudor Arghezi High School, Scoala Gimnaziala Traian and Tudor Arghezi High School in Segarcea. In all of this institutions the volunteers started to present the association, following the presentation of themselves and the project they are working with, and started the activities regarding the objectives of the project. During the past weeks of the month, all this institutions had the chance to receive ACT Together team in person.

Depending on their specifications, the method of establish the meetings and the activities have been  adapted and built to reach the maximum potential of the project goals. Interviews, debates and interactive gam
es have been examples of some methods used. Since the proactivity and ambition don't stop, the volunteers also did an approach to the University of Craiova, so it can also, possibly become one more community of interest where they could collaborate.

All the possible interested beneficiaries have been addressed to have some extra support regarding possible enrolls as future volunteers, for that, the ACT Together volunteers received some beneficiaries in their office, with the purpose of complementing doubts, curiosities, questions and additional information that could help them to be more clear about local or international volunteering opportunities.

In the following weeks they will keep to raise awareness of the volunteering life, the ESC promotion, try to enroll more volunteers in the Solidarity Corps platform and reach as much youth as they could.

28 maio 2019

O testemunho da Magda

There are thousand reasons to do EVS, and I do believe all of them are important. Each volunteer starts project with his own story. Questions about why now, why this country, why this project, why EVS are frequently heard questions. You may ask, why I left my dog, family and friends, stable job and cool apartment to start everything from the scratch in a foreign country? I have only one answer: Porque não? 

Now, after few years of dreaming, I'm writing to you from sunny Lisbon, a place where winter is only in your room, a place where you have to go out in order to get warmer. Lisbon - a city of thousands view points, from which every next sunset is more beautiful than the one yesterday. Yes, I could complain about countless amount of hills and stairs that are always on your way. Nothing is going to destroy the feeling of being in the right place in the right time, even the 76 stairs that I have to climb few times per day in order to reach my house. 

I could talk about Lisbon day and night, but EVS in not only about the place. If I should describe my typical day of work I would be in serious trouble, such day does not exist. I moved here 9 months ago and so far, each day was different.

Spin Association - my hosting organization, is a youth organization that promotes youth mobilities, share youth information and also develops their own international projects (both Erasmus+ and others). We also have first social hostel in Lisbon. 

My ESC is quite peculiar, in a nutshell, other volunteers are my work. By saying this I mean coordination of voluntary projects, ad hoc support of all volunteers, organization of social events for volunteers, preparation and development of European projects as well sharing youth information and support the hostel stuff. 

At first I thought beginning was intensive, later on I realized that time flies faster and faster and my days will never be as calm as they were during first few weeks. I arrived to Lisbon on Wednesday afternoon and already next day at 8 am I started to work. Few days later I've already delivered workshops for a group of 30 people from all over the world, became friend with Portuguese bureaucracy, worked in hostel, was a tour guide in the city, a chef, trainer and facilitator. Today, 9 months later I'm not able to name all the things I managed to do here.   

You may wonder how does it feel to meet a former trainer from a project who is now participant of your training? Or maybe you are curious about the feeling you might have, when after you design a game, the biggest pessimist discover his passion for games and becomes a running horse? How is it to know foreign country better than your hometown? Cooking pierogi for bunch of hungry people? Sewing clothes, creating seed bombs, eating million variations of bacalhao and pasteis [ps. there is also pastel de bacalhao]? All this and even more happened during my project. My bucket of memories is full of memorable moments, thanks to which piece of my heart will always be here, in the city of seven hills, on the coast of Tagus river.  

People say EVS is not a year of your life, it is whole life in one year. EVS is kaleidoscope of emotions and impressions. Majority of them cause big smile on your face. By doing voluntary service I wanted to have an adventure that will change my life. I'm not sure if my life has changed, but for sure Lisbon changed me and I admit, not all changes are scary :) My last task of this adventure is to say goodbye - to the project and volunteering, to Spin, to Lisbon and after all to the group of wonderful people, thanks to whom even the worst day could transform into the best day in a blink of an eye. 

Would I do EVS one more time If I had a chance? Absolutely yes! Would I chose Lisbon? OF COURSE! Even though my EVS has finished, I decided to stay here a little bit longer and continue SPINning the world, because WHY NOT?

ESC experience from "Les Amis de la Giraudiere" (France)

The first week of our project is done and we are glad to share the beginning of our adventure with you. We are all very excited for this journey so let’s have a look on what we have been through the first days in Brossac, France. Talking only about ESC volunteers the first participants arrived at 04th May when even after a long day they decide to join the local ‘Fete’.
The first evening was spent meeting the international volunteers of La Giraudiere and the locals, trying to have some conversations in poor French and tasting French barbeque while sitting around a bonfire.

