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


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.



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


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.




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                                  ©


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!


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!


On-arrival Training in Guimarães

Last week of November we spent in the oldest city of Portugal – Guimarães, where all the EVS volunteers from all over the Portugal were getting ready for their upcoming adventures.


All week was fun, fulfilling, and intense.  We learned a lot of things, that could help us to prepare for all the challenges during the EVS, such as adaptation to cultural differences, communication between partners and co-workers, objectives of EVS and Erasmus+ projects, in general. Also, we had an opportunity to share our knowledge in workshops, that were organized by volunteers themselves. There we learned how to cook the best Italian pizza, understand basic Sign language, use laughter as medicine and how to have the best experience while travelling in Greece or Hungary. We even learned about origins of rap music and the meaning behind it.


Besides learning, we could explore Guimarães and dive into Portuguese culture and history. We had an opportunity to visit a magnificent castle, take a walk around the beautiful old town and even participate in the traditional event Nicolinas. Thanks to our amazing trainers and all the other volunteers we came back home from Guimarães happier and even more motivated to work towards our goals in this EVS experience.



New volunteers in town! First month in Porto

In october we, Emre, Eva, and Miglė arrived from our home countries to Porto. What were our experiences during the first month here?


At first it was challenging to adapt to life in Porto. Everything and everyone were unknown to me, I didn’t know where are the best places to go, how to move in the city and everyday details like those. Also, I couldn’t understand the metro system, it was hard for me to figure out until which zone should I move. Besides that, slowly I started my activities. My very first activity was with ‘’Refugees Welcome’’. I went with them in Vila Nova de Gaia and we helped a Syrian lady to fix her documents. The next days my flatmates and I, were helping the ‘’It gets better’’ association. They were about to celebrate their 5th anniversary and there were a lot of things to do! Finally, the anniversary party was successful and we had so much fun! Meanwhile, I cooperate with ‘’Catapulta’’, an organization that focuses on activities that offer knowledge and important values to the children, especially the ones with a darker background. It’s been almost a month and so far I have learned enough about children. Also, this is the best practice to me in Portuguese. The kids are excited when they teach me their language. From now on, I will have more activities with Catapulta and I will take personal initiatives. I can’t wait.


I studied cinema and TV in the university. After graduation, I interned at some agencies. Then I worked as a corporate communication specialist in the Turkish Educational Foundation. I wanted to work in my department abroad for a long time and EVS was a great opportunity to do this as a volunteer. I got accepted from Portugal. And now I’ve been in Porto for this past month. I’m working in communication in FAJDP. Now, we work with many associations which are in the field of art, social activism and culture. Being in a wonderful city like Porto is a great feeling for me, a person who has never had an abroad experience. It’s so exciting to have an opportunity to be here for a year.


This past month for me was very overwhelming and fun. I met a lot of wonderful people, who work in various fields here, in Portugal. I’m very interested in politics and social improvement, as well as in youth policies and mobility. We had an opportunity to visit FNAJ (National Federation of Youth Associations) National seminary in Chaves, which was very exciting for me just because I’m so interested in subjects, that were covered in the speeches and discussions. Also, we had a few trips with our friends from Portuguese class, such as to Braga and Gerês National Park. On daily basis I’m working on opening a library in House of Associations, I’m learning to film and edit videos, as well as communicating with an audience through social media. We are planning upcoming events, trips, and activities. A lot of work, but, at the same time, a lot of fun!


And it’s already been 8 months… // E já passaram 8 meses …

After the first very exciting months where I (Anouck) felt like there were billions of interesting subjects to write about, we have slightly neglected our blog for several weeks already. Now our 8-months EVS in the Federation of Youth Associations of Porto District (FAJDP)  has just ended and Merve is already back to Turkey, leaving me alone in Porto…

Before jumping into new projects and adventures I wanted to conclude this volunteering experience with a last post, which would be more personal than the others. I chose to briefly present here the 3 projects that I consider the most important in this EVS experience, being understood not only as the work we have been doing in our organization but as all the cultural and associative activities that I have been engaging in during these 8 months in Porto. 

