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Culturescape Archipelago
Start date: May 1, 2015, End date: Jan 1, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Culturescape Archipelago was a 3 months long EVS project that took place the Archipelago of South Western Finland on the island of Vänö. The village association Vänö Vänner works for the cultural benefit of the area and is also taking care of the nature of island in a sustainable way. This island is a part of the Archipelago Biosphere area (Unescos Man & Biosphere programme) and belongs to the co-operation zone of Archipelago National park. This project welcomed the volunteers to take part in and learn about the work in nature protecting and cultural landscaping and help with the cultural activities with children in kids clubs and sailing school and help in arranging summer events. As there are only a handful of people living on the island the help is needed to carry out the various tasks that need to be done to keep the cultural landscape on the island and arrange the activities for children and cultural events on the island. The volunteers got a wide range of experience and learning opportunities in working with nature and cultural activities and lingual skills in English, Swedish and Finnish as we live in the bi-lingual coastal zone of the country (Finnish-Swedish) and English is the common language for the locals and the volunteers. The volunteers also learned how to navigate on sea and how to handle a boat. This project offered an opportunity for cultural exhange for the participants and the hosts. We hosted two volunteers from Romania, Ioana Olteain and Vlad Sandu, both with an open and positive attitude and interest in working with nature, children and culture events. Both were nature-loving outdoor people and enjoyd staying on an island. The volunteers got 3 days of on-arrival training and were working together with an experienced mentor all the time. They kept diary about their learning process which helped when making their Youthpasses in the end of the project. Learning of language happened in everyday situations, arranged discussion meetings and with help of litterature given to the volunteers. The volunteers got a working plan in advance to show what type of work will be done certain days. There was 2 days off each week and in the end of the project 6 holidays when the volunteers can travel around if they wanted. Ioana took the change to visit Turku and Helsinki and was also helping with a cultural festival in Taalintehdas, a bigger village on the mainland. Vlad prefered to stay on Vänö and study. The result of the project is a wide range of experience. Vänö Vänner got the help needed with the nature paths and cultural environment and events, kids clubs and sailing school. The volunteers learned something about 5 different professions: nature protection and cultural landscaping, sheep farming, working with children, arranging events and working with outdoor activities by the sea. Their lingual skills were improved. The people on Vänö learned about the Romanian life and culture. And both sending and hosting organisation learned to co-operate with each other. Long term benefits are that it will be easier to co-operate between the organisations involved in this project and new contacts were created. It will be easier to plan new projects. All project partners gained better understanding of other nationalities.

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