Some people say that the best experiences in life begin with accidents or “with our head-beating on the laptop screen glass” because our application was rejected for a European project and somewhere in our mind we remember there was an interesting project growing in our homeland.

What could have been a “Hello! How are you? How can we help you?” during the first viPicture2sit to SPEAK’s office in Leiria, became an invitation for an inter-religious dialogue session and later on the invitation to join the Associação Fazer Avançar. I was 20 and was on my 3rd year of a Tourism Marketing degree at the School of Tourism and Maritime Technology. I said that, as much as I loved to be a teacher, I had no time for it, so the idea of joining the Association was interesting, it appealed to me the idea of changing the world, sharing ideas with other young people and participating in workshops.

When I finished my degree a lot of changes came – the beginning of adults life. I moved to Lisbon, away from the “beautiful Leiria and the tranquility of Peniche”. The need and interest of learning other languages made me do some research and far from what I had imagined, the project had just started in Lisbon. They needed someone to teach Portuguese and I wanted to learn German, so I said Yes!

Thus began this Adventure, to be a teacher of Portuguese, student of German and still having a full-time job at a hotel. It was not easy to prepare classes, study, work and reconcile schedules.

However, the idea of meeting people from different countries, to help them learning our language, culture and exchange experiences is fantastic, makes you feel helpful, especially when you come from a different city and know neither the city nor the people and want to do more than only work to survive.

Picture3I’ve spent almost two years on the project in Lisbon, I have taught Portuguese, Spanish and English, and in return had the opportunity to learn German, Chinese, Japanese and the possibility of contact with the volunteer teachers, students from all over the world and their friends and having a chance to better understand their culture.

In a changing World and with the current migration crisis we are witnessing in Europe, belonging to SPEAK made me better, more human, more open, more comprehensive, more tolerant, more excited to get to know others (so much that I ended up signing up a master’s degree related to the field) and full of desire to broaden horizons and to make sure that helping others is one of my tasks along the way.

What about you? What are you waiting for? Join us in and share your world, help others and make the world better.

Author: Sara Reis

From Leiria, Peniche, Ibiza, Ferragudo and Lisbon. Loves cultural diversity, movies, books, snorkelling and dreams of travelling around the world, teaching at the same time that develops projects that support social causes, fight for equal human rights and make the World a better place.

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