South Ostrobothnia Folk High School – Etelä-Pohjanmaan Opisto (EPOP)

Are you interested in volunteering in an educational community? Would you like to support the students and staff of a folk high school? Welcome to Etelä-Pohjanmaan Opisto!

Etelä-Pohjanmaan Opisto (South Ostrobothnia Folk High School) is an education centre situated in the small countryside town of Ilmajoki. It works like a Nordic folk high school offering full time studies in culture, open university, liberal adult education in both general education and vocational education and training. Our school offers both long term study programmes and short courses. The fields of study include art, beauty and make-up, aviation and drone, and youth and leisure instructing, and psychology, for example. Every year over 400 students attend our different study programmes. About half of the students have a refugee or other immigrant background, which makes EPOP a very multicultural place and brings the richness of different cultures to everyday life. The youngest students are 16–17 year olds, but most of the students are adults.

Etelä-Pohjanmaan Opisto is a long-standing, diverse, and robust folk high school. The educational community of students and staff provides an opportunity for personal growth and development. The college responds flexibly to the educational and cultural needs of the surrounding society and its students. The purpose of the college is to provide students with a community for learning, gaining independence, integration, and finding direction for further studies or work. The college advances on the path of ecopsychosocial education and accessibility. Ecology and the green transition are integral aspects of the college´s operations and development.

Internationality is a central aspect of the college identity and there is also a wide local network and cooperation. Etelä-Pohjanmaan Opisto serves as a gateway for students to discover, develop, and educate themselves. The college also opens doors to further education and the professional world. As a Grundtvigian folk high school, it emphasizes living words and dynamic interaction. The foundation is based on a socio-constructivist learning approach, focusing on interaction, experiential learning, and personalization.


Etelä-Pohjanmaan Opisto is situated in Ilmajoki, a small municipality with a population of about 12 000, located in South Ostrobothia, Western Finland.

Volunteers’ role and tasks

At Etelä-Pohjanmaan Opisto, the volunteers are part of the community and may work in various roles depending on their own learning objectives. The volunteers can work as equal members of the work community in various learning environments within the core activities of the school.

To provide examples: the volunteers can work according to their own skills as supervisors for students’ evening and leisure activities. They are supported by the college community worker and teachers performing evening supervision. We also offer the opportunity to participate in kitchen and cleaning work, as well as property and environmental maintenance. The volunteers can also, in collaboration with local organization representatives, organize various events and activities tailored for students and the target groups of organizational activities. At Etelä-Pohjanmaan Opisto, there is a comprehensive collaboration network with local organizations.

The volunteers get a unique opportunity to work in a community where equality is the foundation of all activities. At Etelä-Pohjanmaan Opisto, we all greet each other, regardless of whether we know each other or not. The volunteers have the opportunity to participate in activities aimed at creating and implementing shared activities for people of different age groups and cultural backgrounds. These encounters promote not only the sense of community among the college´s students but also the interaction of people from various backgrounds in the region, positively impacting well-being, mental health, and everyday life. The principles of sustainable development and the green transition are considered as a comprehensive responsibility. A well-being individual also takes responsibility for the impacts of their own actions on nature, society, or other people.

Volunteers’ profile

We are looking for active volunteers, who have initiative and are interested in working with people from different cultural backgrounds. Good organisational skills and interest in organising activities related to sports, culture, music, and nature would be useful. The campus area is located at about 4 km distance from the town centre and there is no public transportation, so ability to ride a bike is helpful. Since the host organisation is located in the countryside, it is important to enjoy the peaceful environment and to be independent and active in creating free-time activities.

Accommodation, food, transportation and days off & holidays

The volunteers will be accommodated in a student dormitory. There are about 150 dormitory places in the campus area, and additional dormitories at about 1.5 km from the campus. The volunteers will share a pre-furnished double room in shared apartment. Living at the school is a suitable blend of individuality and community. On weekdays, the volunteers can enjoy a diverse and delicious breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the college restaurant. We support weekend meals by providing a food allowance to the volunteers.

There are several bus connections per day from Ilmajoki to the city of Seinäjoki. The volunteers will be reimbursed one round trip to Seinäjoki per week.

The volunteers will have 2 days off per week and will be entitled to 2 holiday days a month.

Training during the activity

The volunteers will have an on-arrival training camp and mid-term evaluation camp organised by the Finnish National Agency of the European Solidarity Corps. In addition, they will be invited to the on-arrival training camp and mid-term evaluation camp of the coordinating organisation Maailmanvaihto – ICYE Finland.

The volunteers will get access to the Online Language Support (OLS) tool of the European Solidarity Corps to help them learn Finnish.


We are open to hosting volunteers with special needs. If the volunteer has special needs, we will carefully plan the required means of support together with the volunteer and sending and coordinating organisations. The institute has wheelchair-accessible buildings including the dormitories. Additionally, there is an accessible nature trail located in the area’s forest.

If you need additional support due to a disability, a long-term illness, or other reason and would like to discuss if volunteering at Etelä-Pohjanmaan Opisto could suit you, please don’t hesitate to contact us for further information via Maailmanvaihto – ICYE Finland at We’ll be happy to tell you more!

Activity topics

Community development; physical and mental health, well-being; key competences development

Website and social media

How to apply?

Currently, there are no open positions. Please check again later!


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