Discovering new things in Finland

It was 9th of May 2018. I was traveling to Finland for my EVS volunteering period with some excitement and nervousness. I had never visited Europe before, so I was unaware of the weather and cultural differences. I understood that I would be alone in a different kind of a country with different kinds of people and I felt little bit scared.

When I arrived, I got as a host family a woman who was living alone. In the beginning, I did not dare to go alone outside from house, but my host mother supported me: she went with me, which made me feel safer. Eventually I dared to go also alone and gained courage to walk with confidence without worrying about anything and to use different means of transportation. After two weeks in Finland, I already felt like I had gained self-confidence.

In the beginning, I did not dare to go alone outside from house, but my host mother supported me: she went with me, which made me feel safer.

I volunteer in an arts&crafts workshop for adults with learning disabilities. I support the participants of the workshop in making textiles and art crafts. I like my voluntary work place. The people there have helped me to discover new things. As my profession is nurse, I had experience in working with people with disabilities, but I was surprised how creative they can be. The participants of the workshop make many different kinds of and beautiful art works, and every time I am learning to do this with them I feel comfortable. Working with them makes me feel joy.

It is my first experience volunteering in a different country and for its weather, and me, Finland and its languages, people and food have felt very different to me. For instance, in India, food is spicy and here in Finland it is not. However, every day I have tried to eat some Finnish food and I have learned to like it – even though my favorite food here is falafels. I have always been ready to try new things even they would sometimes turn out to be very wrong for me. This has been inspiring for me. For example, when I first went out with my host mother and tried to eat Finnish food, it was looking tasty but when I tried it, the taste was not good for me. But now the food has become very tasty for me. I mostly like different types of vegetarian Finnish food because I am a vegetarian.

The Finnish language has been a big challenge for me. In the beginning, it was so difficult to understand it or to say something in Finnish, but my host family, friend, and people from my voluntary work place have taught me daily words. That is how I have learned to speak a little bit Finnish. It is always very good to learn a new language, and for me Finnish sounds very beautiful. Gradually I have discovered that I can speak in Finnish with the people. It made me happy to gain more courage to communicate at my workplace and host family.

It is always very good to learn a new language, and for me Finnish sounds very beautiful. Gradually I have discovered that I can speak in Finnish with the people. It made me happy to gain more courage to communicate at my workplace and host family.

I think volunteering in Finland has been a great experience. I am so happy to have had a chance to live here. I will never forget these sweet memories and nice people. The people I have met have always been very kind and have always helped me whenever I have needed help. That is why I respect and love Finland and the people who live here.

Thanks.

Kirandeep Kauer

Kirandeep did a European Voluntary Service volunteering period in Luovilla workshop of the association Lyhty in Helsinki as a part of an Erasmus+ Key Action 2 project  “Skills and Competences for a Global World”. The project aims to strengthen the non-formal and intercultural learning impacts on the volunteers and to investigate these impacts in terms of the skills and competences they gain.