28 junho 2021

O testemunho No. 3 do Nabil (Bola p’ra Frente)

I blinked my eyes and in an instant, my ESC project had passed ☹.

Now, it’s time to assess my experience. Since my first day, I fell in love with this beautiful city, its atmosphere, food, and people. Regardless of all the given circumstances, I'm quite sure I had a better experience. 

I'd made a couple of observations about my ESC project and I'd say number one is that experience has turbocharged my capacity to develop activities in ways that I had never imagined before.So, you can always make an enormous difference when you put yourself in such a challenging situation.

Number 2, I learned and understand the power of moving people along, listen and helping them. That’s how you end up ultimately forging bonds.

Point number 3, the daily work at Bola p'ra frente has given a fresh impetus to me for continuing working on social and youth issues after the project. For this reason, I decided to keep up my volunteering work for the association.

ESC is a kinda program that I strongly recommend to everyone especially after getting graduated from the university because I highly believe that it is quite important to experience giving to the community much more than receiving.

Coming to Portugal as an ESC volunteer was one of the best decisions I have ever made in my whole life. It has opened the door for a better future for me.

I would like to thank the National Association of Street Soccer (my family), and the SPIN association from the bottom of my heart for this golden opportunity you provided me with.

This is not the end; this is just the beginning.



O testemunho final do Henri (SPIN)

Like many other volunteers, I also fell in love to Lisboa and thinked about staying to live here after the volunteering project. Sadly life had other plans and it's more important to be back in homeland already.

I will surely miss a lot - chill portugese lifestyle.That being late for 10 minutes is fine. That if you run to metro, some stranger will hold a door for you. 40 euro metro card that can used travelling  around as much as we want all the way to Setubal, Arrabida, Sintra and ohh yess of course Praia da Ursa. That sun is mostly always shining and can sunbathe every morning in my rooftop. Just going somewhere, discovering and meet international people every week.

And more and more of course, anyways specially if planning to stay here long term, can do more, live like locals - get a small dog, move around with electric bicycle and find a flat that is nice and warm for winter time - and life is good! 

Also there is one thing I don't miss about living in Lisbon, and that is peacock around my flat. Birds in general sing very nicely and are more quiet in night time but they ohh me they are something else.

I really liked my volunteering time in Spin organisation, because of the good team. Also nice office/hostel area for workplace. And the projects itself, never gets boring because always new kind of events coming up to plan and manage. New volunteers coming in to welcome. Only problem for this year specifically was that would have wanted to do more work/events, what was obviously not possible. But I think that's actually pretty awesome 'problem' to have. 

There were two biggest event that I was able to take part of - on arrival training and road trip to Castelo do Viana. They were really enjoyable, because it gave good feeling of what ESC project are. Not only volunteering in workplace and living with flatmates, but being part of larger group. These events gave opportunity to see and meet a lot of new people. Learn and to activities all day and I have to say eat a lot! 

Now I have done my short and long term ESC opportunity. All I can do now is keep spreading the good words about it that more young people take part of it. 

Like we learned from conference, there are billions of euros invested into that for next years, and I think its all beneficial for everybody! 

Thank you! Love Henri

24 junho 2021

O testemunho no. 2 da Elisa (Crescer a Cores)

Olaaa, here is Elisa from Italy and here is my second testimony.Indeed, I have already had more than half of​the experience.

I think the longest and most difficult months have now passed. We have faced winter and quarantines and now the Lisbon sun is welcoming us into the liveliest season of the year.I can certainly say that I was sorry not to experience this city in the way it was described to me years ago but in the company of the beautiful people I met, I still had some good experiences.

During the lockdown period the school where I work was closed and this allowed me to have much more free time. I therefore discovered the north of Portugal a little by mainly doing experiences in nature since the possibilities in the city were limited. Long walks were the protagonists of my days.

