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Volunteering means something quite exciting in StepEurope. That was one of the first things I found out when starting my internship for StepEurope in the beginning of last year.
With a bunch of young people from different countries, StepEurope’s volunteers get together to create events and projects they feel passionate about. They can choose when to participate, how to participate, and get support from the StepEurope team to plan and implement their ideas.
My internship for StepEurope was a preparation for the thesis I would write for them. The team wanted to find out even more about what young adults are looking in volunteering and what motivates them to stay active as volunteers. This was the request that started my development project, studying young adults’ motivation to volunteer in intercultural youth work.
The project took most of the year, including many fun moments, some less inspired ones, a lot of searching and finding, wondering and realising, and some very fast writing in the last months :)
With the help of the StepEurope team, I organised an online survey. The survey helped to reach over a 100 young adults living in the Turku area. It gave insights in what could interest young people who are not familiar yet with StepEurope in volunteering. It also reached some of StepEurope’s active volunteers, who gave answers to what could motivate them even more to participate in volunteering.
To have a good idea about what StepEurope’s volunteers really motivates, I conducted interviews with some active volunteers. This gave deeper insights in their experiences and wishes and gave valuable information so the StepEurope team can support the volunteers even better to realise their ideas.
Definitely the most fun part of my development project was the workshop I facilitated during the End of Summer Party in June. In a creative and fun way, the StepEurope team, the volunteers and some of the members created a collage of their combined skills, networks and wishes and came up with great ideas for future activities and projects.
All this, combined with earlier studies and methodology, became my thesis. In addition, as an end product, I made a practical manual that can help organisations working in intercultural youth work to build their community of young adult volunteers. My thesis and the manual were received with enthusiasm by the StepEurope team and I couldn’t have wished for a better place to do this project.
The past year has been a busy and wonderful one. I have made friends, challenged myself, have made incredible memories and have found a community of international people where I feel at home. I hope to see many of you during a StepEurope event also this coming year! Until we meet! :)