Gap Year: 6-month+ Service Learning in Finland with United Planet

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Enroll in our Volunteer Quest Program to Ghana,Romania,Argentina,Nepal and New Zealand before January 31st!

During the month of January, United Planet will offer $250 Travel Grants to anyone who enrolls in a program to Ghana, Romania, Argentina, Nepal, and New Zealand (valid for any duration in that country). Enroll Today!


Finland has held a unique global position because of its borders with Russia to the east, Norway in the north, and the Gulf of Finland and the Gulf of Bothnia to the south. Finland is lauded for one of the best public healthcare and education systems in the world while many other public services (think swimming halls, gyms, state-of-the-art libraries) are available to all at no or low-cost. Volunteers here find meaning through learning from Finland’s complex culture and sharing ideas.

United Planet is the US and Canadian member of the International Cultural Youth Exchange, or ICYE. As a volunteer in Finland, you will be hosted by ICYE Maailmanvaihto, ICYE’s partner organization there. Maailmanvaihto is the Finnish word for “the world exchange,” and was created in 1958 with exactly that goal: for youth from all over the world to exchange places in an effort to learn from each other.

LEARNING EXCHANGE OPTIONS Education Volunteers will work in a kindergarten or elementary school, which is a great opportunity for cultural learning and practicing their Finnish! Volunteers work with the classroom teachers and also help the school staff in other tasks when needed. Social Work Volunteers will have the opportunity to work at a foster home or at an organization that works with people with disabilities. These projects aim to provide their inhabitants with family-like surroundings, close contacts, as well as advance their development and sense of security. Volunteers normally learn about and assist in various types of therapy, art classes, handicrafts, workshops, agriculture, garden work, animal care, and more.

Check out United Planet’s Blog to learn more about taking a gap year.

  • Visit the Kamppi Chapel of Silence
  • Explore the Hame Castle
  • Go on a husky safari
  • Experience the Kuopio Dance Festival

Questions & Answers


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An experience life no other

Finland to me, was so much more than an opportunity to learn more about another country. I fell in love with the culture. The honest and truly caring and compassionate qualities of those who I interacted with. Not only those in my program who were fellow volunteers but my coworkers at placement to the local volunteer office and to my host family. I am still in contact with everyone even though it's been 3 years since my return. I was living in Helsinki and I never felt unsafe or threatened in the city walking around. The public transportation is very easy to navigate. I miss that city so much, and plan on living there again in the future. I personally was volunteering at a farm located just outside of the city but all my friends and fellow volunteers seemed happy with their placements! Many different opportunities to explore as a volunteer!

Yes, I recommend this program

About United Planet

United Planet is an international non-profit organization based in Boston, MA with a mission to enhance cross-cultural understanding while addressing shared challenges to create a community beyond borders, one relationship at a time. We connect...