During this period I also participated in a meeting with other volunteers. It was good there were some good exchanges, we had some good activities. I wasn't happy because I thought an online meeting wouldn't make sense. in the end it worked and I was happy. One day, while walking in the Graça district, I met some of them by chance and this was really a nice surprise. We finally saw each other in the face, we talked and danced together in the square. It was very nice.

When the situation cleared, getting back to work was difficult, returning to schedules and a rigid routine requires commitment and patience. But in the same way, returning to see children grown up and with greater personal autonomy was beautiful and rewarding. I was amazed to see that children of less than one year, after my lasting distance, immediately recognized me on my return. Now the school I work for has asked us to restore a mural they have had for a few years, this will be a great opportunity to break the routine by alternating work a bit.

The last news that I want to tell you is that now I am on the train traveling to Viana Do Castelo, where the first meeting with other volunteers will be held!

Next time I'll tell you how it went!

See you soon. Elisa.

17 junho 2021

O testemunho No. 3 da Veronica (Junta de Fregusia do Lumiar)

Hey folks! Well.. What can I say... my volunteering is finished. No way. So sad.

If I could rewind everything, I would love to live this amazing experience one more time. 

I feel so grateful and happy about my ESC year. I haven’t been really lucky with the timing: two weeks after I arrived, the covid pandemic started. But anyway, despite this situation, I feel that I am one of those few people who can say that the year 2020 has been amazing. I have met extraordinary people, very good friends with whom I have lived my everyday life in the city, the travels and many adventures in Portugal. 

This year has run so fast. I swear, it seems yesterday when I arrived at the airport and Tavi picked me up and bring me to Casa Bernardim where Ana, gave me a super warm welcome in the house preparing a party for the new volunteers. I remember that could barely have an English conversation, but the environment and the people were so great, that after some time and a bit of patience I managed to break the language barrier. 

I’m so glad of having had this experience, it was something that I really wanted to do and, since the first day, I understood that it was the right choice. If I look at myself, I realize some of my flaws and some good qualities that before I didn’t know I had. I realised that I don’t like when people feel sorry for themselves, whine, look for excuses, blame others and never do any change. You cannot expect different life, mood, emotions, if you are not willing to change anything within yourself.

In these months I had the chance to get to know many different people, with different backgrounds and stories. For me it’s really surprising to see how so different kind of people can have so many things in common. This stimulating environment leaded me to approach many aspects of life from another point of view and gave me the chance to share and compare me and people from different cultures. I really have to thank all the people that I have met, especially some friends that I’m not afraid to call Family here in Lisbon. 

Thanks also to my colleague of Quinta dos Frades, that welcomed me super well. I had a great time with them. I jus would have liked to spend more time with them and learn more about their beautiful job.  Unfortunately this pandemic didn’t help. Anyway, I’m very glad for the time spent with them, because thanks to it I re-discovered the beauty of being so alive, simple, creative, and so reach of imagination like only kids can be. And it could sound like a cliché, but I think that this is the best way of living the life.

And finally, thank you Lisbon, for all the colors, for the greenness of your parks in the city centre, for all the miradouros, where I enjoyed almost 365 sunsets. Thank you for the super bock (or maybe not?), for the music in the street, for the art in every corner around the streets, for the people full of life despite this difficult and strange global moment. 

Last but not the least, thanks to myself, that I finally took courage to leave everything and come here to live such a great experience.

I still cannot figure which path I will take next, but one thing I know for sure.. This experience hasn’t been just a bracket in my life. I really would like to live other experiences abroad like this one. 

My final comment for all the ones that are thinking about doing this experience..? 

Hey you! Just do an ESC. Leave your hometown, your family and your friends and go abroad. Better if Lisbon. One of the best things about being part of the European Union, is having the possibility to participate to an Erasmus+ project, whatever it is. 

I’m convinced that everybody should take advantage of it and living this experience, 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? 

Just go!! 

