Living in Porto through the eyes of volunteers// Viver no Porto através dos olhos dos voluntários

What does it mean to be a volunteer in the city of… // O que isso significa ser voluntário na cidade do…

…strawberries, warm winter and intercultural experience (Miglė) // morangos, inverno quente e experiência intercultural 

Miglė

Porto was elected as the best touristic destination, and not only once. Couldn‘t agree with that more – beautiful ocean and riverside view, impressive architecture, modern and easy public transport and all the other reasons, that make vacations in Porto particularly pleasant. But what about living there? Obviously, it is very different from my home country – Lithuania. That‘s why I was fascinated by almost everything. Now, I could say, that I lived in Porto long enough to actually know a lot of the good and bad of this city. In my opinion, the best thing is Portuguese food. It is always possible to find fresh fish or have tasty Francesinha everywhere in town. Also, you can buy strawberries at every time of the year! Coming from the Northern country, where fruits are wildly overpriced when it is “not a season”, it’s really a big thing.  The weather may not be tropical here, but for us, Lithuanians, Portuguese winters are like Lithuanian summer, so it was very nice to not wear heavy boots or to hide from -25°C during my winter in Porto!  People in Portugal are very friendly and relaxed, but the downside of it is that they are usually late. But I think I’m getting used to it and don’t panic about it every time. There are only a few things that may bother me sometimes but I think even if the countries are very different, it is Europe, and we can easily communicate with locals and get to know other culture. That’s what makes this intercultural experience interesting!

O Porto foi eleito como o melhor destino turístico, e não é a primeira vez. Não poderia concordar mais com isso – uma bela vista do oceano e do rio, arquitetura impressionante, transportes públicos modernos e fáceis e tantos outros motivos que tornam as férias no Porto particularmente agradáveis. Mas e quanto a viver lá? Obviamente, é muito diferente do meu país de origem – Lituânia. É por isso que me sinto fascinada por quase tudo. Até acho que já poderia dizer, que conheço o Porto o suficiente para realmente conhecer muitas das coisas boas e más desta cidade. Na minha opinião, o melhor é a comida portuguesa. É sempre possível encontrar peixe fresco ou ter uma francesinha saborosa por toda a cidade. Além disso, pode-se comprar morangos em todas as épocas do ano! Vindo de um país do Norte, onde as frutas são extremamente caras quando não são sazonais, é realmente ótimo. O clima pode não ser tropical, mas para nós lituanos, os invernos portugueses são como o verão lituano, por isso foi muito bom não usar botas pesadas ou ter de me esconder de -25 ° C durante todo o inverno no Porto! As pessoas em Portugal são muito amigáveis e relaxadas, mas a desvantagem é que são geralmente atrasadas. Mas acho que me estou a habituar a isso e não entro em pânico cada vez que acontece. Há apenas algumas coisas que me podem incomodar às vezes, mas acho que mesmo que os países sejam muito diferentes, é a Europa e podemos comunicar facilmente com os habitantes locais e conhecer a sua cultura. Isso é o que torna interessante esta experiência intercultural!

 

… dreams and beautiful photos (Emre) // sonhos e lindas fotos

emre

As a volunteer I am working in one of the most beautiful city in the world and in the country that I have been dreaming about for years. As I was thinking before coming to Portugal, it became one of the most beautiful experience that I have ever had. I love the streets, the buildings and the parks of the city. When I am not working, my favorite activity is to walk in the streets to the river. You can take really beautiful photos in this city, so I take a lot of them. The wines and desserts are also great here. This rainy season can be bit distressing for someone who likes walking during sunny days. We are all looking forward for the spring to come!

I think that the hardest part of volunteering here is to be thousands of miles away from my family in Turkey. But it is ok because I predicted that before coming here. Although it depends on the person, I think that the best part of coming from Turkey is being away from the crazy crowd, especially if you come from Istanbul.

Como voluntário, estou numa das mais belas cidades do mundo e no país em que sonhei durante anos. Como imaginei, antes de chegar a Portugal, tornou-se uma das experiências mais bonitas que já tive. Adoro as ruas, os edifícios e os parques da cidade. Quando não estou em voluntariado, a minha atividade favorita é andar pelas ruas até ao rio. Podemos tirar fotos realmente bonitas nesta cidade, é por isso que o faço muito. Os vinhos e as sobremesas também são excelentes aqui. Esta estação chuvosa pode ser um pouco angustiante para alguém que gosta de andar durante os dias ensolarados. Estamos ansiosos para que chegue a primavera.

