What’s up with the volunteers of Maailmanvaihto? Two of them share their greetings. Laura Korhonen traveled for volunteering from Finland to Kenya and Manali Vasanth from India to Finland. Korhonen volunteered in a primary school and Vasanth in a folk high school.
Interviews: Tuuli-Maria Mäki & Mariam Darbaidze
Manali: From India to Finland
I wanted to join international volunteering… to learn and experience a new culture and community. I wanted to challenge myself and move outside my comfort zone while also meeting new people with experiences entirely different from my own.
I ended up at my voluntary workplace because… I wanted to work in an educational institution for young adults.
My volunteering days were filled with… working with the teachers as an assistant and attending several classes a day held in English. I also worked at the library and kitchen, depending on the day in question.
The language I used to communicate with the people… was English.
I think that inspirational co-operation in volunteering builds on… mutual respect. The volunteer must respect the culture and community of the host country and project, while the project and host organization must respect the volunteer’s skills, abilities, and interests.
For those interested in volunteering abroad, I wish to say… go for it. You will learn many things both about yourself and the country you wish to volunteer in. Spend the first few months focusing not just on your duties at the project but also building a local support network. Lastly, take each day as it comes with the aim of exploring all opportunities that present themselves.