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Different Perspectives of Volunteers – Part III

We have started a small joint project with volunteers we got to know in Finland. As the situation for all people around the world has changed, it has a huge impact on the lifes of volunteers as well. Coming to Finland to get in touch with people and culture, it became very limited. How do the volunteers feel about that? How does work look like nowadays? Are there huge changes?

We have asked 12 volunteers (including us) in Finland coming from different countries to write about their experiences and thoughts.

Here are the last four reports.

Laura 🇲🇶

I am feeling ok still about my volunteering. There is not a direct threat in the region and my HO is closing within two weeks. The only difference is that there are no custumers at the moment and some of my co-workers have been sent home. My work-place look pretty empty now when it’s supposed to be the high season. It’s a pitty, I was ready to show off my progress in Finnish to the groups. I have enough to get myself busy for a month but I am planning on staying in Finland and put my project on a pause so that the end date is postponed.

Lucie 🇨🇿

My name is Lucie, and I am from Czech Republic. I study art education and arts are also my hobbies, together with hiking, reading and playing games (boardgames, LARP, PC games). I chose my project in  Nuorten Taidetyöpaja in Jyväskylä because it was connected with my study and I had to go somewhere for an international internship. I had no high expectations, just looking forward to learn something new in my field and share ideas, meet a few new people and maybe slow a little down with my life. But I have found so many new things there! I have tried some new activities, found friends and whole new myself! During my volunteering period, I have made some important decisions about my life and future, thanks to a new perspective I got there. Also, I have decided to come back to Finland in future, to meet people and discover more from that fantastic country. Because of spring 2020 situation, I had to leave Finland and return home. I was very sad, but we agreed with my organisation that I would come back when possible to continue the project. And I am happy that I stepped out from my comfort zone and went here. It is definitely worth it.

Olga 🇩🇪

“The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future by merely changing his attitude.” – Oprah Winfrey

Hard times came up for me as youth work has been cancelled. As coming to Finland with many expectations to learn more about youth work and myself, I see that there are only few possibilities to achieve former expectations. At first, I have been struggling with my role as a volunteer abroad and my new spontaneous but also more monotonous tasks. I felt like being trapped in digital work without having any balance of movement and getting in touch with people and culture.

After many nice talks and self-reflection I am looking forward to accepting new challenges, I have not expected coming. It is all about attitude. It is time to look forward and make new expectations or even look for the old ones and make them fit to the new situation. At the moment it feels totally right to continue the volunteering project. I am looking forward to making up new ideas and activities for future youth work at Hyvärilä. I am happy and positive-minded!

Veronika 🇦🇹

Heyho! My name is Veronika and I started my ESC project on the 2nd December 2019.

My project

For my project I stayed in a school for youth workers called Peräpohjolan Opisto or shorter and easier to say: PPO. The school is situated in Tornio which is a city in the north of Finland directly at the border to Sweden.

My project included working in youth houses around the city, planning/organizing activities and cooking with and for the students who lived with me in the dormitory. I met so many nice people there and made some friend. I even had the possibility to learn some Finnish which was hard, but interesting because it is such a unique language.

Why Finland?

The main reasons for me to come to Finland were to get to know the culture, to enjoy the nature and to experience a different climate than in my home country. Even though the temperature rarely climbed above 0°C and snow covered everything I took many walks outside. Here you are never far away from a forest, lake or river. Also, I was able to watch the famous Northern Lights dance among the stars. 

Experiences and Stories

During my time up in “the north” I took part in a one-week lasting training camp in Kokkola where I met volunteers from all over Europe. The goal of this camp was to improve our skills in teamwork, problem solving and how to become a perfect volunteer. Besides the planed activities we had time to get to know each other and our cultures and exchange experiences and stories. 

Another story worth telling is my week in Kuusamo. There I worked in a big youth centre at the reception. Each year the “Rajalta Rajalle Hiihto” (translated: Border-to-Border ski race) takes place. It is a cross-country skiing race where you ski from the border of Russia across Finland to the border of Sweden.  I helped organizing the rooms for the racers and used my language skills in English, German and French to inform them about the race itself, the surroundings and the schedule.

Kuusamo is famous for it’s nature. Around this area are many reindeer farms and hiking paths. A colleague of mine took me to one of these farms and we walked through the Riisitunturi National Park where the trees are completely covered in snow which means that they look like figures and animals. 

Pausing my project

Sadly, I had to go back to Vienna due to of the current situation. It was a hard decision for me. I didn’t want to stop my project, but I was also scared of being separated from my family without having the chance to go back, because of the closed borders.

I held daily contact with my sending and hosting organization. Thankfully they agreed with me to pause the project for the time being and continue it when everything goes back to normal. 


Currently I’m staying at home for most of the time – like most of the other people – to prevent the spreading of the virus. Still, I’m trying to help wherever I can by joining an organization called “Team Österreich”, which sends people to help supermarkets, farmers and elderly people. 

My family – especially my mother – is happy to have me back here and I’m spending more time than ever with them. Through social media, Skype and phone calls I keep contact with my friends. Because now more than ever we need out friends and family.

My future plans

Personally, I think it is difficult to plan something for the future in this situation. I’m trying to live day by day, but also looking positively into the near future. I’m still holding on to my plan of starting to study media & journalism in autumn. If everything goes back to normal before summer I will go back to Finland and finish my project.

Stay positive and healthy guys! 


Published by volunteersofhyvarila

Hello! We are volunteers at Hyvärilä Youth Centre, Nurmes, Finland sharing experiences and projects.

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