Experiences & lessons learned

On this page you'll find experiences from past volunteers who've completed their projects and past volunteering teams & camps that have been organised in our home country, Finland!

Long term projects

A year at Allianssi Youth Exchanges

Estera just finished her ESC volunteering project in Allianssi Youth Exchanges office. Here is how she described it:

I learned a lot about myself and discovered new aspects of who I am. I'll always be thankful for the welcoming and accepting atmosphere I experienced throughout the year. During this time, I met the most lovely people who, in the end, became my international family.

Read more about her experience volunteering in Helsinki, Finland

A year at Allianssi Youth Exchanges

Nicoletta just finished her ESC volunteering project in Allianssi Youth Exchanges office in Helsinki, Finland.

This experience changed my life and I know it’s sounds cliché, but it really did; it helped me to grow, to look at the world with different eyes, to embrace the beauty of diversity and interculturality. I’m so grateful for all the people I’ve met, all the things I’ve done, seen and learned; they have a special spot in my heart. ❤️‍🩹

Read more about Nicoletta's working experience in Finland!

A year at Monaliiku ry

Marc finished his one year long project in Finland at Monaliiku ry, an organisation that works to support the well-being of migrant women through sports. 

"I will definitely recommend this experience to everyone under 30 years old. Although at the beginning it can seem scary, It is a unique experience that you will not regret!"

Read more about his experience staying and working in Helsinki, Finland!

A year at Allianssi Youth Exchange

Ioana spent her ESC - volunteering year working at the Allianssi youth exchange offices in Helsinki, Finland. 

"My project in Allianssi Youth Exchanges was a journey full of adventures and opportunities, and I don't know how to thank the people enough for their support and encouragement. I really want to say, at the end of my project, kiitos paljon, Suomi!"

Read more about her year of new experiences!

9 months at Dodo oy

Alicia was a long-term volunteer at Dodo, a Finnish environmental NGO based in Helsinki that addresses environmental issues in the community, embraces complexity, and figures things out together

" Now that this adventure is coming to an end, I know for sure that ESC volunteering has been the best decision I could have made. "

Read more about her thoughts on the year that passed through the link in the heading!

A year at LEKO

Khrystina spent a year in Loimaa Evangelical Folk High School which is  involved in local and international projects for kids, youth. 

" Although my time as a long-term volunteer has come to an end, the things I learned and the experiences I made will stay with me forever."

Read more about her thoughts on the year that passed through the link in the heading!

A year at Sininauhasäätiö

Paulina spent a year volunteering for Sininauhasäätiö, a finnish organisation that provides help for individuals struggling with homelessness, substance abuse and mental health problems. 

"I am so grateful for having had this opportunity to explore a new country, culture and work field that has helped me grow and learn more than I could ever imagine. "

Read more about her thoughts on the year that passed through the link in the heading!

Volunteering teams

Diverisity to Community

This volunteering team spend 2 weeks in Kuusamo  - a small city on the north of Finland, but unexpectedly, international, opening doors to refugees and asylum seekers.

We are trying to unite people by showing that despite all our differences we are all similar. - Dana


Volunteers all over Europe joined together to help build a local Finnish festival called "Aukusti" in Jalasjärvi. Read the full story to see how the group leader Juho-Pekka describes their experience!

No one really knew what to expect from these two weeks but in the end the weather and sun was on our side to keep the mood up and spirit high! -Juho-Pekka

Flora of Finland

This two week long volunteering project was held in beautiful Punkaharju. Read more about the participants thoughts and reflections after the project through the link above!

Being so close to nature and learning so much about it made me feel very lucky ! - Juliette

Animal Rescue Home

This volunteering team of 10 spent a few weeks amongst the nature in Salo, taking care of animals of Kytömaa animal home! Read more about their experience through the link!

After a week at the Kytömaan farm, I feel that we have formed a great family, thank you for your warm affection.  I carry you and Finland in my heart and I promise to return!” - Ivan


In summer 2022, a volunteer group created art for a festival and helped local youth workers with group activities for the new seventh graders. Read more about Jose's experience organising 'Kotofest' above!

”Volunteering in Finland has brought a transformation to my life, I have learned so much and I also have understood myself on levels I had never before. It's been wonderful to volunteer in this beautiful country for a while, I hope I go back soon!” 

Volunteers making art for 'Kotofest'
Canoing at Yläne

Nature School 

Nature School, a two week long ESC - volunteering camp in Yläne,  consisted of helping a local school and doing nature-related activities like canoing and fishing!

