Hi!!! My name is Jorge Barriga and I’m from Portugal. A little more than 2 years ago I took a really new step in my life.
I’m an outgoing person who always liked to meet new people, cultures, travel, teamwork, learn, do and experience new things, help others and making people around me happy… So when I finished my degree in International Relations I was looking for a job but the job interviews I was having were for things that I actually wouldn’t like to be doing and I also felt I didn’t want to take the “normal” path and have the same routine every day. I also knew I wanted to do/work/live in a way that I could help others and be involved with the people and communities and really like the cooperation for development area.

I got inspired by a friend that did a programme in CICD and after that also created her own association which help orphaned kids, so I decided to search and know more about this college and programmes. I had some online meetings about the programmes, the community life in the college and for me it was quite clear and quick to realize that I wanted to do a programme and be in a different kind of school and live in a community with people from all kinds of backgrounds, experiences, beliefs, countries, cultures so I decided to join the 18 months Fighting with the Poor programme. Although the programme would start in November I came 6 months before and joined GAIA scholarship because I couldn’t pay for the programme and this was the way I could raise a scholarship to cover the course fees. So I arrived in the end of April of 2016 and the programme finished in May of 2018. The programme itself consisted in 6 months in CICD with studies, practical actions and fundraising, 6 months in a project in Africa or India and 6 months of journal period where you share your experience and bring out the knowledge, information and show the reality of the place you’ve been. I was in the Farmer’s Club project in ADPP Mozambique and it was an amazing project and place to be. Beside that my team were also in the journal period working with refugees in Lesbos, Greece which was another life-changing experience that was definitely worth it!!!

I’m really happy I took this decision because it has been a life-changing experience!!! I’ve been learning a lot of things, experience and doing a lot of new things I never thought I would be doing, meeting and living with amazing people, beside the fact that also it has been amazing to know myself better, improve and keep developing myself. Also the fact that I had some “eye-opening” experiences and seeing and living in and with some different realities and cultures made me more humble, tolerant, practical, thankful for what I have and appreciate the small things in life (between other things).

So, if you are also interested in living and learning “outside the box”, help others and willing to try to change/fight (bit by bit) the “system” and kind of societies and world we’ve been living in, this is definitely a good place and experience to have… But I must say it won’t be easy!!! It takes a lot of hard work, flexibility, tolerance, willpower between others to do it but “in the end” I’m sure it will change you and is worth it. When you get out of your comfort zone that is when you learn the most so don’t be afraid to try and fail a lot of times because that’s how we develop and grow. So be happy, enjoy life - and if you really want this experience join us in CICD.