Thursday, 30 June 2016

Our trip to Thurles by Vesa and Susanna

Juuso and Allu at Helsinki-Vantaa airport
We left on Sunday morning accompanied by a really sunny and hot day in Finland. As it was the second day of Midsummer weekend, we had a bit of a problem finding a place where to eat on our way to the airport. Luckily there were some fast food joints offering their services to starving travelers, and we headed to the airplane with our stomachs full.
The flight to Dublin went well, but was a little delayed. Fortunately we had reserved enough time to get to the train station from the airport. Our journey there was very easy by airport coach. The weather in Dublin was cooler, cloudy and a little bit rainy. On our way we saw a lot of people watching the euro football game that was on, and many houses were decorated with the flags of Ireland. Sadly Ireland lost the match to France.
After hopping on the train it was an easy and relaxing journey to Thurles that took us one and a half hours. We were able to just enjoy the Irish landscape, where green is definitely the keyword. The scenery was very beautiful even with the clouds hanging low in the sky. The sun came out once in a while when we were passing the small villages and meadows where horses and sheep were grazing.
The scenery on our way to Thurles

Laura picked us up from Thurles railway station and we headed straight to the apartments where our volunteers would stay for a month. It was a nice area with student villas, but because all of the students had moved out for the summer it felt a bit abandoned and spooky at first. Laura told us that there will be some spanish exchange students coming to live there soon. For us, Thurles seemed like a nice little town with some 8000 inhabitants.
Old tower
The river view in Thurles 
The next day we met some of the staff members at the TRYS office and took a quick tour at the youth project community center. After that we jumped on a bus accompanied by a crowd of local children aged 13-16 years, and started our afternoon trip to Limerick. The ride there offered us some more sightseeing of beautiful landscape, small towns and villages and Tipperary city streets. We also saw some great looking old castles on our way.
Juuso, Vesa and Allu in front of the youth project center
Inside the center

In Limerick we all got to race with go karts. We had a lot of fun on the race track trying to get as fast laps as we could!
Allu, Susanna and Juuso getting ready for karting
Some serious racing going on
After an exhausting afternoon we had a quick visit in the nearby fast food restaurant that helped us to grab some lost calories. After that we started our journey back to Thurles.
In the evening we had a chance to discuss about the practicalities of the coming month with Laura and our volunteers, and after that we had a lovely dinner at the  next door Indian restaurant.
Then it was time to give farewell to Juuso and Allu and wish them a good and rewarding month with a lot of new experiences in Ireland. We had a strong feeling that everything is going to work out just fine. With minds at ease we headed to our hotel to get some rest before strating our journey back to Finland.   

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Juuso's departure to Ireland!

Terve vaan kaikki / Hello everybody!

Juuso here with a new blog post.. Well, my first blog post.
A lot has happend and I think now is a good time to sit down for a moment and think aloud
"Where the heck am I?" And "What has been happening in the past week?" Well, a lot has happend so, lets go back in time and lets see what i was doing on my last week in Finland.

The week before my departure I was busy.. Too busy. So much stuff to do, so little time.
I'm gonna give you a little rundown of my day:

1. Wake up
2. Do laundry
3. Panic
4. Do more laundry
5. Eat
6. Meet friends / family
7. Pack
8. Sleep

Now, repeat that process for the whole week, and maybe you can step in to my boots and say "Yup, that's actually pretty normal when preparing for a trip" Well.. I.. I mean.. I guess you could say that too.. But I was thinking somewhere in these lines "Not enough time. Send help. SOS. Call 911" Well, luckily I actually did get some help from my parents. They helped me to do a checklist for all stuff I'm gonna need in my time in Ireland. It helped a lot. Thanks again mom and dad!

Saturday evening, the day before my departure.
I'm still packing! Then, somewhere around 01:15 I was finally ready to hit the hay, and get some of that precious sleep before the trip. My alarm rings, its about 8:00.. I take a shower, grab some breakfast and check that I have everything, I get a message from Vesa that they are heading over to pick me up. I say goodbye to my cats, double check that I have my passport with me and walk to the parking lot to wait for my ride.

