Become a Host Family

Invite the world into your home! Become a host family for a young volunteer from abroad.

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Become a host family! Through Maailmanvaihto, around thirty young volunteers from abroad come to Finland for volunteer work annually. Volunteers work in nonprofit organisations & learn about local culture and way of life, and as a host family, you get to know one of them.

Being a host family provides an opportunity to strengthen language skills and communicate with someone who has come to Finland from elsewhere. At the same time, it opens up a chance to see your environment from a new perspective. For volunteers, the time spent with a host family offers a unique opportunity to experience local everyday life in Finland beyond their volunteer work.

Most volunteers work in the fields of education or social work – in schools or workshops for adults with intellectual disabilities, for example. Volunteers are aged at least 18 years and usually between 18 and 30. They come to Finland from America, Europe, Africa, and Asia.

“If you are interested in becoming a host family, just give it a try! You can start with, let’s say, six months and see how you feel along the way.” – Mari Harju

Who Can Become a Host Family?

We are looking for families and individuals who are interested in getting to know a new person and their cultural background, and sharing their home and daily life with a new family member.

About one-third of volunteers need a host family each year; the rest live in accommodation provided by their volunteer placement. Maailmanvaihto provides orientation to host families and supports them throughout the hosting period. Volunteers receive training for their volunteer work and host family life from the sending organization in their home country and from Maailmanvaihto in Finland.

Three adults and two children sitting on a sofa, all are smiling to the camera.

Volunteer as Part of the Family

A host family takes a volunteer as a family member with rights and responsibilities. The volunteer is not a hotel guest but is not a domestic worker or subtenant either. The family provides accommodation and food for the volunteer. Having a private room is not a requirement, but the young person should have some own space in the home.

“Our volunteer was a truly fantastic new friend who quickly became important to the whole family. It was a privilege to be part of this young person’s life and support them on the threshold of adulthood, giving courage for new adventures!” – Salla Finlow-Bates

It is important to create a cozy atmosphere and involve the volunteer in family routines, celebrations, and hobbies. Additionally, it is good to openly discuss expectations, schedules, and everyday practices, such as participating in household chores.

When and How to Apply?

Most of the volunteers arrive in Finland in August. If you would be interested in becoming a host family for one of them, please contact us in the previous spring. If you are interested and would like to learn more about becoming a host family, please contact us:

Programme Coordinator Mari Takalo
+358 44 318 0888

“I highly recommend becoming a host family. You don’t need special skills or a fancy apartment. Ordinary everyday life was the most rewarding, and even just enjoying together some chocolate gingerbread cookies can serve as a celebration.” – Tiina Arasola