In the next days, the other participants arrived creating the new family of Giraudiere wich include : Angjela from Greece, Patricia from Portugal, Hugo from Germany, Vladimir from Russia and Laura from Spain. Besides, we would also like to refer to the international participants, who make our project more colourful. We are talking about Tom, a retired pilot from Texas, Peter, a researcher from Boston, Muriel from France and Shirley from Australia.

We start the week with a group trip to the nearest town, called Chalais where we could visit the traditional market, the castle of the town and exploring its beautiful streets. Afternoon was followed by an orientation from Paul, the project Director, when he analyzed all the project’s goals and set the week schedule.   While each one of us take turn to cook a traditional dish or their favourite food, always caring about everyone’s tastes and diet requirement. We were also introduced to the French teacher and already learn some phrases in French.

Friday night we visited one of  restaurants of the village, which is located just in front of the lake, thus it has a good view to end an of.
To end up, in week-end we visited the city of animation, Angouleme. Even if it was a rainy day we all enjoyed the trip. (Leonardo)

O testimunho do Damien

As time goes by the ending clap of my EVS is already around the corner, "desculpe "of my ESC. 
9 months of everything. Like an explosion of emotions, feelings, reflection on yourself, some small and big challenges along the way. Well, you understand the concept, it's a bit of everything.

3 "moments" of my journey could give an idea of this experience. Picking up only 3 of those multiple moments was hard because it's like having to choose between coffee and Pastel de Nata. 
Why not both?

Portuguese language. Learning Portuguese was definitely the biggest challenge. Since I arrived I attended to several classes and met so many people. As I was starting from zero I've been through various levels, from beginner to intermediate. Been progressively an active user of the language gave me the possibility to feel myself more integrated and involved at my workplace. By a good day I am even able to hide my strong French accent when I speak Portuguese… but only for 2 minutes, after that it will come back again. I do believe that learning a foreign language is more than communication. To me it's also a stepping-stone to integration, interaction with locals, cultural exchange and probably much more.

Lisbon half-marathon. On March 17 I ran the Lisbon half-marathon and got the unique chance to pass by 25th April Bridge. The bridge is open to pedestrian and runners only for marathon and half-marathon. It was such a great view. Going out of my comfort zone was challenging and at some point uncomfortable, especially because I didn't knew what to expect as It was my 1st time on this distance. I'll always remember how I felt when I crossed the finish line. So happy and proud, I did it man! This experience showed me that if you focus on what you can learn from a new challenge you already did half of the way. In a near future my next challenge will be to run a full marathon.

Picnic. Together with Crescer's team and beneficiaries of the project we did a Picnic in - Jardim da Estrela. This friendly environment full of life and colors is a beautiful garden. The idea was to share this time together out of work routine and to take this opportunity to get to know each other as persons and not only as workers and beneficiaries. In addition to cheerful mood each one of us was free to bring food and drinks. Adults were eating and speaking about their own experience in Portugal while the kids were playing together. After having enough food in our stomach we ended up dancing a traditional Kurdish dance. Let's call this "go with the flow moment". Beeing responsible of organising this activity was exciting and the best feedback I had was to see a smile on everyone's face when they left.

As my journey will finish soon the best I can do is to enjoy as much as I can till the end. Big thank you to Spin, Crescer and all the people I met that made my stay so special. Obrigado para todo Lisboa, vou me lembrar de ti. 

27 maio 2019

O testimunho da Anna

They say that in order to grow as a person it is necessary to get out of your comfort zone. You’ll feel uncomfortable, uncertain and scared at first but once you have taken the leap of faith, you’ll be grateful.

In the beginning of 2019 I realised that my 9-to-5 job wasn’t fulfilling me. I longed for something new and different, a complete change of environment. I found myself scrolling the European Solidarity Corps database looking for a volunteering project that would spark interest in me. A project in Lisbon came up. A city in a country I had never been to but was curious to discover.

Everything about Portugal seems to be a contrast to Estonia – it has mountains, lots of sun, the ocean, and a relaxed vibe. I was convinced it was the right match for me.  I applied and a few days later I was invited for an interview.  It was a success, I was chosen. I remember that my first reaction was a big loud YES!! However, shortly followed by OH NO, What have I got myself into? How will I get all ready for my departure in 5 days? Did I even choose the right project? I’ve never worked with children before; maybe they’ll all hate me? What if I cannot manage my finances well enough? What if I do not connect with any of the people there? Am I too old for that?

There were a lot of ‘What if’s.  All in all it seemed to be a better idea to hide under the covers and not go. Luckily I realised pretty quickly it was just anxiety about leaving my ordinary circumstances.  By the next morning I had clamed down. It was time to get busy with ä all the arrangements for my departure. Last days  in Estonia went by really fast.