Its a hot morning in Finland, and I'm already sweating my shirt off.. The temperature is almost 30°C. Then, maybe after 5 min I see them coming. I wave, they stop and get out. The whole gang is here. Vesa, Susanna and Allu. All here and ready for the trip. I put my luggage into the trunk and hop in. Metal music is playing on Vesas radio, I love it. We a chat a bit and head to the highway. Helsinki awaits.

We arrive in Tikkurila, there we would take the train to the airport. We are all hungry, but because its Juhannus (midsummer) in Finland, none of the cafes or restaurants are open. After a little brainstorm, we decide that we eat at the airport. So we head to the train. We arrive at the Airport. We finally get something to eat at Burger King. Everyone is hungry, no one is speaking, just munching their food like cavemen. After our little lunch break, we head deeper to the airport.

We need to print our tickets and drop our luggage off. Then we head to the security check, everyones favourite. Belts off, coins of out the pockets.. The usual.

We got couple hours of spare time in the Airport.
I buy some water and candy for the airplane. Hours go by, and we are ready.

We are at the port and ready for getting in to the airplane.
Airport bus is taking us to the airplane. The plane is small and jokingly I say to Vesa "It aint no Jumbo Jet" We get in, greet the staff, and find our seats, A three hour flytime  awaits.

Headphones. My secret weapon for sitting still for three hours. I couldn't live without these babies. Noise-cancelling, high quality audio, all the shazam! Fav music saved on my iPhone.
Its a real dream come true.

After a while, I even fell asleep.

I wake up and realize we are almost in Dublin.
There is some air traffic going on, and we are just flying above the airport for about 30min.
Finally we land and and in no time we are out of the airport.

Rainy day at the Dublin Airport

Its raining, its cloudy, its cold.
From the hot summer heat of Finland, I step in to a windy, rainy Dublin.
We take a bus from the airport to the train station. From there we are gonna head to Thurles.

The bus trip is fun, I have never been in Dublin. For the whole bus trip I just look out of the window with a stupid grin on my face. I finally made it, I'm finally here.
We arrive a the train station. We get our tickets and check the train schedule. It leaves in 10 minutes. What a perfect timing. Susanna grabs something to eat. Im hungry as well,

Finally on the train. We sit down, chat and I drool over Susannas food... Suddenly a food cart arrives! I order myself a sandwich, the others order tea and chips.. The chips are called Taytos.
"TAAYYTOOS" I yell, in a nice fakish, horrible irish accent.. Old woman gives a me weird look.
Maybe I'm just gonna keep my mouth shut for the rest of the train trip.

After one hour and 30 min, we have finally arrived at our final stop.
Thurles. My new home.

Allu's first day in Ireland

Hello from Ireland!
My time there started greatly. People are very kind and nature is really beautiful. I feel kinda relaxed there. We go everywhere together with Juuso, so I feel safe.

The departure day was worst. I was really calm at first, but then truth hit my face. I'm not going to see my family, girlfriend and friends for a whole month. I started to cry in car when Vesa and Susanna asked my how I feel about leaving. It was horrible. I try to not to cry in front of people, but this time I can't hold my cry.
Gladly I calmed down really quick and I felt better after that. Because I can contact everyone there in Ireland, so I don't have anything to worry about.

The very first day we traveled a lot. From Lahti to Helsinki, from Helsinki to Dublin and from Dublin to Thurles. It was so tiring, so when I get to bed I felt asleep immediately.

On the next day we went in Limerick karting. It was very fun! I and Juuso were in the same team, Susanna and Vesa in other teams. We were in the first team to race, so we had a lot of free time after that.
We went outside, because inside were so hot! Don't know why, but I looked in the sewer on the ground and saw a 5 euros! So we tried to hook it up and after a half hour (I think) we finally get it! Lucky!! So now I'm 5 euros richer!