Eu acho que a parte mais difícil de fazer voluntariado aqui é estar a milhares de quilômetros de distância da minha família na Turquia. Mas está tudo bem porque previ isto antes de vir para cá. Embora isto dependa da pessoa, acho que a melhor parte de chegar da Turquia é estar longe da multidão louca, especialmente se vier de Istambul.

 

…sun, relaxed people, cozy places and Pastel de Nata (Gabija) // …sol, das pessoas relaxadas, dos lugares acolhedores e do pastel de nata

Gabija

The thing that I like the most about Porto is sun. In Lithuania we have around 1588 hours of sun during the year (in Portugal the number is around 2806). My freckles really enjoy this, I started to have it all the yearlong! People are happier and more relax when the weather is nice most of the time. However, sometimes I am not used to people who are so free and … late. I think that culturally Portuguese have different understanding of time. One of the biggest challenge is to accept it instead of trying to change it. However, it is always easier to say than to do. Still a lot of to learn and adopt!

When I am feeling too irritated or when I have a bad day, I like to go to the café and order Pastel de Nata. Who can keep being in a bad mood after the taste of it?! I have not met such kind of people. I also enjoy exploring new places to listen the live music or just to chill out. I still feel fascinated when I find the one that I have not heard before. In Porto there are so many lovely places! My most favorite ones are Casa da Musica, Casa Agricola, MiraJazz with amazingly beautiful city view and lately found Casa da Horta. There are so many places that are still waiting for their turn to be explored!

O que mais gosto no Porto é o sol. Na Lituânia, temos cerca de 1588 horas de sol durante o ano (em Portugal o número é de 2806) e as minhas sardas gostam realmente disso porque consegui tê-las durante todo o ano! Na maioria das vezes as  pessoas são mais felizes e relaxam mais quando o tempo está bom. No entanto, não estou habituada a pessoas tão livres e … atrasadas. Penso que, culturalmente, os portugueses tem uma compreensão diferente do tempo. Um dos maiores desafios é aceitar este facto em vez de o tentar mudar.. Mas é sempre mais fácil dizer do que fazer. Ainda há muito para aprender e adotar!

Quando me sinto muito irritada ou quando tenho um dia menos bom, gosto de ir ao café e pedir um pastel de nata. Quem é que pode continuar com mau humor depois daquele sabor?! Não conheço quem seja capaz. Também gosto de explorar novos locais onde possa ouvir música ao vivo ou simplesmente relaxar. Ainda me sinto fascinada quando encontro aquele lugar que não sabia antes.No Porto há tantos lugares fascinantes! Os meus favoritos são a Casa da Música, a Casa Agricola, o MiraJazz com uma vista deslumbrante da cidade e a recentemente encontrada Casa da Horta. Mas ainda existem muitos lugares que ainda estão à espera da sua vez para serem explorados!

 

Funding opportunities

Just a reminder – some application deadlines for 2018 are coming up!

If you are applying for Key Action 1: Mobility of individuals, second deadline this year is on 26 April, 11 am (UK time). Deadline for Key Action 3: Support for policy reform is at the same time.  Keep in mind, that the third deadline is only in October!

Deadline for Key Action 2: Co-operation for innovation and the exchange of good practices is on 21 March 2018, 11 am (UK time).

Before applying for funding, here are some tips for a great Eramus+ application:

https://portopulses.com/tips-for-writing-eramus-project/

Good luck!

 

New volunteer (wait, and where is EVA?!)

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Where is the time gone?! This is the first thing that I could say about my first few weeks in FAJDP as an EVS volunteer. From the beginning of February in the project I changed Eva. However, I am not really new to Porto.

Moreover, I have a strong reason to believe that my story is probably a little bit different. Although I am joining EVS in the middle of it, I know Porto. From September I was doing my internship in university of Porto, SINTESIS research group. My main interests were aging issues. I loved it! But all good things end one day (especially, when they are funded). January was rather stressful month for me. As being a person who hates making decisions, I had to make quite a big one and relatively fast: stay or not to stay in Porto for…upcoming year.

