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We met Lena in Raahe at Power Cup volleyball tournament, which is the biggest junior volleyball tournament in the world. This year Power Cup takes place in Raahe and brings about 10 000 visitors to Raahe for four days of volleyball in early June. Lena is helping out the local organisers and the Finnish Volleyball Federation by working at one of the stands where they sell tournament merchandise.
Was it your personal choice to come to Finland?
Yes it was. My family has a strong connection to Finland as my father met group of young Finns who were on interrail in 1976 and this led to a long-standing Finnish-Austrian friendship that includes nowadays all in all 60-70 people.
What is the organisation in Austria, which has sent you to Finland?
Akzente Salzburg, which is a non-profit organisation providing youth information services to young people in Salzburg area.
When did you arrive in Finland and how long are you staying?
I arrived in the beginning of January and I will go back to Austria in early July. My EVS volunteering period in Raahe comes to an end in middle of June but I will spend one more month doing voluntary work in two big rock festivals one in Seinäjoki and one in Turku and hopefully I will be able to do some hiking in Lapland before I go back to Austria.
What have you done as an EVS volunteer in Raahe?
I have worked in the youth cafe run by the City of Raahe Youth Services and also help out in their youth centre. I have also given presentations about my home country in the local upper secondary school. I have also visited 2 local elementary schools and a kindergarten.
What have you learned in Finland that you would like to take back to Austria?
As a teacher it has been very interesting to learn about the Finnish teaching methods. There are lot of similarities, but what is clearly different is that Finnish teacher is working more on an equal level with pupils so there is less hierarchy. I would like to follow this teaching style when I start working as a teacher in Austria.
Have you enjoyed your time working as a EVS volunteer in Finland?
Yes I have. After a slow start I have made lots of new friends and Finland still has a special place in my heart!