Após os primeiros meses cheios de entusiasmo, onde eu (Anouck) sentia que podia escrever sobre milhões de temas interessantes, tenho negligenciado um pouco o nosso blog há já algumas semanas. Agora, o nosso Serviço Voluntario Europeu (SVE) de 8 meses na Federação das Associações Juvenis do Distrito do Porto (FAJDP) acabou e a Merve já está de volta à Turquia, deixando-me sozinha no Porto …

Antes de entrar em novos projetos e aventuras, eu queria concluir esta experiência de voluntariado com este último artigo, que é mais pessoal do que os outros. Optei por apresentar brevemente os 3 projectos que foram os mais importantes no meu SVE, sendo entendidos não só como o trabalho que temos vindo a fazer na nossa organização de acolhimento, mas como todas as actividades culturais e associativas em que participei durante estes 8 meses no Porto.

Participating in a GEPE: Groups of Mutual Aid between Job Seekers

Participar num GEPE: Grupos de Entreajuda na Procura de Emprego

Our organization had decided that a part of our time would be dedicated to a personal project. My original idea was to help young people to find their first job but after some thinking it seemed to me that it would be hard to do so with my Portuguese level and without much knowledge of the job market in Portugal. Guided by my coordinator, I redefined my project and decided to stick with the idea of helping people to find a job, but to frame it into an already existing organization. This is how I entered the GEPE network: Groups of Mutual Aid between Job Seekers.

A FAJDP tinha decidido que uma parte do nosso tempo seria dedicada a um projeto pessoal. A minha ideia original era ajudar jovens a encontrarem o seu primeiro emprego, mas eu rapidamente percebi que seria difícil fazê-lo com o meu nível de Português e sem muito conhecimento do mercado do trabalho em Portugal. Guiada pela minha coordenadora decidi ficar com a ideia de ajudar pessoas a encontrar um emprego, mas de enquadrá-la numa organização já existente. Foi assim que entrei na rede GEPE: os Grupos de Entreajuda na Procura de Emprego.


This initiative was launched in 2012, when the unemployment rate peaked due to the economic crisis, by the Institute Padre António Vieira – IPAV, an association that supports various projects in the fields of civic participation, intercultural dialog, employability and governance. The principle of GEPE is to create local informal groups of unemployed people that gather weekly in order to support each other in their job search. Each group is animated by two facilitators who prepare the activities. Nevertheless, the principle is to work in a horizontal way, each participant being able to bring his/her views and ideas in the session.

Esta iniciativa foi lançada em 2012, quando a taxa de desemprego atingiu um pico devido à crise económica, pelo Instituto Padre António Vieira – IPAV, uma associação que apoia vários projectos nos domínios da participação cívica, do diálogo intercultural, da empregabilidade e da governação integrada. O princípio do GEPE é criar grupos informais locais de desempregados que reúnem-se semanalmente para se apoiarem mutuamente na sua procura de emprego. Cada grupo é animado por dois facilitadores que preparam as atividades. No entanto, o princípio é trabalhar de forma horizontal: cada participante pode trazer as suas opiniões e ideias na sessão.

In January, I joined the GEPE Mais Brasil, located in Atmosfera M, Montepio’s building dedicated to host cultural and social initiatives and projects. The two facilitators of this group, Francisca and Solange, are members of the association Mais Brasil, whose objective is to support the integration of immigrants from Brazil in the region of Porto. The rest of the group was composed of around 8 members, with very different ages and backgrounds, which was extremely enriching for me.

Through everyone’s stories and anecdotes I got an overview of the difficulties that a lot of people faced with the harsh socio-economic crisis that Portugal went through, leading to very low and precarious work conditions. Another thing that stood out was the prejudices faced by people over 45 years-old on the job market, especially by women, who often feel like their experiences are not valued as  much as they should be.

Em janeiro, entrei no GEPE Mais Brasil, que se reúne na Atmosfera M, um espaço do Montepio dedicado ao acolhimento de iniciativas e projetos culturais e sociais. As duas facilitadoras deste grupo, Francisca e Solange, são membros da associação Mais Brasil, cujo objetivo é apoiar a integração de imigrantes do Brasil na região do Porto. O resto do grupo era composto por cerca de 8 membros, com idades e origens diferentes, o que foi extremamente enriquecedor para mim.

