A particular draw for volunteer work in Finland is that many of the opportunities available are particularly unique to the country and hard to find anywhere else. Caring for huskies on a husky farm is one especially popular gay-year destination, with full room and board provided, plenty of time to bond and play with the Huskies and even a chance to learn how to mush. Reindeer farming is similarly popular and exceptional, and a way to learn about Finnish culture and traditions.
Finland is one of the global leaders in environmental policy, and there are plenty of volunteer jobs to help contribute to this and learn more about environmentalism. You can volunteer at a recycling centre, work at one of Finland’s stunning national parks or help clean up a local park, for a few examples.
Finnish can be a difficult language for foreigners to learn, but the best way to improve upon the Finnish you learn in the classroom or from a textbook is to use it in conversation with native Finns. Most paid jobs in Finland require fluency in Finnish, but volunteer work generally doesn’t. This means you can practice and improve upon your Finnish language skills in real-world situations, rather than remain stuck inside studying.
Living in remote Finland can be lonely at times, but volunteering gives you an excuse to get out and interact with other Finns and ex-pats. Finns can be naturally closed-off at first, but seeing each other regularly and working together on something you are both passionate about can break this social barrier. If you are looking for work, volunteering also helps you to grow your network that you can use to find a job in Finland.
Even in a relatively well-off and functioning society such as Finland, there will always be people who need help from volunteers. Ways to help the community range from installing public art, running blood drives with the Finnish Red Cross, helping refugee children with Save the Children or assisting vulnerable people with the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Even the smallest contribution can make the biggest difference.