At Lisbon Airport I met Agnes, another volunteer from Estonia. She was a wonderful help for me during the first days in the city. Also, it’s great to have someone in the flat speaking your native language. So far I’m having a great experience. My fears have not been justified. I get great support from my sending and coordinating organisations, I like my work, my flatmates and other volunteers are all kind, fun and supportive people, my living conditions are great, and the city of Lisbon is just love at first sight!  But what I am most happy about is having taken the chance to get out of the comfort zone and dive into the unknown.  Until further updates.

14 maio 2019

O testimunho da Barbára

Estou há pouco mais de um mês na Bratislava e minha experiência de voluntariado tem sido incrível! No meu caso, tenho desempenhado tarefas variadas o que ajuda a semana a ser mais dinâmica e nem um pouco maçante: até agora para além das atividades do dia-a-dia, tivemos a chance de ir falar com jovens do high school sobre as oportunidades de Erasmus em uma cidade pequena, próximo à fronteira com a Hungria.

Para além da atividade em sala de aula onde começamos a quebrar o gelo e explicamos os programas de ESC e Youth Exchange, levamos os alunos para fora para conduzir uma atividade mais dinâmica e descontraída e que prezasse pelo maior envolvimento dos mesmos.

Ter estado nesta cidade e conhecido esses jovens me fez descobrir diversas questões sobretudo históricas e culturais sobre esta parte da Eslováquia, para além de ser bom ter um dia de atividades produtivas fora do escritório e conhecer uma nova localidade.

Nas semanas seguintes, ingressei em atividades promovidas também fora do escritório. Junto do Career Center, participo de um workshop de aconselhamento profissional voltado a imigrantes em um centro comunitário da Mareena, onde consigo obter não apenas uma perspectiva sobre o mercado de trabalho local mas também ouvir sobre a história de colegas de outros países que buscam a inserção no mercado de trabalho eslovaco.

Na European Youth Week nós estivemos em um festival na beira do Danúbio com um stand junto de outras organizações para falar com as pessoas acerca das oportunidades de voluntariado, Trainee e Youth Exchange e foi um momento muito interessante onde pude conhecer pessoas trabalhando com a temática e descobrir um pouco mais sobre outras organizações e até mesmo as outras pessoas do stand, visto que eram de pontos distintos da Eslováquia e me ensinaram coisas sobre o país além de darem dicas de localidades para visitação.

Recentemente estivemos também em uma feira para promover as atividades e oportunidades para jovens sob a égide do programa Erasmus + onde pudemos conversar com pessoas de idades variadas e explicar o passo-a-passo para os interessados. Ter contato constante com as pessoas traz uma nova ótica sobre todo o processo e tem sido enriquecedor em muitos níveis!

O testemunho da Érica

Cheguei a Itália no dia 11 de março, numa noite de tempestade. Quando cheguei à minha nova casa não me apercebi bem do lugar onde estava, mas quando acordei no dia seguinte, deparei-me com esta incrível vista. Estou numa pequena casa, com mais 5 pessoas de diversos países (Espanha, Letónia, Sérvia, Itália e França – Ilhas Reunião (http://www.marineadventures.org/project-m-a-r-e-2019-meet-our-team/), onde podemos relaxar e trabalhar num belo terraço com vista para Capri, Ischia, Procida e Nápoles, e também disfrutar pores-do-sol fenomenais.

Durante a primeira semana fizemos uma série de atividades para nos conhecermos melhor e conhecermos melhor o local onde vamos passar estes 9 meses, inclusive uma atividade de hiking, com pistas, pela península Sorrentina. Quando chegamos ao destino (Monte di Torca) disfrutamos de um picnic italiano e conhecemos também alguns amigos do projeto (http://www.marineadventures.org/hiking-in-campania-the-project-m-a-r-e-2019-has-started/).

No final do mês de março tive a oportunidade de passar o meu aniversário fazendo uma atividade no mar, em Nerano, com estudantes dos USA. Fizemos uma pequena introdução sobre peixes, desenhámo-los e saltamos para a água para os podermos ver melhor, numa atividade de snorkeling.

Entre algumas atividades na natureza e no escritório, tivemos também um mês de aulas de Italiano e um dia por semana onde tivemos a oportunidade de disfrutar um pouco da cultura Italiana, com cozinha tradicional, música e alguns conhecimentos culturais.

Apesar de ainda não ser tempo de verão, já começamos a explorar o Mediterrâneo, com algumas atividades de kayaking e beach cleaning. Ao mesmo tempo, também fizemos uma atividade de sensibilização focada nos problemas ambientais que estão a afetar os nossos  oceanos, como a poluição, as alterações climáticas, as espécies invasoras, a sobrepesca e as alterações no ecossistema causadas pelos humanos.

Estou a viver uma experiência fenomenal, numa nova cultura, com uma nova língua e com pessoas fantásticas. Não posso esperar por partilhar convosco as novas aventuras que estão por vir! Até lá, podem acompanhar a minha aventura no nosso blog: http://www.marineadventures.org/blog-en/.