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

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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.

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

Travel Update: Costa Rica Now Open for Short-Term and Long-Term Programs

Costa Rica volunteer and intern abroad programs for selected ecological projects will be open for Short-Term and Long-Term Programs in mid-November 2020. We are closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation in Costa Rica and working closely with the host organization to ensure the safety of our volunteers. For more information, head to our health and safety update page.

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Yes, I recommend this program

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!

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