Dare To Learn and Volunteering Experience of the FINternationals
Dare to learn is one of the biggest learning festivals in Northern Europe, a two-day event that is aimed at bringing learning enthusiasts together. From the perspective of foreigners - the idea of volunteering is a relatively unconventional process in terms of trade. Yet Finland seems to build a lot of its events (and organizations) on the shoulders of volunteers, Dare to Learn being one of them. In this blog-post, we try to provide an insight from the non-Finns who participated in the event as volunteers and share their experiences.
For Nyx, Dare to Learn experience gave an insight as to why many have found the volunteering experience rewarding, and why it could be a stepping stone into a career for many foreigners in Finland.
For Simon, Dare To Learn, has been one of his first real volunteering activities he have participated in, therefore his expectations were quite high concerning how the event had been planned, as well as how the volunteering would be delegated and managed from team level to administrative level, and he was definitely not disappointed.
For Nagla, it was one if the bigger events she volunteered for, the first in Finland and the experience was worth it! Her passion for human development and curiosity for interactive learning processes was why she chose to volunteer for Dare To Learn. She found the energy of both the general crowd and the fervent administration to be remarkable!
The FINternationals’ Personal experiences at Dare To Learn:
“From my own team experience, we were led with a great, positive, attack the task approach from our team leader. She did a fantastic job in keeping us updated and got us organized repeatedly. It was a pleasure to be in a team that was so well structured with such an amazing attitude towards each other and the participants of the event. The ‘administrative’ delegation did a crazy good job in keeping all the volunteers’ spirit high and they were all well prepared and took immediate responsibility, even after the day had ended. It was a perfect experience from a first timer at an event of this size with that many people involved, and I would for sure recommend others to take part of this fabulous event about learning and shaping the future.”-Simon
“The organization of the event was highly dependent on its volunteers, who came from all over Finland to make the amazing learning experience happen. I volunteered for the Power team (aka the SWAT team) and my only instructions were to be ready for anything with a smile!
It was a high-spirited, fast-paced experience and personally, it worked like a charm for me as I enjoyed every bit of running around, meeting people and lending a helping hand. The team leaders were exceptionally organized with extra attention to details which made the job for the volunteers easy and a fun learning experience. My previous experiences of such large-scale events taught me that disasters are not uncommon when it comes to managing so many people; but the communication skills of the organizers and their constant attempt on perfection made it a very smooth ride! As a foreigner, it was also the perfect place for me to network and scout for job opportunities as the crowd was international and easy to connect with. Some of the most important lessons from the experience for me were: agility is a plus, communication is key, positive energy makes us more productive, and a smile goes a long way! ”- Nagla
“In my case, I personally have an avid interest in the education sector, particularly in the gamification of education and games for learning. Participating in Dare to Learn allowed me to meet people who are interested in the same things outside of my typical social circle. In my volunteer role, I was able to have many interesting discussions on top of participating in the workshops - one that pops immediately to mind was with a designer who isn't in the field of education but still uses what he learned from events like Dare to Learn into his designs of systems to make them easier on the user.”- Nyx
Finding a Community to Connect with While Expanding Your Network
It's usually easy to connect with people, as long you are extroverted enough in your social interactions. But meaningful connections usually come with people who are interested in the same things or passionate about the same cause. There is a perfect link between volunteering and expanding your network, since Dare To Learn is an event that is not limited by a specific educational background, age, nationality or culture – English is the main communication language which allows the internationals studying or living in Finland to take part in the event and gain experience.
Volunteering may be a cheapskate way of participating in an event that you're interested in but taking it a step further by actively approaching people at the event would provide you with refreshing insights, and maybe a few more connections that will help you with your finding a stepping stone for your career. So what better way is there to demonstrate your commitment and/or deepen your understanding of something than by engaging in the community.
A Platform for Professional newbies
Volunteering allows you to observe how things are approached in a particular field, and the dynamics of interaction in your aspired professional field. For international students who are just starting out, volunteering may be the best platform to pick up soft skills such as project management, and problem-solving skills that are crucial in any workplace. This also goes to say that people who excel in their volunteering role are in fact, noticed by others. While being a personally gratifying and rewarding experience, volunteering bolsters your resume and gives you credibility for your work. In fact, organizations very often look at their volunteer pool first for hiring when a position opens up. Who else would get a better chance than the people they've known to show professionalism with their work?
This is something that should be supported strongly towards other organizations and companies, allowing these bright minded people to show their skills and help growth aspire and innovative or disruptive solution to take form. Either by internships that can become full-time positions or part-time / project-based solution that might open for new markets for the business’ in Finland to enter.
This blog has been writteny: Nagla Phar Prove, Simon Sorences & Nyx