"Best experience of my life! I am very happy with the two weeks I spent in Finland, I made new friends, learnt many new things and practised my English. The time went by super fast but it was always full and rewarding."

Preservation of Suomenlinna

This ESC - volunteering team worked on preserving and presenting Suomenlinna, a World Heritage site! Their volunteering experience consisted of garden work, helping resident artists and surveying tourists, to figure out how they enjoyed their stay and to see if they have suggestions on improvements!

The volunteers in Suomenlinna

Wellbeing from Nature

Volunteers learned forest navigation, conservation, and craftsmanship to harmonize with Finnish nature. After the project with nature-based activities, participants returned home with a greater understanding of eco-friendly living and environmental protection. 

Stockfors Wellbeing Village

The host organisation Kasvajat aims at promoting the wellbeing of individuals, communities and whole society. It works to change attitudes towards mental wellbeing 

The volunteers  assisted in many practical tasks such as moving furniture and doing some construction work etc. to maintain and tidy the area for the summer.

House of Friendship

The purpose of the host association is to practice welfare-promoting hospitality, regardless of religion, sexual or gender orientation or worldview, by promoting face-to-face dialogue, preventing exclusion, rejection and violence in all its forms.

The volunteers  took part in manual maintenance and seasonal tasks indoors and outdoors. This was a community project suitable for volunteers interested in experiencing a place of good will, mutual respect, compassion and doing together.

Nature films 

The Savonlinna International Nature Film Festival was organized on 18th to 21st August, and the volunteers assisted in various tasks before and during the festival. The main values of the festival were related to the protection of nature and the respect for the environment, so the festival recycled and minimized the waste as much as possible. In addition to the festival preparations, the volunteers did nature activities such as tidying the hiking routes and picking berries, along with other tasks. There were also some Finnish language and culture lessons, workshops, and relaxation sessions.

Sustainable Summer

Over the course of two weeks, the volunteers engaged in various nature-related activities while getting to know the surrounding area. They tidied hiking routes, created seal-friendly fish traps to protect the endangered Saimaa seal, and learned how to make birdhouses for small birds. The group learned about recycling and sustainability, and they visited places such as an arboretum. Additionally, they had Finnish language and culture lessons, workshops, and time for relaxation.

Sound of Forest 

Over a span of two weeks, the participants had a great time learning about the forests, plants, and wildlife in the Punkaharju region. They even had the thrilling opportunity to try and spot a Saimaa seal  in the Linnansaari National Park.

They didn't just learn; they also gave back by cleaning up their neighborhood from invasive plants,  they helped organize a sports event in Oravi and a multicultural event at Itä-Karjalan Kansanopisto, bringing people from different backgrounds together for fun and learning.

It was an all-around fantastic experience that combined nature exploration, community service, and cultural exchange.

Easter in Valencia 

For a full two weeks, volunteers  lived in a quaint little village named Sanet y Negrals on the east coast of Spain. The village was  beautful, with orange trees, mountains, and colorful houses all around.

The tasks were quite diverse. They gave a accommodation makeover, added some charm to the rooftop terrace, and even tried hand at making delicious orange marmalade.

In free time, they  had lots of fun. They explored other nearby cities, checked out local attractions, went for swims in the sea, took hikes in the beautiful mountains, and even got a chance to learn about beekeeping. It was a great mix of work and play, and we made wonderful memories during our time in Spain. 🌄🍊🏞️🌆

Erasmus+ Youth Exchanges and Trainings

"Plastic is not Fantastic", 23.5.-5.6.2021, online

"Plastic is not Fantastic" was a youth Exchange gathering online young people from Finland, France, Greece, Estonia and Iceland. The aim of the youth exchange was to reflect on plastic consumption around the world and to think about ideas and actions in order to reduce it. As people were from different countries, we had the opportunity to compare our different practices regarding shopping and recycling but also to discuss about the awareness on this topic in our countries.

IVS4Life, 16.-20.6.21, online + 18.-24.10.21, Lage Vuursche, The Netherlands

The first sessions of IVS4Life was a training held online from the Dutch organisation SIW. The aim of this training was to provide the IVS group leaders with innovative skills to facilitate cross-cultural communication and self-development in their IVS camps, using the method of forum theatre.

First of all, a lot of this online training was about creating a safe and supportive space for all participants. This, in order to fully develop forum theatre. The team building activities and energizers took an important place as it allowed us to feel more comfortable with each other and to get more and more familiar with the concept of forum theatre. One of the exercises was for example using only our bodies to express an emotion.