Através de histórias e anedotas de todos, tive uma visão geral das dificuldades que muitas pessoas enfrentaram com a crise socioeconómica que atravessou Portugal, deteriorando as condições de trabalho. Uma outra coisa que se destacou foram os preconceitos enfrentados por pessoas com mais de 45 anos no mercado de trabalho, especialmente por mulheres, que muitas vezes têm o sentimento de que as suas experiências não são valorizadas tanto como deveriam ser.

In March all GEPEs were focused on the preparation of the most important event of the year: the Pass Vite, which is a kind of speed-meeting between job-seekers and recruitors. 

Em março, todos os GEPEs concentraram-se na preparação do evento o mais importante do ano: o Passe Vite, que é um tipo de “speed-meeting” entre candidatos a emprego e recrutadores.


However, during the rest of the year, most sessions are less about the job searsh in itself and more about developing and reinforcing transversal skills, like verbal and non-verbal communication and self-confidence. In a way, the physical meetings are more about breaking the social isolation that unemployment often comes with. Most of the exchanges linked to the job search are done through e-mails and Facebook, the idea being that every participant sends to others information and offers that can be relevant for them.  

No entanto, durante o resto do ano, a maioria das sessões não são realmente dedicadas à procura de trabalho em si mas sobretudo sobre o desenvolvimento e reforço de competências transversais, como a comunicação verbal e não-verbal e a autoconfiança. De certa forma, as reuniões físicas centram-se sobre romper o isolamento social que, muitas vezes, acompanha o desemprego. A maioria dos intercâmbios ligados à procura de emprego são feitos através de e-mails e Facebook. A ideia é que cada participante envie aos outros as informações e as ofertas que podem ser relevantes para eles.

Participating in the GEPE Mais Brasil was one of the most positive experiences of my EVS, as it was a great way to have a better connexion to the local community, to practice my Portuguese and to think about our/my relationship with employment and unemployment. Thus, if GEPEs’ main mission is helping people finding a job, they are also a lot about giving people some meaning and dignity back, making them feel like they matter and can bring something to others, without having a social/professional status. As Solange, one of the facilitator said:

Participar no GEPE Mais Brasil foi uma das experiências mais positivas do meu SVE, pois foi uma boa maneira de ter uma conexão melhor com a comunidade local, de praticar o meu português e de pensar sobre o nosso/meu relacionamento com o emprego e o desemprego. Assim, se a missão principal dos GEPE’s é ajudar as pessoas a encontrar um emprego, têm também como objetivo devolver-lhes a sua dignidade, ajudando-as a sentir-se importante e que podem dar um contributo aos outros, sem ter um estatuto social/profissional. Como a Solange, uma das facilitadoras disse:

We are not unemployed but professionals actively looking for work or new challenges, or new projects.

Não somos desempregados e, sim, profissionais na procura ativa de trabalho ou novos desafios ou novos projetos.

Realizing an e-book presenting the activities and good practices of 12 associations of the Federation

Realizar um e-book apresentando as atividades e boas práticas de 12 associações da Federação

In February and March Merve and I met 12 associations affiliated to the Federation. They were chosen by our colleagues for having implemented interesting projects and the goal of those interviews was to create an e-book presenting them, their activities and projects and some of their good practices, which could be interesting for others.

Em fevereiro e março a Merve e eu visitámos 12 associações afiliadas da Federação. Foram escolhidas pelos nossos colegas, colaboradores da FAJDP, por terem implementado projetos interessantes e de relevância na comunidade. O objetivo dessas entrevistas era criar um e-book apresentando as suas atividades, projetos e algumas das suas boas práticas.