And I decided to say YES (applause and shouting in the distance).

Is it made my life as an easy walk near the ocean? Well, not at all! When I finally started my EVS in FAJDP, I realized that I have to adopt for bunch of different things again.

-There is the new place in totally different surroundings than I was used to.

-There are 2 volunteers with whom I am going to share the flat, my worries, laughs and courses (kidding).

-There are activities about which I knew only approximately.

It still feels as the new brand beginning for me.

Another story to write in this amazingly beautiful city.

Story full of different projects with children in Lavra and Catapulta (together with realization how terribly convenient it was to learn only few words while staying here for more than 4 months), discussions with my colleagues (while realizing how amazingly satisfying is to talk in Lithuanian with another volunteer), events to organize (the music evening is coming!), interviews/work/talks with different organizations (and learning from good practices).

Story full of little observations about the life and the world around me which are soon going to land in my Personal project about cultural differences. Let’s talk… about coffee! Do you think drinking coffee here it is the same as doing it in Lithuania? Think again (and keep checking our blog)!

Story full of new Portuguese phrases in Portuguese classes (Hip hip hooray!), realization that Duolingo is actually teaching you Brazilian Portuguese instead of European Portuguese, rescue mission by fireman from being stuck in the bathroom for the rest of my life.

 

The beginnings are never easy. They will never be.

But they always push you beyond your comfort zone, are breath-taking and beautiful.

Long life for the new beginnings!

 

Gabija, Lithuania

 

Lithuania

Lithuania is a country in the Baltic region of northern–eastern Europe. One of the three Baltic states, located on the shore of Baltic sea.

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Lithuania is one of the developing countries in the European Union. One of the fastest Internet in Europe, great nightlife, beautiful nature, low living costs and not crowded surroundings makes it a great country to visit, study or stay for the volunteering project. Although if you are afraid of rain, wind and cold, it may be not so pleasant in winter.

Vilnius         Capital of Lithuania – Vilnius

In the 14th century, Lithuania was one of the largest and powerful countries in Europe. Our history is preserved in highly-worth to visit and impressive monuments, buildings, and museums that you can find in every city, big or small, of Lithuania.

Trakai Island Castle in Galve Lake            Trakai Island Castle – the former residence of the Grand Dukes

Nevertheless, biggest cities are modern and European, with developed and comfortable public transport, touristic activities, bars, clubs, and restaurants.

kaunas                            Kaunas Old town

Lithuania is also known for it’s beautiful and untouched nature. Only 3-hour ride from the capital and you can be on the opposite side of Lithuania – stunning seashore.

papludimys                        Karkle beach
nida                        Nida

lithuanian nature

Vilnius

Historical capital of Lithuania. Vilnius is classified as a Gamma global city according to GaWC studies, and is known for the architecture in its Old Town, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. In 2009, Vilnius was the European Capital of Culture. After declaring Independency in 1991, Vilnius fastly started developing and now it’s modern, multicultural and active European city. There are 65 churches in Vilnius. Like most medieval towns, Vilnius was developed around its Town Hall. The main artery, Pilies Street, links the Royal Palace with Town Hall. The Old Town of Vilnius, the historical center of Vilnius, is one of the largest in Europe and the most valuable historic and cultural sites are concentrated here.

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Lithuania is a small country with well-developed roads and infrastructure. Due to that, other cities in Lithuania are very easily reached.

Kaunas

Second-largest city of Lithuania. While Vilnius was incorporated into Poland, Kaunas served as temporary capital of Lithuania during the interwar period. During that period it has been nicknamed the Little Paris because of rich cultural and academic life, fashion, construction of countless Art Deco, Lithuanian National Romanticism architectural style buildings as well as popular furniture, interior design of the time and widespread café culture. The city inter-war architecture is regarded as one of the finest examples of the European Art Deco and received the European Heritage Label, it also resulted in naming Kaunas the first city in Central and Eastern Europe as a UNESCO City of Design. In 2022, Kaunas will be the European Capital of Culture.

