27 janeiro 2022

O testemunho no. 2 da Julia (SPIN)

 Hello, I’m Julia, and welcome to my second testimony.

I know that you had to wait for a while to see it finally, but to be completely honest, writing this was super difficult for me. I found it super hard to summarize all these experiences in just a couple of sentences. Every time I was starting writing this I was in a different mood and another big feeling in my heart that I wanted to express. 

Sometimes, I wanted to write how heartbroken I get whenever I have to say goodbye to someone too soon. At some point in my volunteering time, I turned from newcomer to one of the oldest volunteers, and that means that in the meantime a lot of people finished their projects and left Portugal(luckily some stayed also). Recovery doesn’t come this instant. After a hard period of grieving, you begin to feel happy for them- happy that they figured the next step on their path of life, but you still let yourself miss them sometimes, and hope to see them anytime soon. 

Sometimes, I wanted to write how happy I feel for taking part in my association daily life and being a volunteer, connecting with people, and discovering the strength of the volunteer community. I am really glad about this, it was something I truly wanted to do and since day one I knew that it was a good choice. 

Sometimes, how scared I am to miss a thing because time is relentless and passing fast, and you always want to get more and more out of this experience, because you know that before you notice it’s going to be over. But then what you also realize is that being chill, warm and cozy is a very pleasant part of it.

And sometimes, how blessed I feel to live in a climate with weather that allows you to spend time outdoors during wintertime. I even managed to throw my birthday party in the park in November, take on the most cycling in January, not to forget swimming in the sea on the 31st of December!. As a person coming from Poland, where none of those things are possible in this period because of the freezing cold, I really appreciate it.

All-time I wanted to write about amazing people that feel like home to me and the big city that very often feels like a small village.

About how grateful I am for all the expected and unexpected. All the cheers, laughs, meetings, festivals, gatherings, coffees, beers, dinners, random meetings on the street, breakfasts, sunsets, visits, smiles, sunrises, lunches, trips, DJ sets, jam sessions, walks, hangouts, concerts, hikes, parties, games, workshops, after dinners, street parties, dances and anything else there is, all the magic that happened and all the magic that will happen.

And for the beaches, I’m very thankful for the sea, the sun, and the beaches. And for all the love and all the hugs. I’m very thankful for way too long hugs.

O testemunho No. 1 do Ertuğrul (SPEAK)

 Pôr do sol ☀️

With the sunrise in the morning, I rose to the sky. I got lost in the clouds with a metal bird which was the most beautiful proof of mankind's love for the sky and flying for centuries. After 5 hours, as the sun was setting, I came back to earth from the sky. Later, at the airport, I was greeted by a flatmate that I had never seen before, but she was friendly as if we had known each other for years. The adventure that I started in the sky continued into the underground. It seems that mankind got bored of its love for the sky, and put a metal snake underground. After passing through dark tunnels and a few stations the names of I didn’t know, I got off at the station called Marques de Pombal and reached the earth again. 

I got lost in the streets of this city, which was designed for me to lose the weight I gained during the corona time, with the sounds of the wheel of my luggage. While looking around like a curious child, I followed my flatmate. From the very first day, Lisbon thought me that once I go down to a hill, I have to climb back up over and over again. Just like that, I reached my new home, the Casa de Bernardim, and what actually made me feel like home were my new flatmates, who always had smiles on their faces. After a couple of days past another flatmate arrived from away. Then my roommate arrived and he was late because he came from farther away. Finally, the Casa Bernardim family was completed.

Since I had a couple of free weeks before my welcome day with my coordinating and hosting organizations, I started exploring the city of Lisbon with its ups and downs. I walked and walked, sometimes I got lost by chance and sometimes I wanted to get lost discover something new. After climbing the slopes and steps to watch the sunset at the beautiful “Miradouro’s”, this fairy-tale city taught me that “to see beautiful things, we have to go for it even tho sometimes it's hard and we can be sure that it will always worth it.

Finally, I met with the Spin team at the welcome day and also with the SPEAK organization that I volunteer at and after I met with my coordinators and other colleagues at SPEAK. The SPEAK office has a great atmosphere. I felt welcomed and motivated about my project. The purpose of SPEAK is to connect newcomers with locals living in the same city through a language and culture exchange program that has two main activities: language groups and community-organized events. We work with many ex-pats, immigrants, refugees, and students. My main responsibilities are interacting with Buddies in Almada city in general and developing the community there. I give online training for new buddies, explaining to them the purpose of SPEAK and providing information about language sessions, events. I also get feedback from buddies and help them with their questions and problems about the language sessions. 

