Introducing Madalena Sousa – the newest worker of the CD house

Madalena Sousa might have been living in Brussels for a while, but it was less than one month ago that she moved her work place to the head office to work for AEGEE-Europe. The AEGEEan took the opportunity to talk to Madalena and hear about her work at the house.

The AEGEEan: Can you tell us a bit about yourself? What have you been studying? What are your interests? 

Madalena: I am Madalena Sousa, from Portugal. I moved to Brussels last summer to take a Master’s Degree in Educational Sciences at Vrije Universiteit Brussel.

Since very early I have been involved and active in the youth field at local, national and international level as a volunteer, youth leader, and trainer/facilitator and in 2009 started working in the Portuguese National Youth Council, where I was Policy Officer responsible for Non-Formal Education, Environment and Life Quality and also for Youth Associativism and Participation. At the same time in this platform I was Co-coordinator of the Pool of Trainers.

My academic background is in social education and as part of my studies I have made an international internship in Brazil, for three months on a research project: “Evaluation and participation on-line and off-line: integrated and inter-institutional studies about the best case practices for evaluation, inclusion and participation”.

However, considering my previous experience in the youth movement and my field of studies I am passionate about Management and Innovation in Education.

Did you know about AEGEE before applying for the position?

Considering my previous international experiences in the youth sector being involved in activities organised by the Youth Forum I had the chance to meet AEGEE people.

Recently in the scope of my Master studies AEGEE-Europe was the organization that my working group selected for the Select Chapters on Education and Training Course. There, I had the opportunity to know more about the way it is structured, the different bodies, the working areas and in specific the educational approach that AEGEE has, its implementation and how the learning processes are managed.

How did you hear about the possibility to work for AEGEE-Europe in Brussels?

I might say that it was a good coincidence while I was reading the Courier of the Youth Forum and the name of AEGEE pop-up to my eyes. I decided to open the link and taking into consideration the very good and positive impression due to my working group visit, my field of studies and my previous background in the youth sector I saw an amazing opportunity that I would like to be part in.

What convinced you to apply for the position?

As I explained before I was very much identified with AEGEE values and at the same time to go deeper in the education field related to my Master, as well as interested in having a European experience in the youth field. The position seemed the perfect opportunity to link the practical and the theoretical approach of my study fields in the perfect environment that is AEGEE.

How did your life change when you found out that the CD had decided to hire you?

As I was taking my Master full-time, this opportunity required a better time management of daily priorities in order to keep the balance between my studies and the challenge of the new job but at the same time my personal life. As I was always involved in many different activities at the same time I found it very exciting.

What are you working on in the CD house and what do you think about the experience so far?

The experience so far has been great and new for me due to the fact that the Board is executive but is also working and living in the same place; I found this a very interesting and intense experience.

Until now I have been doing many different things, such as a research and written framework on Youth Work Competences in Europe, for the running project “Certification of the qualifications of youth workers in NGOs”. Following this work that we will develop on the recognition of the youth worker competences and following the policy processes that are related with it I attended the Policy Debate “Partnerships for lifelong learning: a new idea?”.

On the other hand, I also gave inputs and contributions for learning programmes/processes that AEGEE is developing.

Regarding the Eastern Partnership Project, I participated in the conference “Youth Mobility – the key to democratic reforms in the Eastern Partnership Countries”, co-organized by AEGEE-Europe.

Currently I am giving support to the CD in the organisation of the YO Fest! and the conferences for June.

Next step will be re-designing a strategy for the recognition of non-formal education within AEGEE members.

It sure sounds like Madalena has a lot to do in Brussels and this is most certainly not the last time you will hear from her in The AEGEEan.

Written by Patricia Anthony, AEGEE-København