Do Luxemburgo para a Madeira

Stéphanie Loos e Claire Bodry são duas luxemburguesas voluntárias na ACADÉMICA DA MADEIRA. Tal como milhares de outros jovens de toda a União Europeia, escolheram um país estrangeiro para se envolverem numa experiência formativa, uma verdadeira aventura ao abrigo do programa Erasmus+, no quadro do Corpo Europeu de Solidariedade (ESC).
Stéphanie Florentine Loos e Claire Bodry, voluntárias do Luxemburgo, que integram o programa HERANÇA MADEIRENSE, ao abrigo do programa Erasmus+, em colaboração com o Service National de la Jeunesse.

European Solidarity Corps (ESC) ou Corpo Europeu de Solidariedade, na nossa língua, é a vertente do programa de mobilidade Erasmus+ que permite a milhares de jovens viver num país estrangeiro, dedicando-se ao trabalho voluntário. Da Alemanha, da Itália, da Áustria, ou outro, dezenas de jovens têm escolhido colaborar com a ACADÉMICA DA MADEIRA, em projetos ESC com duração de até um ano.

Através da sua integração no programa HERANÇA MADEIRENSE, aos jovens têm tido um papel ativo na divulgação da cultura madeirense, além da colaboração nos programas de apoio social e voluntáriado da ACADÉMICA DA MADEIRA e na execução de programas de responsabilidade ambiental, como o YOU PRINT, WE PLANT.

No início de 2023, Claire e Stéphanie chegaram à Madeira, vindas do Grão-Ducado do Luxemburgo, para integrarem a equipa internacional da HERANÇA MADEIRENSE. Todos estes jovens voluntários do ESC realizam visitas guiadas pelo Funchal, promovendo a História da Madeira, num programa que promove uma grande componente de educação informal e não-formal.

How did the opportunity arise for you to come to Madeira to participate in the ESC in Students’ Union?

C.B.: I had decided for myself that I was not ready yet to go to university and therefore decided to experience something I normally would not have the chance to. I contacted my local agency in Luxembourg and we quickly went over options for projects and time. After some searching, my eyes landed on this project and I quickly signed up now I will be here under the ESC for the next 6 months.

S.L.: I always wanted to do a volunteer service and after graduation, an opportunity arose. Initially, I was looking for projects in the social sector, and I came across this project in Madeira. The tourism project appealed to me directly because it allowed me to discover a new place, get to know a new culture and improve my language skills. Moreover, I am a fan of history and I am happy to give tours and share my learned knowledge with the tourists and bring them closer to the history of Funchal.

Do you recommend this experience ESC program? In what way is your work important for the local community?

C.B.: Absolutely! I believe that if one has the time and chance to experience a project like this one absolutely should. Not only does it broaden your own knowledge, but you also get to share all this new information with the people that book the tours. You get to exchange with the tourists about your life and opinions on different topics and help them to experience this island in a different way than the average tourist.

Besides all that, the tours we make and the money the tourists pay are helping the island and the students here to help finance their material or accommodation and I think this is the perfect win-win situation for this project.

S.L.: Yes, I can highly recommend the project. I have only been here for 2 weeks, but you learn so much, not only about the program but also about the island and its culture. Also, the program offers the possibility of a new circle of friends among the volunteers and students. As a group, we have already done so much in such a short time: Road trips, restaurant visits, hiking etc. These experiences are not only for passing time but also to bring you closer to the island. In fact, you can tell the tourists about your own highlights and recommend them to others.

The work is very important because the money from the tours is used to support the students here, i.e. material, food or accommodation. Our work enables students with insufficient financial means to attend university and live here.

Did you already know about Portugal or Madeira? What do you think of our land and the People?

C.B.: I have already known about Portugal, however, I barely knew anything about their history and especially not about the history involving Madeira, but this has now quickly changed.

I think this island is breathtakingly beautiful, especially having the sea on one side and the amazing nature with its mountains on the other side. The people here are rather open and they make me feel welcome to use the few words of Portuguese I know at the moment. The island has so many amazing places to visit, and I believe that I will make a lot of memories here during my stay.

S.L.: I am from Luxembourg and one of my best friends is from Portugal, so I know the country. The island is magnificent. The mountains offered the possibility of hiking or canyoning, the sea allows you to try new sports and observe animals, and just like the variety of flowers, nature is simply beautiful. The people are so friendly and helpful. I am so grateful that I got the opportunity to do my voluntary service here in Madeira.

Entrevista conduzida por Carlos Diogo Pereira.
Fotofrafias de Pedro Pessoa.