Become a Support Person or Family

Maailmanvaihto’s support persons and families help young volunteers from abroad to make new contacts and adjust to everyday life in Finland.

Finland is seldom a familiar place for the volunteers beforehand, and it is likely that they do not have many social contacts in Finland at the beginning of their volunteer period.

Support persons and families ease the volunteers’ accommodation process by familiarizing them with the local customs and way of life. Every volunteer will get a support person or a support family.

”Becoming a support person helps to realize how similar we are despite our different backgrounds: we are all human, and besides the differences, there is a lot in common.” – Iina Yrttimaa, support person

Becoming a support person or a support family offers a chance to learn about the volunteer’s cultural background and language – such as Spanish, Russian or Swahili. In addition, it is likely that you will find yourself trying out new things in your local area, things that you might not otherwise try out.

What do the support persons and families do?

First and foremost they spend time with the volunteer. They can, for example, invite the volunteer over, celebrate festivals with them or help with finding hobbies. They are both friends and guides to the new environment for the volunteer. In addition, they are people who the volunteer can easily contact.

A support person or a support family is an important part of the volunteer’s support network, which includes also the voluntary workplace, possible host family, and the office staff of Maailmanvaihto. The volunteers and support persons often have something in common, such as age, interests, or the languages they speak.

Both support persons and support families are in touch with the volunteer regularly. The support family is also willing to accommodate the volunteer during weekends and holidays, either occasionally or regularly.

For whom?

We yearly look for support persons and families yearly from many towns and cities. Support person and support family activities are suitable for all those who are interested in getting to know a new person and supporting them. We are looking for people who are at least 18 years old.

It is good to have at least basic conversational skills in English or in the volunteer’s native language. Having experience in living in a another culture is a benefit but not a necessity.

We require the support persons and support families to commit to the task for the whole volunteering period (6–12 months, usually starting from August).


A training session for the support persons and families (1 person per family) is organized yearly at the beginning of the volunteering season, in August. For those who are to become a support person for the first time, it is required to take part in the training.

If needed, Maailmanvaihto may organize extra meetings for the support persons and families later during the voluntary work year. Support persons also receive a guidebook (in Finnish).

Five people outside in a forest on a sunny day.

When and how to apply?

We mainly receive volunteers yearly in August. The right time to apply to become a support person for one of the volunteers starting in August is May–June.

Currently, we are looking for support persons and families for these volunteers who will arrive in Finland in August 2022:

In addition, we are looking for support persons and families for volunteers from these locations for our current volunteers:

If you got interested, please contact us! We’ll then send you a brief application form to fill in. 🙂

We will have a brief interview (online or live) with all the new people who want to join in the support person and support family activities so that we can get to know each other a bit more before agreeing upon the co-operation.

Our contact information:

Programme coordinator Mari Takalo
+358 44 318 0888