O testemunho no. 2 da Melissa (JFC - Culture)

Oh how time flies… after almost seven months I cannot even start to describe the great memories I have made. 

Even though the library is still only functioning on a basic level due to the pandemic, my bond with my colleagues has nevertheless gotten so much closer and I still enjoy walking through the door every day! 

On 25 de abril, the national holiday the Junta de Freguesia Carnide organises a concert on wheels and together with a band, my coworkers and a police escort, we drove through the streets of Carnide at night to celebrate the anniversary of the liberation from the dictatorship. I really liked that in this night, I could not only connect more to my coworkers, but also to Portugal’s traditions and history. I already experienced the 25th de abril celebrations in Erasmus, but this was definitely a special moment for me.

The lockdown in January, February and March was hard for all of us I think but it only meant that afterwards, we enjoyed our time outside and together even more. I really feel that together with the other volunteers, we have grown to be a little family, doing trips together, sharing a beer at night and always welcoming new volunteer faces once in a while!

For me, it was also super nice, to see Lisbon nightlife coming back to life! Although we all still need to be careful, it is awesome to rediscover life music in intendente area or meet other international students in Erasmus corner.

A few of my favorite memories are for sure my first surfing lesson in Carcavelos (finally a true Portuguese!) and also our trips to Setúbal or Sintra. I love to see the endless beaches of Portugal and just as much, the beautiful gardens of Sintra. Because the time we spent together is always so full of special moments, I feel like I already made some friends, that will stick with me beyond the time of this volunteering and I am not the only one thinking about staying in Lisbon even longer.

Life does absolutely not get boring here, but only better and better. I am looking forward more than ever to the upcoming summer months, to an already planned trip to Porto and to a lot more afternoons at the beach. Chin chin to volunteering in Lisbon!

O testemunho No. 1 da Julia (SPIN)

Hello, my name is Julia, I’m from Poland, and I arrived on the 1st of May to volunteer at Spin Association.

For me coming here is a very unique experience because I have never lived abroad before, and I have wanted to do it since forever. For this project, I was recruited by a sending organization from Poland. They got to me at the time I was already applying for different projects. I decided to join the project in Lisbon after an online interview with Giulia which I really enjoyed. After a month of taking care of formalities, packing, and saying goodbyes I was finally here.

When I arrived I got very happy and excited but also quite overwhelmed. Considering I didn’t go outside my home country in over a year (covid), that was understandable. Luckily the feeling passed once I met Elisa, one of the volunteers working for the Spin office. She properly took care of me during my first day, showed me around a city, and helped me with some formalities. Afterward, I just felt very warm and safe.

One of the things that filled me with excitement was that the Coronavirus situation is more under control than in Poland and that Portugal will be gone out of the lockdown once I arrive. The first week I tried to make the best use out of It, and as a result, at the beginning of my second week here, I felt a bit burned out and tired since I didn’t go out and socialize that much before coming here.

Once I adjusted more and have learned how to keep exploration and proper rest in balance, what was left for me to relax and enjoy myself. And I think I ended up in just the perfect city for that.

It’s my first time in Lisbon so to be honest I didn’t have any expectations. Well, I was sure that Lisbon is a beautiful city because everyone that visits says so, but I truly got taken by surprise by its diversity (speaking both architecture and culture). It turns out it’s very full of sun, art, music, breathtaking views, and warm, open people.

Anytime you get a bit tired of being in the city, in just 30 minutes you can end up at one of the pretty beaches surrounding Lisbon or one of the charming smaller cities close by f.e. Sintra which is like a fairy tale city full of castles heels and green.

I’m really happy to know that I am going to live in this amazing city for a year, doing amazing things and connecting with beautiful people. 

07 junho 2021

O testemunho No. 2 da Lucia (Viver Telheiras)

Here we are! As six months have passed since my arrival in Portugal I’m stopping for a moment to evaluate this first half of my volunteering project.