The associations we met were very diverse, in terms of:

  • Topics: LGBT rights, environment, sports, theater, social intervention, health, intercultural dialog…
  • Age: from 2 to more than 30 years-old
  • Implantation scale: international networks as the European Youth Parliament or Best Porto, local associations very linked to one specific municipality, like Geoclube in Gondomar or AKPV in Póvoa de Varzim, and ones with no specific territorial implantation, often more recent

Conducting those interviews has been the opportunity to discover a bit more of the territory of the district of Porto, which surprised me with the diversity of the urban and rural spaces and landscapes it offers. It was also interesting and inspiring to meet young people inventing new models, like Cura + or Connect ART, or trying to combine the need to adapt their activities to new generations’ expectations and their will to preserve their core objectives, as for instance Geoclube, which started as an associations of nature and sports and is now developing activities in the field of employability and social insertion of young people. 

As associações que conhecemos são muito diversas, em termos de:

  • Tópicos: Direitos das pessoas LGBT, ambiente, desporto, teatro, intervenção social, saúde, diálogo intercultural…
  • Idade: de 2 a mais de 30 anos
  • Escala de implementação: redes internacionais como o Parlamento Europeu da Juventude ou o Best Porto, associações locais muito ligadas a um município específico, como o Geoclube em Gondomar ou o AKPV na Póvoa de Varzim.

Conduzir estas entrevistas foi uma oportunidade de descobrir um pouco mais o território do distrito do Porto, o que me surpreendeu, pela diversidade de espaços e paisagens urbanos e rurais que oferece. Foi, também, interessante e inspirador encontrar jovens que estão a criar novos modelos, como a Cura + ou a Connect ART, ou a conciliar a necessidade de adaptar as suas atividades às expectativas das novas gerações e à sua vontade de preservar os seus objetivos originais, como por exemplo o Geoclube, que começou como uma associação de natureza e agora está a desenvolver atividades no campo da empregabilidade e inserção social dos jovens.

Ecoclube OPE
Connect ART

Participating in the project “ As Retratos das Ilhas”

Participar no projeto “Os Retratos das Ilhas”

When I arrived in Porto one of my objectives was to keep taking theatre classes, as I had been doing in France for the past few years. However, I quickly realized that it wouldn’t be so easy, as there is no such thing as classes for amateurs here. I was complaining about it to a colleague who, by chance, had just heard about free theatre sessions in the Junta de Freguesia do Bonfim, on Tuesdays. Thrilled by this unexpected good news I went there the next week and found out that it was not really a theatre class but theatrical encounters, that are part of a broader artistic, social and communitarian project, called “As Retratos (= Portraits) das Ilhas”.

Quando cheguei ao Porto, um dos meus objectivos era continuar a frequentar as aulas de teatro, tal como vinha fazendo em França nos últimos anos. No entanto, rapidamente percebi que não seria tão fácil, porque aulas para amadores não se vê muito por aqui. Eu comentei esta questão com uma colega que, por acaso, acabara de ouvir falar de sessões gratuitas de teatro na Junta de Freguesia do Bonfim, às terças-feiras. Emocionada com esta boa notícia, fui lá na semana seguinte e descobri que realmente não era uma aula de teatro, mas encontros teatrais, que fazem parte dum projeto artístico, social e comunitário mais amplo, designado por “Os Retratos” das Ilhas “.


This project, promoted by the network Inducar, associates various partners: Pele Espaço, an association developing communitarian theatre projects, the Junta de Freguesia (parish council) do Bonfim, the Municipality of Porto, the Portuguese Photography Center and Máquinas de Outros Tempos, a photography shop. The very good Paulo Pimenta, photograph for the newspaper Público, is in charge of taking pictures of the project. 

Launched in 2016, “Retratos das ilhas” aims at working about the identity of the ilhas of Bonfim, a neighbourhoud located in the east of the city center. Ilhas are a type of urbanization developed for the workers in the 19th that consists of a line of very small houses. 

Este projeto, promovido pela rede Inducar, associa vários parceiros: a Pele Espaço, uma associação que desenvolve projetos de teatro comunitário; a Junta de Freguesia do Bonfim; o Município do Porto; o Centro Português de Fotografia; e Máquinas de Outros Tempos, uma loja de fotografia; e o Paulo Pimenta, um fotógrafo conceituado do jornal Público, que está encarregado de tirar fotos do projeto.