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Pocket vocabulary:

  1. Labas (hi)
  2. Kaip sekas? (how are you?)
  3. Gerai (good)
  4. Ačiū (thank you)
  5. Koks tavo vardas? (what’s your name?)
  6. Mano vardas yra… (my name is…)
  7. Malonu susipažinti (nice to meet you)
  8. Alus (beer)
  9. Viso gero (bye)
  10. Aš noriu… (I want…)

 

New year’s eve celebration in Porto

For the first time, New year’s eve was celebrated far away from our countries, in the new place that we already call home – Porto. Apparently, meeting of the New years is very loud, entertaining and, most importantly, fun. Concerts in Avenida dos Aliados, fireworks displays and lots of other activities that were available during the whole holiday season. We greeted New years with hope and positivity, surrounded by a lot of locals and foreigners in, probably, one of the most beautiful and festive city in Europe.

naujakas                                  ©portolazer.pt

 

Volunteering in Greece

The latest years the EVS became very popular in Greece. Many youth organizations send and host young people from Europe and from other countries in order to participate in voluntary programs. If anyone is interested to be a volunteer in a Greek city or island, it is more than sure that he will have much fun!

Generally, people in Greece are open and friendly and they integrate easily with people who have different backgrounds. Tourism is the strongest industry of the country and because of that, the locals know how to interact with foreigners. They will invite you to their house, they will cook traditional food for you, they will go out with you in the best places etc.

Life is easy, the weather is mostly sunny, but the winters are cold and the transportation is fine. The capital has metro and all the other cities have buses. The majority of the people speak at least English and usually more languages.

There are plenty of things to do in Greece. It’s a country that never sleeps. From early in the morning until the dawn you will always see people on the streets. Most of the cities are student cities, that’s why they are vivid and full of life.

A relaxing and fun option for the summer is to go to the beach. There are countless villages next to the beach. Some of them are calm. In those, you will have the opportunity to enjoy the nature and eat in a traditional restaurant across the seaside. On the other hand, you can find ‘’party villages’’ that they transform the quite environment into a dance floor! There, you can listen to the music loudly until the next morning. A lot of drinks and a lot of dance is waiting for you.

The other months the young people stay in the city because of their studies or their jobs. In their free time, they participate in sports clubs, in art clubs, in theater clubs or volunteering. They watch football and basketball games on tv and live as well.

As you already know, the weather is fine, so they usually walk by the seaside with their friends, or they ride a bike there. At evenings they drink beers together. In my city (Thessaloniki) there is a citadel where the young people hang out and they have the most wonderful view of the city, especially at nights. You can just sit on the rocks and enjoy the view, or you could choose some coffee shops or restaurants that offer you the same. This place is named ”Kastra” (literally translated as castles). The same place in Athens is called ”Thiseio”. In Thiseio there are huge rocks where you can sit with your company and see the entire city from a high place.

The 2 symbolic places that you must visit are the White Tower in Thessaloniki and the Acropolis in Athens. And of course, it would be nice to visit at least an island. You will never forget this beauty.

The prices of several products :

a loaf of bread – from 0,60 cents

milk – from 0,90 cents

beer – from 1,5 euro

drinks – from 7 euros

gyros (typical greek food) – from 3 euros

spaghetti – from 0,60 cents.

Basic greek words

Hello – γεια (ya)

Thank you – ευχαριστώ (efharisto)

You´re welcome – παρακαλώ (parakalo)

How are you? – τι κάνεις; (ti kanis)

I am fine, you? – καλα εσυ;  (kala esi)

In conclusion, you won’t have trouble to adapt in Greece. The beginning might be hard but eventually, you will find lots of ways to spend your time there and of course meet a lot of different people!

White tower in Thessaloniki                                                          White tower in Thessaloniki

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA                                                                 Acropolis of Athens

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA                                                                Kastra of Thessaloniki

Milos (Greek island)                                                                  Milos (Greek island)

 

Movie night – ”Naked” (1993)

We turned our office into a movie theatre for our first monthly event!

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We watched a drama, called ”Naked”, which was written and directed by Mike Leigh, in 1993. British movie follows Johnny, a highly intelligent but cynic, misogynist and rude man, first seen fleeing his native Manchester after committing what appears to be an act of sexual assault and his wanderings of the streets of London. After the overwhelming and exciting movie, we shared our thoughts about the characters and the story itself. What a fun night!

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