21 May 2024
What it takes to volunteer in Sweden: # 13
Volunteering Work & Money

What it takes to volunteer in Sweden: # 13

I love the Swedish summer – the sun is hot, the air is never that hot, the days are long, there are outdoor cafes and bars everywhere, there are lots of opportunities to swim in lakes and it feels so much more relaxed and sociable.

Those are the good things. But this is one of the areas where cultural differences arise. I come from the United Kingdom, where a two week holiday is a long one, people in offices stagger their holidays (so not everyone goes on holiday at once) and work slows down, but certainly doesn’t stop over the summer. So I find it difficult to get my head round the fact that from late May things are starting to slow down here, and after Midsummer (June 22nd) you can just forget about getting anything done at all.

Those are the good things. But this is one of the areas where cultural differences arise. I come from the United Kingdom, where a two week holiday is a long one, people in offices stagger their holidays (so not everyone goes on holiday at once) and work slows down, but certainly doesn’t stop over the summer. So I find it difficult to get my head round the fact that from late May things are starting to slow down here, and after Midsummer (June 22nd) you can just forget about getting anything done at all.

Part of me loves the focus on having a good long break from work, and I think this is very healthy. I also understand the desire to make the absolute most of the short summer in Sweden. But another part of me is rather frustrated by not being able to get things done for such a long period of time. This is compounded at the moment by the fact that just as things are getting going after the summer break I’ll be having a baby and will be out of action for at least a while – so it’s all the more important to me to get as much as possible done on The English Volunteering Project before Midsummer.

Fortunately the developers we’re going to use to build the English section of the Volontärbyrån website are not based in Sweden, so will be able to work on it over the summer. Big sigh of relief! And while my own 3 weeks of holiday feels luxuriously long to me, it is relatively short by Swedish standards and will enable me to get on with work while other people are still holidaying.

Next on my very long list of things to do is to find a number of people who would like to act as a reference group to help me develop some ideas about the project. If you speak English but little or no Swedish, will be in Sweden at least until the end of 2012 and think it would be good to do some volunteering while you’re here I’d love to hear from you – email me at [email protected]

By Claire Thomas

[email protected]

Check back in a few weeks to hear more about Claire’s progress.

Claire Thomas was born in Hong Kong, grew up in Northern Ireland and has lived in Scotland, England, Germany and now Sweden (where she hopes to stay for a good long while). In this blog she shares her experience of setting up a project focused on helping non-Swedish speakers to find volunteering opportunities with non-profit organisations in Stockholm

If you are interested in the project you can contact Claire by email at [email protected]

Like us on Facebook to follow the project’s progress – go to www.facebook.com/englishvolunteering.

The project is part of Volontärbyrån  www.volontarbyran.org

Your Living City loves to learn about our readers experiences & ideas and hear their stories. If you have something to say or want to share about your Swedish journey, send us a mail with a writing sample and we will get back to you shortly.

 

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