Today we have nothing to do, but maybe tomorrow I start to paint. Ireland is celebrating their independence day, so I'm going to do something to that. Ireland left Great Britain in 1916, so that their 100th year independent. I'm so exiting, can't wait for tomorrow!

A view from airplane

Dublin's train station
Wearing a karting clothes

Mikko and Olli-Pekka are heading to Slovenia!

Important moment! Mikko and Olli-Pekka are signing up the Volunteer's application for the next September and October. They will be heading to Slovenia and spend two months in a super beautiful place surrounded by mountains and other volunteers. Are you ready Slovenia?!

We'll keep updating their planning and preparation! Enjoy the summer folks!


Thursday, 23 June 2016

Meet Allu, Finland's other volunteer going to Ireland

Couple weeks ago we introduced, Juuso, Finland's volunteer who is going to Ireland. Now it's time to meet, Allu, who is leaving to Ireland with Juuso.

Say hello to Allu!

Tanja (Allu)
Age: 21

Why I'm going to Ireland?
I was told that there's possible to go to Ireland for a month on the job training. I was so exciting about that, so I wanted to go there.

What are you expecting for your time in foreign country?
To meet new people and to gain experience. Also I want to learn about a new culture and practise my english.

Is there something that you find exciting?
Traveling and meeting new people.

What are your hobbies? What kind of stuff are you interested in?
My hobbies are drawing, reading and cosplay. I'm interested different cultures, Japanese culture on the top at the moment.

What is the most important thing you're going to stow with you?
Laptop and my drawing tablet.

What would you like to tell about your homeland to people you'll meet in your destination?
We have a very beautiful nature and there's kind and friendly people. We have sauna which is most important thing to Finns.

What you wish for your future? What is your dream?
I wish that I get to police school and have a job as a police officer. Also I wish that I live a good, long life with my girlfriend.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Period in Ireland! But what else is going on?

Heyyy guys, it’s Terhi! We are sharing the responsibility for coordination of this project with Anna-Kaisa. It’s nice to have two sets of brains, so we can together think about the funding, plan the trainings and share the tasks.  

Hi guys!
Juuso and Allu are soon leaving to Ireland, actually in few days from now! I can’t wait to see and read what they think about their time on Thurles. But yeah, what else is going on with this project? Anna-Kaisa wrote last week about the role of the coordinator and what is the point of the pre-departure training. When the group (Juuso, Allu, Vesa, Susanna and Anna-Kaisa) was going through all the things regarding the period in Ireland, I was doing interviews! Oh should I explain what interviews?

Summer vacation is coming quick, but in the beginning of September our two youngsters are leaving to Slovenia! Mikko you already met in APV, he is one of the volunteers leaving in September. We are hoping that we can choose the second volunteer before the vacation time, so that the youngsters know their plans before summer and we in our EVS-team can start the preparation work concerning the first period in Slovenia. So that’s why I was doing the interviews and talking to youngsters who are interested in being volunteers in Zavod Manipura. 

There is some tricky things what we need to take into consideration. One of these is that in Finland schools are starting in August and September. Many have applied to school and the selections are made in the beginning of July or later on. This causes the fact that some youngsters don’t know at this point what they are doing in the fall. It’s good that youngsters are applying and wanting to go to school! We just have to make a schedule, who can go now in September and who can go later on this year. 

In the interviews we also talk about why do you want to leave? What are you expecting from this experience? Is it okay to be away for two months? Have you told your family and friends that you are thinking to leave for couple of months? Is there some questions and things you want to know more? We hope that we can send volunteers who will benefit from it and use it for thinking future plans. Maybe the period being a volunteer will raise thoughts regarding the future, interest in vocational school or labour market? I think that these thoughts we will hear later on when the volunteers tell about their experiences!

