The Board of Maailmanvaihto

The board of Maailmanvaihto – ICYE Finland  is in charge of our operations and co-operation with other non-governmental organizations. The board works on a voluntary basis.

Maailmanvaihto’s board is selected by the general assembly, the highest decision-making body of the organization, which meets twice a year. All members of Maailmanvaihto are allowed to vote in the general assembly. Maailmanvaihto has some seven hundred members.

Board 2021

  1. How did you end up joining in the activities of Maailmanvaihto?
  2. What sorts of tasks have you had in Maailmanvaihto?
  3. With what kind of a life philosophy do you approach your position as a board member and life in general?
  4. Share a nice memory from participating in Maailmanvaihto’s activities.


A closeup photo on Lea Absetz.

Lea Absetz

Volunteering abroad

  1. I volunteered through Maailmanvaihto in India in 2015–2016.
  2. Before joining the board, I have participated for several years in Maailmanvaihto’s school visiting activities. I was also part of a camp kitchen team and this year, for the first time, I will interview applicants of Maailmanvaihto’s volunteering programs.
  3. In India, I was taught that you should always cook without a recipe. Then if your food has too much salt or chili, you will know to put in less next time, and over time you’ll learn to get it just right.
  4. Before my volunteering period in India, I became friends with a Mexican volunteer at Maailmanvaihto’s pre-departure camp. About a year and a half later, when I was about to return to Finland from my volunteering period, I found out his little sister was coming to work at the same school and would be accommodated in my old room!


A closeup photo on Mia-Elina AIntila.

Mia-Elina Aintila

Communication work: MaailmanVaihtoa – Volunteers’ Voices magazine

  1. I volunteered through Maailmanvaihto in Colombia for a year.
  2. I have done an internship at Maailmanvaihto, presented the organization in events, and interviewed applicants for volunteering. I have also participated in training camp teams and made the layout of the magazine of Maailmanvaihto. So, a bit of everything!
  3. Eagerly and with curiosity: there is always something to learn, people and meaningful interaction are priorities
  4. Year after year, the thoughts of the participants who head abroad for volunteering give me joy and inspiration. Also, the stories of the returnees’ personal insights keep on impressing me strongly.


A closeup photo on Sasu Katajamäki.


Sasu Katajamäki

  1. I headed through Maailmanvaihto to India for six months of volunteering in 2014–2015. After my volunteering period, I have aimed at participating in Maailmanvaihto’s activities in different ways, because this way I can keep on supporting the activities which are important for me.
  2. I have participated in Maailmanvaihto’s activities as a school visitor and an interviewer of those who apply for volunteering abroad. Now I participate as a board member and a vice-chairperson.
  3. As in life in general, I aim at bringing forward in my board member tasks my warmth and cheer up others. 😊
  4. At Maailmanvaihto’s pre-departure training camp, I met a volunteer from Japan who was currently in Finland. When I introduced myself, the volunteer told me that my name means in Japanese some sort of a way to hit with a Japanese katana. I was in a new way very impressed by the choice of name made by my parents!


A closeup photo on Roosa Kontiokari.

Roosa Kontiokari


  1. I went to volunteer in Nepal through Maailmanvaihto in autumn 2014. After my return, I stayed in the activities of Maailmanvaihto.
  2. Many kinds! At least I have been a board member, participated in communication and training camp tasks, and acted as a school visitor.
  3. Life is much more fun when you know how to laugh at yourself and also a bit at other things, too.
  4. While volunteering in Nepal, I, by coincidence, bumped into my Indian friend, whom I had got to know while they were volunteering in Finland.


A closeup photo on Anna Mäkinen.

Anna Mäkinen

Volunteering in Finland: training camps

  1. I came along to the activities of Maailmanvaihto through an internship. The atmosphere at the office was very inspiring, the tasks interesting and the vision of the organization so well-fitting to my values that I decided to try my wings also as a member of the board!
  2. During my internship I participated in all the arrangements related to the programme of the incoming volunteers and I got to lead their on-arrival training camp. Afterwards I have participated in the camp activities as a volunteer.
  3. It’s a cliché, but true: with an open mind towards new challenges!
  4. I’ve got plenty of opportunities for international networking through Maailmanvaihto by representing it at different trainings, cooperation projects and camps. I’ve got to know cool people who I’m still in touch with and meet, sometimes by coincidence.


A closeup photo on Venla Ristolainen.

Venla Ristolainen

Volunteering in Finland: support person activities

  1. I headed for EVS volunteering in Poland in fall 2017. After my volunteering period, I have participated in Maailmanvaihto’s activities.
  2. I have done school visits in upper secondary education institutions and participated in different kinds of events as a representative of Maailmanvaihto.
  3. Always towards new challenges, to experience, and to learn! The best in life are people and meetings, from them you find the best knowledge and learning.
  4. I ended up joining in Maailmanvaihto’s activities actually by accident. I began independently applying for volunteering abroad and noticed along the way that I need a sending organization. Through a brief Google search, I found Maailmanvaihto and I contacted them. I would not have believed that I would join this community so tightly. It has been rewarding to participate. I look forward eagerly to the upcoming years of co-operation!


A closeup photo on Siiri Sandberg.

Siiri Sandberg

Communication work: social media

  1. I headed to Kenya to volunteer through Maailmanvaihto in autumn 2018.
  2. I have taken part in training those who travel abroad for volunteering from Finland and welcoming international volunteers to Finland.
  3. Wind in the sails and towards new challenges!


A closeup photo on Alma Smolander.

Alma Smolander

Communications work: school visiting activities

  1. I spent a gap year after upper secondary school as a volunteer in Vietnam.
  2. I am a member of the communication team and my area of responsibility is school visits. Also, I have been participating in many events as a presenter of Maailmanvaihto and been part of the project Standing Together Against Racism in Europe.
  3. One gets by with a positive attitude.
  4. Through Maailmanvaihto I have got to know many wonderful people with whom I have shared many wonderful moments. For example, with the volunteers, I met in Vietnam and I have gathered together more than once to celebrate the new year together, even if we nowadays live in several different countries.

A closeup photo on Elina Villberg.

Elina Villberg

  1. As a part of my university studies, I did my internship at Maailmanvaihto’s office in the fall of 2019.
  2. I have for example been responsible for the cooking and kitchen duties at a few camps and represented Maailmanvaihto at various events.
  3. I have a joyful and curious attitude towards things and people – you can learn something new from everything and everyone.
  4. Once on an otherwise not-so-snowy winter, we got a proper winter wonderland for Maailmanvaihto’s camp. We made snow sculptures and went to the sauna and ice swimming, which was an exciting first for many. It was nice to be a part of the feeling you get when you dare to do something you’ve never done before.


A closeup photo on Fabienne Zogg.

Fabienne Zogg

Communications work

  1. I volunteered through Maailmanvaihto for half a year in Ghana in the season 2014–2015. After returning to Finland, I joined the volunteering activities of Maailmanvaihto.
  2. I have participated in presenting Maailmanvaihto at different events and interviewed applicants for volunteering. I have also worked as the second editor-in-chief of Maailmanvaihto’s magazine.
  3. Every experience is an opportunity to learn and to grow.
  4. When I once accommodated a foreign volunteer for a few days, we became quickly really good friends and we still keep in close contact.