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Volunteer abroad, Gap year in Helsinki


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Voluntary work may be the perfect way to gain valuable experience abroad, especially for a summer job or for the gap year.  A volunteer project will provide valuable professional and personal experience, and can improve your career prospects. An experience abroad can help you learn or improve a new language, while exposing you to another culture and encouraging personal development, co-operation, tolerance and open-mindedness. Voluntary services are usually coordinated by a non-profit or public sector organization, and ordinarily do not pay any wages, although you may have your expenses covered. However, you may receive a living wage, accommodations or a small amount of money for personal care. Many Finnish organizations have programs for exchanges, volunteering and work camps in Europe and the rest of the world.  A few are listed below.

Some addresses:

Allianssi 
Several options are available, from short work camps to 12-month volunteer projects in  developing countries.
http://www.alli.fi/

CIMO Centre for International Mobility
This is the authority responsible for the European Union Youth Programme which allows a young person to volunteer in another country, normally between six and 12 months
http://www.cimo.fi/Resource.phx/cimo/

KEPA
The Service Centre for Development Cooperation - known by its Finnish acronym, KEPA, is an umbrella organization of Finnish NGOs that are active in development work and concerned about global issues. KEPA is non-aligned in terms of ideology, political standpoint and religious outlook. Look for the Finnish Volunteer Programme ETVO.
http://www.kepa.fi [EN] [FI] [PT] [ES] [SV]

Service Civil International: Finnish Branch
SCI is a worldwide peace organization that organizes international work camps for volunteers and sends volunteers abroad. You can choose between short-and long-term periods.
http://www.kvtfinland.org [Finnish]
http://www.kepa.fi/international/english/ [English]

United Planet and EVS – long term volunteer jobs in Finland
United Planet is the U.S. and Canadian partner within the International Cultural Youth Exchange (ICYE) Federation. Programs are available for 3-6 months and 7-12 months.  All programs start in August.   Most programs are 7-12 months long.  Long-term Quests are available for 6 months and 1 year. Volunteers take part in intensive orientations mid-year and final year camps with other volunteer exchanges from all over the world. No specific skills or language abilities needed to participate.
http://www.volunteerabroad.com/listingsp3.cfm/

The European Voluntary Service (EVS) is a European Union program, set up by the European Commission in early 1996. It offers young people (between 18 and 25) the opportunity to work as a volunteer for six to twelve months in a non-profit project abroad. Three partners are the key partners of an EVS project: the volunteer, the sending organization and the host organization. The European Commission covers the travel costs for the young volunteer, the insurance (health, accident, public liability) and provides a monthly allowance from 140 to 220 Euros.

How to proceed: Find a sending organization that will assist you individually along the procedure (you can find contacts through your National Agency, your National Coordinator or international volunteer organizations). Start contacting potential host organizations through your sending organization. The difficulty is not to find a suitable project, but to find a project ready to host you within the time limit you have planned.

Useful addresses:

You might also look at our other articles on Summer Jobs and Internship abroad on the left column of this page.

Update 20/05/2008



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