Lançado em 2016, o projeto “Os Retratos das ilhas” visa trabalhar sobre a identidade das ilhas do Bonfim. As ilhas são um tipo de urbanização desenvolvida para os trabalhadores no século XIX.

An ilha is a type of collective housing typical of Porto. It is a private space composed by many tiny houses located inside the neighbourhoods quarters, in the backyards of the bourgeois houses of the 19th century.
The ilhas have commonly 10-12 houses in each side of a narrow (1,20m) and long corridor that leads to the street. The ilhas emerged as an immediate response to the lack of housing for accommodating the large numbers of rural population arriving to Porto in the mid 19th century, to work in the new factories of the recent industrialization.


The objective is to valorize them and its inhabitants as part of Porto’s patrimony, through photography and communitarian theater.

It is intended to reinforce the identity and sense of belonging of those who inhabit these spaces of the city and reveal what is beyond the façades of the Bonfim’s ilhas:  who lives there, who makes it happen, what the ilhas need and of what memories and roots they are made.” (Facebook page desciption)

Se pretende reforçar a identidade e o sentido de pertença de quem habita estes espaços da cidade e revelar o que está para além das fachadas das Ilhas do Bonfim, quem lá mora, quem faz acontecer, de que precisam as Ilhas e de que memórias e raízes são feitas.” (Descrição da pagina Facebook)

I was lucky to be involved in this very rich and complete project, that has been evolving a lot, to adapt to the challenges it has faced. One of them was the difficulty to involve the inhabitants of the ilhas of Bonfim, despite PELE’s and Inducar’s efforts. Indeed, the large majority of our group does not live in ilhas and several, including me, don’t even live in Bonfim.

Tive sorte de encontrar este projecto, que acho muito rico e completo, e que tem evoluído consideravelmente, para adaptar-se aos desafios que enfrentou. Um desses desafios foi a dificuldade de envolver os habitantes das ilhas do Bonfim, apesar dos esforços da PELE e da Inducar. Com efeito, a grande maioria do nosso grupo não mora em ilhas e arredores, nomeadamente eu, que nem sequer vivo no Bonfim.

Paulo Pimento “As Retratos das Ilhas”

To cope with this issue, it was decided to enlarge the meaning of ilha and extend it to the “personal island” that we all have, meaning the physical and mental places where we are alone, where we rest and connect to our roots, but also where we are isolated from the others. Moreover, two other groups were associated to the project: the children of the new social and educative association O Meu Lugar no Mundo, and a group of seniors belonging to the Centro Social Senhor do Bonfim.

Para lidar com essa questão, as dinamizadoras decidiram alargar o significado da ilha e estendê-la à “ilha pessoal” que todos temos, ou seja, os lugares físicos e mentais onde estamos sozinhos, onde descansamos e nos conectamos às nossas raízes, mas onde também poderemos criar relativo isolamento. De acrescentar, dois outros grupos foram associados ao projeto: as crianças da associação social e educativa O Meu Lugar no Mundo e um grupo de idosos pertencentes ao Centro Social do Senhor do Bonfim.

Once a month, since March, the 3 groups gather to pool the work each one has been doing. It was quite a peculiar and amazing experience to dance with over 70 years-old ladies, while Sergio, one member of my group, was rapping. This illustrates well PELE’s artistic approach, that is very open to all kind of expressive arts: in this project theatre, dance, music and photography mingle and enrich our work.

Uma vez por mês, desde março, os 3 grupos reúnem-se para pôr em prática e partilhar o trabalho que cada um tem feito. Dançar com pessoas com mais de 70 anos, enquanto o Sérgio, um membro do meu grupo, estava a rappar. Foi uma experiência bastante única e incrível. Isso ilustra bem a abordagem artística da PELE, que é muito aberta a todo tipo de artes expressivas: em que teatro, dança, música e fotografia se misturam e enriquecem o nosso trabalho.


I also really appreciated the artistic construction process of the project’s leaders: everyone’s contribution is very welcomed and, at the same time, they guide us and make sure that we are building a show. As I’m telling everyone, I believe they succeed in conciliating social concerns and artistic standards.