In addition, I currently lead a language session and prepare a guide for Turkish buddies. My colleagues at SPEAK always help me and teach me new things, and this is a great opportunity for me to improve myself. At first, I had a little difficulty because there was a lot of new information, but then everything fell into place and I continued my project more comfortably. Within a week, I had a Christmas dinner with both the Spin and SPEAK team. At both events, I met people from other countries. In these warm family environments, I felt as if I had been in this city for years and knew these people. I also started learning Portuguese thanks to one of our volunteer friends. 

I am always grateful for being at the same table for dinner with my flatmates, the little trips we take on the weekend, the conversations we have while cooking in the kitchen, the Miroduro's we go to catch the sunset, and me always being late, the sweet reproaches of them, the activities we did with other volunteers in the Casa de Bernardim. Countless feelings, smiles, conversations, sunsets, stairs, drinks, songs, food, sweet discussions, new places, new people, and stories …

I laugh, I learn, I see, I taste, I try, I share, I tell, I understand, I experience.
In short, I am feeling alive.

O testemunho No. 1 da Marina (Viver Telheiras)

 Olá a tudos! 

My name is Marina and I am from Barcelona. I have been almost three months in Lisbon, but it feels like yesterday.

I never lived abroad and I thought of volunteering to have an experience living somewhere else at least once in a lifetime. Now I’m so grateful I made that decision because I made myself a present with this experience. The fact that other volunteers are in the same situation as you are makes the socializing part so much easy and the whole experience much better.

I wanted to come to Lisbon because I came once on vacation and I loved it so much, its small streets, the light of the city, the sunsets, the hills, the calm, etc. My volunteering in Viver Telheiras it’s a 9-month project. The working rhythm it’s chill and I have a lot of free time for enjoying the city and the people. I feel really comfortable with the team and the organization's aim, so it’s really nice to give a hand with the things that I can and design projects in and for the neighborhood.

By now I already know so many good people. And we have a really nice social life in the apartment. Nowadays even though we were careful me and my flatmate got the covid, here’s how we enjoyed this day:


O testemunho No. 1 da Afrodite (SPEA)

I started my volunteering experience in November 2021.
Spin association was the Hosting organization that coordinated the procedure while SPEA organization was the one I am working/volunteering for. SPEA stands for ‘Sociedade Portuguesa para o Estudo das Aves’ and it’s work is around the fields of natural protection, conservation, and environmental education in regards to the bird species of Portugal.
I cannot but begin to say how thankful I am to SPEA association for all their welcoming and friendly manners. Their support and guidance from the beginning of the program until now have been heart-warming for me. I am currently working under the supervision of Carolina Bloise who has been a great supervisor and team worker. At the same time we work closely with Ana Esteves and Alexandra Lopes and we all together are part of the department of citizenship and environmental education in SPEA. I have had an amazing collaboration with them all and I really enjoy the time working together with them. Overall I feel I am very lucky to have this opportunity to work with SPEA since there is so much space given to me for personal and professional growth in the field of environmental education.
As part of our work in environmental education are the school visits in Lisbon and the workshops we carry out to foster environmental awareness and urge the need for environmental protection and conservation. Part of my duties is the preparation of educational material and assistance during the demonstrations of workshops. Working with this particular age group of children and within the theme of environmental education is a first-time experience for me and the learnings I withdraw on a daily basis are many. Having worked in education in the past I see this as an amazing opportunity to grow my knowledge and experience in regards to the educational needs of this age and within this topic.
An addition to the things I have been working on in SPEA is the assessment of educational material from external partners within the framework of erasmus + educational programs. This experience gave me the opportunity to learn how to be critical about educational material resources and how to look for quality in resonance with our specific context of Portuguese school curriculums. The learning I gather from the experience and knowledge of the people I work with is what helps me be able to assess such material. This part of my work has been very great as well to help me build up knowledge and experience in environmental education that can foster environmental awareness and will for environmental protection.
Overall these have been the main streams of work that I was focused on so far and I can’t wait for what is next and the new experiences that I will add to this year of volunteering with SPEA.

O testemunho No. 1 da Elizaveta (SPIN)

I’m living a fairytale here in Lisbon!

Hi! I’m Lisa, I’m 28 and I’m from Russia!