The beginning of my stay in Lisbon was awesome, I was exploring the city, getting to know
the other volunteers and having meetings with my tutor and other people from my hosting organisation. 

However, from January Portugal was again on lockdown and, as a consequence, I had to stop or suspend my activities for a bit. It took me some time to organise my routine in lockdown, but having experience that a year ago helped me a lot and taught me how to plan my day not to waste my time while I had to stay at home. The bright side of the lockdown was that I could spend some time studying a little bit Portuguese and sharing moments with my flatmates. 

Luckily, the covid situation has improved a lot recently and the restrictions have started to be gradually loosened, so I could explore a little bit of Portugal. More specifically, I spent some time in Algarve, in southern Portugal, to take part in a workaway project with some fellow volunteers and friends from Lisbon. In the mornings we had to do some manual work to renovate a house in the countryside, while in the afternoon and in the night we had some free time to chill and visit the surroundings. It was a great experience because we could take a break from the routine in the city, spend time at the open air and socialise with the other volunteers. Besides that, I’ve also had the opportunity to discover new places along the coast and visit some cities, such as Sintra, Óbidos, Coimbra and Aveiro. 

During the lockdown all my meetings and activities with my hosting organisation were online. Luckily, as soon as the rules allowed it, I started again having meetings in presence with my tutor and some people collaborating with my host association. Meeting people and doing activities offline is much more motivating and I can’t wait to see the events on which we have been working taking place. More specifically, we are working on some projects to promote biodiversity and we are organising some workshops for the local schools. Seeing these initiatives finally taking shape has been rewarding and I’m excited to see what is coming next.

Até à próxima, bjs,


02 junho 2021

O testemunho No. 1 da Ana (Crescer)

Olá! Sou Ana, de Espanha, a meu português é bastante medíocre mas vou tentar transmitir e resumir o que este mês e meio em Lisboa, como voluntária europeia, significou para mim.

Sem dúvida, está a ser uma das melhores experiências da minha vida. Depois de terminar o meu diploma universitário, após seis longos anos de estudos, não sabia realmente como abordar a minha carreira futura. Além disso, a pandemia de Covid não estava a ajudar-me a esclarecer a minha incerteza. Decidi candidatar-me ao voluntariado europeu porque um amigo me tinha recomendado e o país que mais me atraiu foi Portugal. Tinha visitado três vezes diferentes cidades (Lisboa, Porto, Évora) e desde o primeiro minuto que adorei.

O destino já era claro para mim, mas eu queria que a actividade de voluntariado fosse enriquecedora, que me fizesse sentir útil e uma parte activa da sociedade. Actualmente trabalho com pessoas em situações de rua na associação Crescer, fazendo intervenção e acompanhamento social. O objectivo final é que todos tenham um lar, uma casa, como primeiro requisito fundamental para alcançar uma vida digna. 

No início tive bastante medo de não poder estar à altura, pois nunca tinha feito este tipo de actividade antes. Contudo, estou a tornar-me cada vez mais fluente e estou bastante satisfeita com a experiência. O trabalho de rua é muito dinâmico e gosto muito dele, embora também tenha um lado mais burocrático - com o qual eu não contava e que é bastante pesado.

Por outro lado, estou a conhecer grandes pessoas, sobretudo espanholas e italianas, por isso não estou a praticar tanto português como gostaria. Durante o mês de Abril partilhei um quarto com Isa, uma voluntária espanhola que não conhecia e que por acaso estudou na minha universidade. Nunca tinha partilhado um quarto com ela antes, mas foi maravilhoso! Este mês ela mudou-se para outra casa mais próxima do seu trabalho e eu sinto muito a sua falta (tenho saudade!). Tornei-me também super amiga de outra voluntária italiana, Emma, que é uma artista e fala espanhol perfeito e que, mais uma vez, outra incrível coincidência: ela é uma amiga íntima de uma colega de turma universitária minha. O mundo é um mundo pequeño!