Eu também apreciei o processo de construção artística do projeto: a contribuição de todos é muito bem-vinda e, ao mesmo tempo, somos bem orientados para garantir a construção do espectáculo final. Considero que conseguem conciliar bem as preocupações sociais e os padrões artísticos:

“Seeking the balance between ethics, aesthetics and effectiveness, assuming artistic creation as a lever for community, social and economic development, contributing to social and territorial cohesion.” PELE

“Procurando o equilíbrio entre ética, estética e eficácia, assumindo a criação artística como uma alavanca para o desenvolvimento comunitário, social e económico, contribuindo para a coesão social e territorial.” PELE

Moreover, in order to really have an impact on the evolutions of Bonfim, its ilhas and inhabitants, the project includes a thinking part, through the participation on various workshops and presentations around the themes of the urban and social transformations of the neighborhood, which is under the high pressure of investors, following the recent and tremendous growth of the tourism sector. Thus the project aims at creating a collective thinking about the issue of gentrification, and to present the conclusions and propositions of this work to the local authorities, which I find very interesting and happens to be very linked to my area of studies: local public policies and urbanism. 

Além disso, para realmente obter impacto na evolução do Bonfim, das ilhas e dos habitantes, o projeto inclui uma componente de pensamento e reflexão, através da participação em vários workshops e apresentações sobre os as transformações urbanas e sociais do Bonfim, que é sob a alta pressão dos investidores, após o recente e tremendo crescimento do setor de turismo. Desta forma, o projeto pretende criar um pensamento colectivo sobre a questão da gentrificação e apresentar as conclusões e propostas deste trabalho às autoridades locais, o que julgo ser muito interessante.

And I just love doing things like pretending I’m a wall, dancing against my partners, or just giving massages to each other.

Apraz-me fazer coisas como fingir que sou uma parede, dançar com os meus parceiros, ou dar e receber massagens.


So, for those who will be around on the 20th of September, don’t miss the final show in Bonfim, which will be part of PELE’s 4th arts and community festival, the MEXE

Então, para aqueles que estarão perto do Bonfim no dia 20 de setembro, não percam o espetáculo final, que fará parte do 4º festival de artes e comunidades da PELE, e do MEXE.

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As a conclusion, I would say that I’ve loved doing an EVS in Porto, a quite small but dynamic city, full of surprises. I particularly love the fact that there are so many semi-abandoned green areas in many parts of the city, and I can’t help finding some charm to some abandoned old houses. I have the feeling that I’m not done discovering and appreciating it.

The 3 projects that I just presented allowed me to meet people that are gathering and joining forces to face the tremendous changes that the city is going through since a few years and have an impact on them. Going against the well-spread idea that Portuguese people are quite passive, a lot of people that I met are seeking a stronger civic involvment of the population, and I wanted to bring a piece of testimony of these initiatives. 

Para concluir, gostaria de dizer que adorei fazer um EVS no Porto, uma cidade pequena, mas dinâmica, cheia de surpresas. Particularmente gosto do fato de que haver tantas áreas verdes e semi-abandonadas. Tenho a sensação que não terminei de descobrir e de apreciar esta cidade.

Os 3 projetos que acabei de apresentar permitiram-me conhecer pessoas que estão a juntar forças para enfrentar as enormes mudanças que a cidade está a atravessar já há alguns anos, e a tentar ter um impacto sobre elas. Contrariando a ideia bastante difundida de que os portugueses são bastante passivos, muitas pessoas que conheci querem desenvolver o envolvimento cívico da população, e eu queria dar o meu contributo através do testemunho destas iniciativas.

To conclude this last post I had no choice but dedicating the song to my lovely ex-flatmate and colleague: Merve Dündar. It’s Turkisk rock and it’s saying: 

Por fim, para concluir este meu último artigo, desejo dedicar uma canção para a minha ex-companheira de casa e colega: Merve Dündar. É uma canção de rock turca, Senden daha Guzel, que diz assim:

I’ve never met anyone more beautiful than you;

I’ve never met anyone more special than you

“Nunca conheci ninguém mais lindo do que tu;

Nunca conheci ninguém mais especial do que tu”