The stories of two volunteers: “ Suomenlinna – a place of tranquility“

Fernando from Spain

Fernando kitkemässäI am Fernando Torre Garcia. I am from Asturias, a small region in the North of Spain. I am currently studying Tourism at the University of Oviedo. I have been always really interested in other cultures, languages, and way of life. My passion is travelling.

When I was eighteen I realised that I wanted to become a volunteer and help the people. Finland was always in my mind. I wanted to visit a country where people respect and enjoy being in nature. When I found that a volunteering camp was organized in such a historical place as Suomenlinna, I did not hesitate to apply for it.

I participated in Suomenlinna World Heritage Volunteer work camp in summers of 2016 and 2017. During the camps, we volunteers were working under the supervision of the Governing Body employees. Their positive attitude towards working for cultural heritage was good example for us volunteers and made us to try our best as well during the two-weeks camp.

Three different historical eras of Suomenlinna, Swedish, Russian and Finnish, have all left their footprints in landscape of Suomenlinna. It is important to preserve those footprints in the landscape of Suomenlinna by for example getting rid of invasive species and cleaning fortress walls and ramparts from plants.

We also worked in visitor management duties by for example helping the tourists in their questions. My favorite task was getting the feedback from visitors. Thanks to the motivation of the team of Suomenlinna I overcame my shyness and I started to enjoy meeting new people.

The camp gave me the opportunity to learn more about myself, my weaknesses and strengths. Suomenlinna gives me the peace I need in my life.

Anna from Czech Republic

My name is Anna and I come from the Czech Republic. Finland has been my place of interest for quite a long time already , ever since I discovered and started learning Finnish language which I found very interesting. Because I wanted to learn Finnish, I came to Finland as an exchange student in the year 2014-15 and I have been coming back ever since. So when I stumbled upon the workcamp on the Suomenlinna fortress, I didn’t think twice about applying.

Of course, the reason to come was not only to speak Finnish again – I wanted to get to know this historical place in Finland from a different perspective than as an ordinary visitor, and, not least, I liked the kind of work the WHV workcamp offered: not only work in the tourist management, but also manual work in the landscape.

For me, the landscape maintenance was the most enjoyable part of the workcamp and also, in my opinion, the best opportunity to get to know other volunteers in the group. While working, nobody feels pressure to chat with the others, and so the conversations between people are very relaxed and open; we talked about everything from our previous working experiences and habits of the people in our countries to our views of current state of political affairs or refugee crisis.

For me, working on the World Heritage site Suomenlinna means experiencing the place in a completely different way. It means feeling Suomenlinna, breathing the air of Suomenlinna and having Suomenlinna all around. It means being a part of something bigger, it means that the place has adopted you.

More information on volunteer work in Suomenlinna

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