Terhi, coordinator 

Friday, 17 June 2016

Pre-departure training.. what?!

My name is Anna-Kaisa and I’m the coordinator of this project. My responsibility is to look after that our volunteers are aware of all aspects in their volunteering activity. And there are quite a few things behind, that I’m also taking care of. Such as funding, insurances, communication with partners etc.. I’m glad that I’m not alone, instead I have a big group of great colleagues doing the work with me. But let’s get to the topic.. 

“Okay guys, it’s 2 weeks and you’ll be in Ireland, Thurles to be more precise. There are few things, that we need to go through. And I’ll bet you might have couple of questions as well.. “

"What are the feelings right now? Vesa, Juuso, Allu and Susanna wondering what picture would best describe their feeling."

And so started our first pre-departure training in this project. Basically, it means that we go through all possible things, which need to be taken care of in order to build a successful experience. 

“Do you have valid passports?... How about vaccinations?... Do you have enough pills for your hay allergy?... Remember to inform your sports club that you are out of country for a while!... Did you check your employment plan in the electronic customer service?... Do you have a trolley where to back your belongings?... Remember to shut down the data services in your cell phone when you’re there!... Are you going to take a buss to the airport or is somebody driving you there?... The travelling takes long time, take some snacks with you!... How does your girlfriend cope the time without you? … And how about your mum? Yes, she can call to me whenever she needs to. “…

The list is loooong, as you might understand everybody’s situation is different. Somebody has to focus more on leaving family and friends for a month, and the other might be more worried about who’s looking after pets and taking care of post. And even more it is about the feeling that volunteers are ready to start the journey.
Going through insurance matters and the house rules for volunteer's apartment
EVS is about learning, experiencing, jumping out of the comfort zone and reflecting what happened. In the training we focused a lot on communication and surviving in the foreign country, in the middle of different culture and a bunch of unfamiliar faces. And when you’re placing yourself in your imagination into the summer fun activities for the local kids in Thurles, the only way to do it, is to look in a mirror and ask a question: Who am I?... What are my values?... What am I afraid of?... How do I react?... Why do I react the way I do? 

In EVS it's very useful to think about personal goals in order to get most out of the experience.

This is a learning tree.This is also first lesson of Finnish to our partners..  :) My goal: what will I learn / become aware of? What competences / skills I need for that? What competences I already have? What have I learned before, that will help me?

Excitemen is competing with slight insecurity. The more we go through, the wider the smiles get. Yes, it will be a great experience! 

But wait a minute! Who are these two other guys?



They are my colleagues Vesa and Susanna who are going to travel with volunteers and spend the first 2 days with them. This is first time ever when we do EVS in co-operation with Youth Work Ireland Tipperary. We have visited there once, but for a different reason. And we met Laura already in APV and got loads of information. But still it is good to assist volunteers all the long way to Tipperary and help them to adapt the fact they will be spending the whole month there. And Irish people speak super fast, so it’s good to have two extra pairs of ears and brains. ;)

I can’t wait to read and follow the stories and updates that Juuso and Allu are going to post during their time in Thurles.

Anna-Kaisa, coordinator

Yep, that's me!

Thursday, 16 June 2016

A short film about Youth Work Ireland Tipperary

Juuso and Allu are leaving to Ireland in the end of June. We all are curious what Tipperary has to offer for them and what kind of people they will meet.

Laura from Youth Work Ireland Tipperary send us a video which we like to share with you. The video describes Youth Work Ireland Tipperary through the works of their young people staff and volunteers.

Wow, I think that Juuso and Allu are going to have great experiences and meet wonderful people in Ireland. Don't you think so too?

The head blogger

Friday, 10 June 2016

Advance planning visit 2.-3.6.2016 in Lahti

The first mobility in our project took place in the beginning of June when Laura (Ireland), Annika (Sweden) and David (Slovenia) came to Lahti! We had two days full of conversations and success. We also had an amazing weather, days were heat all day and night long :)

The purpose of the advance planning visit is as the name says; plan together with all the partners and discuss about the coming activities, get to know how each organization is arranging practicalities like accommodation for volunteers, do joint operating agreements and go throw the financial side as well. All hard work but interesting and exciting to think about the awesome experiences what volunteers can have through this project.