I’ve been applying for this ESC opportunity 3 times for the last two years. And finally, I’m here! So never give up on your goals and you’ll definitely get the life of your dream 😊

Being a volunteer in Portugal means sharing an apartment with other people. I was really curious about this experience, but I could never imagine that it’s gonna be this good! Oh, we are not just flatmates, we live like a big family of 7! 
We get along just fine even though we are from different countries: Spain, Turkey, Egypt, Italy, Estonia, France, and Russia 🤪 The house is filled with laughter, hugs, and positive vibes! We share meals together, celebrate holidays, and go out on weekends. Any event I go to in Lisbon I never feel alone, I know my family is gonna be there ❤️

As much as I enjoy my new family, I enjoy Lisbon as well! The city is bright and filled with colors! I go out almost every day to visit some new attractions: parks, viewpoints, cafes, etc. And even after two months, there are still plenty of new places to discover! I think this city never gets boring 😍

Well, I arrived in Lisbon in December, so the whole month was about holidays, gatherings and meeting new people. I enjoyed it a lot! But still, I’m looking forward to getting more engaged in Spin association activities!
So far I took part in Christmas dinner preparation, receiving “Re-generation+” projects participants, joining Erasmus+ program promotion event at a local school. I also assist with video making and editing during the events, as well as making some graphic designs! All of it with the guidance of amazing coworkers and mentors from Spin office and in the company of my lovely fellow volunteers 🤩

Anyway, I really do love my every day in Lisbon! This volunteering life is just beautiful 🌺 I can’t wait to join my on-arrival training next month! Also looking forward to joining the upcoming events at Spin and exploring the city in warm weather😁

18 janeiro 2022

O testemunho No. 1 da Ana (SPEA)

 I started my project in  Sociedade Portuguesa para o Estudo das Aves (SPEA) about a month ago.

Such organization focuses on the protection and investigation of endangered bird species or endemic species. With the help and guidance of my tutor Vanessa, I have been able to expand my knowledge regarding such matters and furthermore use them either in the fieldwork developed or in an educational environment. 
SPEA takes into action several projects and I have had the privilege to work amongst other colleagues in some of them. One of the main projects focuses on the educational aspects regarding bird protection, It is set on a specific species called Aguia de Bonelli, which is a raptor bird that lives close to Lisbon. We, as a group, develop several activities in order for students to learn about such species and promote environmental values. Other projects are focused on fieldwork tasks,  focusing on the electrical posts and their effect on birds' deaths, Rose-ringed parakeet population and control, trap-cameras, and other projects related to the coastal species. 

I am very excited to start these new projects since it focuses on what I love most which are Biology and the environmental protection of species. Everyone in SPEA has been very welcoming and warm and has always supported me in trying new ideas and learning from them. I'm deeply thankful to SPIN, which has always been helping me with my Portuguese and assuring me that I'm okay in my new volunteering job. I would also like to thank Vanessa, my tutor, for being such an enthusiastic and welcoming person.

14 janeiro 2022

O testemunho final da Chiara (SPEA)

Como é possível descrever quanto é bonito fazer parte de algo? Juntar as peças do puzzle e sentir-te sempre mais verdadeira e mais ti mesma?

As pequenas peças que fazem parte do meu puzzle têm muitos nomes diferentes: tem os nomes das minhas colegas do apartamento, que antes que ser colegas de casa, são amigas, amigas que te cozinham todos os dias quanto tens covid e estas confinada no teu quarto e te deixam mensagens de carinho debaixo da porta, com quem combinas jantares, com que saies à ouvir música, viajas e planeias não só o próximo mês juntas mas o próximo ano.

Tem tambèm os nomes das amigas com quem passei o verão a fazer trilhos, a colocar a tenda em lugares escondidos, mas com vistas brutais, a dançar cumbia com energias que nem eu sabia de ter, a apanhar comboio, autocarro e boleias só para chegar na praia e fazer um jantar antes do pôr do sol e aproveitar de um oceano tão bonito em frente de ti. A pintar a sede da Spin e subindo escadas improváveis e instáveis.

Tem o nome da Cooperativa que eu faço parte, onde alèm de encontrar uma alternativa sustentável aos grandes supermercados, faz-me sentir parte de uma comunidade que acredita no poder das pessoas, uma comunidade onde alèm de conhecer produtores locais e fazer escolhas éticas e críticas, se caminha por conhecer o Portugal mas sobretudo para nòs conhecer e onde com os amigos italianos se organizam workshop de gnocchi (os portugueses ficaram muito felizes :D).

