In April, Max Schodry was looking forward to volunteering for the last month at a Finnish primary school and experiencing the summer in Finland with his host family and friends.
1. Hi Max! What kind of tasks has did you have in April?
I volunteer in a primary school. In April, my main task was, like all the other months, to assist my mentor in her English lessons. In these lessons, I usually help the children with their exercises. Especially children who have problems in English I try to support. Moreover, I do little tasks to help my mentor prepare her lessons.
A few hours a week, I have little supportive English lessons on my own with 2–5 children. Most of the time we are just rehearsing grammar and words they already know, but because I plan these classes myself I can integrate own ideas. In addition, we have different club activities at our school, and I have a few clubs on my own e.g. a sport club and a Minecraft club. Those are the most fun tasks, because I am free to decide what to do and how to it. Of course, if I ever need help I can ask my mentor or other teachers.
2. What are your expectations for the rest of your volunteering period as well as the year?
The Finnish school year ends in the end of May, and I expect that my last month at the school will be as good as all the months before. Besides my work, I look forward to having an awesome time with my host family and my friends. Especially my host families made my year here to what it is. Furthermore, I want to travel more and get to know new people. After my voluntary work year I will go back to Germany and start vocational education there.
3. Maailmanvaihto is working to advance intercultural understanding. What do you think is the volunteers’ role in this?
In my opinion, it is rather simple. On the one hand, because I live in Finland I learn about the Finnish culture through my host family, my friends etc. On the other hand, they learn about the German culture through me. Because I live for a year here, I have better possibilities to learn about this country than someone who stays for a few months, for instance. I can get the whole amount of Finland.
4. How would you like to see Maailmanvaihto’s activities evolve in the future?
All the training camps and events I participated in were nicely organized and a lot of fun. I would not know how to improve the activities, but for me there was another problem: I missed most of the other activities besides the camps because they were organized in Helsinki – it was hard and expensive to take part in them because I live around five hours away. I would suggest organizing some activities in other bigger cities, too.
5. What is your own experience of intercultural learning in Maailmanvaihto’s activities?
An example is not hard to find, because all the time when you are at a camp or an event of Maailmanvaihto, you are in contact with people from all over the world and you talk, play games and go to sauna together. Through this, I learned so much about other countries – about the food, music and living circumstances in general, for instance.
6. Three reasons to join Maailmanvaihto’s activities?
My first reason is that you get to know people from all over the world and make friends with them. This leads directly to my second reason. You get new viewpoints on different topics and you learn that stereotypes are not always right. My last reason, and maybe the most important one for me, is that the activities are just so much fun to participate in. There are not many places in Finland where you find Indians, Mexicans, Finns, Germans etc. sitting together and playing cards.
Finally, your greetings to the 60-year-old Maailmanvaihto?
You are doing are great job with all the events and the organization. Keep it that way!
In the photo Max is with his host family. From the left: Tanja, Markku, Max, Terhi, Tiina, Tuja and Kirsti.
The article series My anniversary year presents once a month during Maailmanvaihto’s 60th anniversary year what’s going on in the lives of people connected with the organization. The anniversary year is filled with different kinds of activities and people!