From Lahti we had several people, workers and youngsters along these two days.

So that our visitors would know what their volunteers are doing to do in our workshops, we had a tour! Our youngster, Mikko, was our tour guide when we visited the catering, arts and crafts, car and metal and carpentry workshops. Oh yeah, Mikko is also chosen to do his period in Slovenia at the beginning of September :) So you will hear more about him later on.

But our hard work in the morning going throw the project and presenting our organizations to each other’s for a reminder, we had to have lunch before the tour! Youngsters in cafeteria had translated the menu to us.

Pictures from to workshop tour:

After the tour we went to Ohjaamo Lahti where volunteer from Sweden will be working at the end of this year. Ohjaamo is only a walking distance away from Sammonkatu, so we met up with Juuso who is doing his period in Ireland and walked there together. Laura and Juuso got to talk about their coming teamwork. Laura told Juuso what kind of volunteer work Juuso is going to do and Juuso got to tell about himself to Laura.

At the end of the day we visited Niemi youth club where the volunteers are staying in Lahti and rest of the day we spend working in the harbor, discussing how each organization is arranging practicalities.

In Finland we even have moving Sauna’s :DD

The second day was also full of work!

We discussed around topics; roles of different people in the project, agreements about project management etc. The day was full of conversations and result was for example updated risks assessment and we shared good practises about trainings.

This blog and how we are going to use it in this project was also on discussion. So that you will know what we decided you should stay tuned! ;)

Vesa for media workshop was helping us with the blog

So that the hole day wouldn’t just been sitting around we had again lunch in cafeteria workshop. After that we continued the workshop tour. We visited media, interior decoration and environment workshops. During the tour Laura met up with Allu, who is our other volunteer leaving to Ireland :)

Vesa and Saija from the media workshop

One workshop is still missing from the tour! So that’s why we went to see Drama workshops show in Ohjaamo Lahti later on that evening. Although the show “Tunto”, “feeling”, was performed in Finnish, our visitors got the hang of it and liked it! As well we all :)

Reason why we got to know the workshops in Lahti was because now by seeing their own eyes Laura, Annika and David can tell their youngsters and show pictures what’s the place and people about :) For anyone who’s going to a new place, you know that it’s easier and nicer to come when you know something before :) The same thing when Juuso and Allu met up with Laura!

We were all pleased about the two days working together. Now the project continues on, we will make use of all the information that we gained from the APV and will start sending and hosting volunteers, do what this project is about!

Finland's coordinator

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Introducing Finland's first volunteer

Finland's first volunteers are leaving to Ireland on June 27th. They surely have amazing time there and we all are excited to hear about their adventure.

One of our volunteers, Juuso, introduces himself. If you have questions to him, write them to comment section below, please.


Where are you going?
To Ireland

Age: 22

What are you expecting for your time in foreign country?

Getting to know my host-city / country, learning about the culture and history. Meeting new people and hopefully get some amazing friends.

Is there something that you find exciting?

Learning new things, expanding my comfort zone and finding new experiences. Meeting other people and traveling to new places.

What are your hobbies? What kind of stuff are you interested in?

I’m interested in history, music and all kind of artsy stuff. My hobbies include photography, movies, videogames and jogging.

What is the most important thing you're going to stow with you?
My DSLR camera.

What would you like to tell about your homeland to people you'll meet in your destination?

We have no polar bears but instead we have a very beautiful nature all year long. People are highly educated, multilingual people and overall smart. And if you ever visit Finland, a sauna near the lake is a must visit!

What you wish for your future? What is your dream?

In the future I'll hope to land a good job or get into school. Dream is to start a company / work project with my friends.