Tem também o nome da SPEA, que se escreve SPEA mas se lé Carolina e Vanessa, as minhas tutoras que me guiaram com carinho num percurso de um ano juntas, que acabou com uma carta com a minha foto e as dedicatórias dos colegas e com uma chorona de nome Chiara a ler. A SPEA que me deu a oportunidade de conhecer-me, de ouvir-me e perceber que sim, quero mesmo ser educadora ambiental e que gosto imenso de estar com criança a falar de ambiente e natureza, que eles sejam italianos, portugueses ou de
um outro continente, porque a satisfação de olhar os miúdos à aprender com folhas e aves, a beleza de ouvir pessoas gratas do teu trabalho, a jóia de libertar uma ave ferida no Festival de Observação das Aves, onde falei com todos os participantes atè voltar a casa com o número deles, ver a felicidade dos professores com quem trabalhaste em agradecer-te, è algo que não pode ser descrito. 

Ter a oportunidade de realizar o teu projecto pessoal de construção de caixas abrigos para insetos e morcegos que, além de uma ação de educação ambiental torna-se uma ação social de cidadania a falar em frente de velhinhos, pessoas com problemas físicos e não só, escuteiros, escolas e mostrar-lhe que em fim, também se o teu 
portugues tem o acento da Rússia (como alguns miúdos me disseram) o teu entusiasmo percebe-se do teus olhos.

Há também o nome da SPIN que me permitiu ficar nessa cidade tão extraordinária e fazer parte deste projecto que parece pequeno mas que é tão grande.

A todas essas peças que compõem o meu puzzle quero dizer um grande OBRIGADA por ter caminhado juntas nesse ano, ter tido a oportunidade de conhecer-vos e também de me ajudar mim mesma a conhecer-me mais.

O testemunho final do Victorien (SPIN)

To describe a 12 months experience in a few lines could be an easy job if I wouldn’t have spent in Lisbon at Spin association, and especially in that special period.

My ESC experience started on November the 1 st of 2020 and ended a couple of weeks ago in 2021. Along with this ESC program, I could live a bunch of experiences that absolutely impacted my life on most of the fronts. And I am going to try to share as much meaningful as I can.

Unfortunately, I obviously had to deal with Mister Covid that apparently didn’t want to let us live as we were used to doing. However, the pandemic had, in a way, amplified some periods of my program. During lockdown and restrictions, we couldn’t meet with the other volunteers properly, the work at Spin was hardly makeable and we couldn’t either discover properly Lisbon and Portugal. 

During “free time”, in last spring and summer, on the other hand where we could finally meet between all the volunteers, travel all around and achieve some tasks with our organization. And maybe because of those long and tough times, I have the feeling to have experienced these moments way more joyfully, that I hardly still believe it.

First of all, I’ve been really glad to be part of Spin team. The spirit that I could find with my colleagues and especially with my tutor Giulia who has been fantastic and really helpful during my whole experience. She could help through some tough times as well as support some ideas. In the meanwhile, this ESC experience gave so much on the personal aspect. I could embrace a city and a country that totally matches my expectations.

I’m still so amazed to discover Lisbon, it’s a city full of characters, colors, kind people, and opportunities. As well as Portugal, a mind-blowing country for such a small territory, it looks like they are a place to discover in the entire country. With a step back, I think this year has been decisive in a way. I could achieve some personal and professional achievements such as playing music as a DJ in many places in Lisbon and starting doing it kind of professionally. I could start to work properly in English, improve my Spanish and discover the Portuguese language.

On the professional aspect, I’m really glad to have started French classes with Spin team and some volunteers. It has especially given me the courage to start it professionally and I am super proud to be able to keep on doing it as one of my main activities from now on. Also, during the first meetings with Spin, I expressed my willingness to learn and do some video editing. And thankfully Spin, proposed I do a video-volunteers-portrait project where we could create some video content to describe and promote how is it to be a volunteer with Spin. It was a really nice project that I realized with another volunteer. We could do it freely and I’m really happy to have done it from scratch to what it is. I could learn how to use video editing software and I’m once again glad to have added this skill to my list thanks to this ESC program.

Anyway, I think you would have understood that I barely find words to express my gratitude to SPIN and the ESC program. I found myself extremely lucky to have been part of this program and especially
during those tough moments. Extremely lucky to have done it with Spin team and to had the opportunity to achieve some long-time desires. Extremely lucky to have met all these volunteers that became friends and with who I could create strong links. Extremely lucky to have done my program in such a stunning city as Lisbon and such a wonderful one as Portugal.

Cheers SPIN !