Volunteering opportunities in Iceland

Are you 18 – 30 years old, coming from Denmark, Finland, Italy, Russia or Spain? This might be your chance to take part in a life-changing programme such as the European Solidarity Corps (previously European Voluntary Service)!

If you feel like it´s the time to do something in the benefit of others, to give back, and to make a positive change in someone´s life – including your own – read further, this is for you!

This could be your opportunity to enrich the communities around some amazing organizations with your unique presence, by contributing your time and skills towards something great. While doing this, you will break out of your comfort zone, develop valuable competences, AND experience living in a country as gorgeous and unique as Iceland, in an intercultural environment full of awesome people (such as yourself). All these will help you grow as a person in ways you never even knew you could. 🙂

Sounds good so far? Let´s get to the specifics!

We are looking for motivated, passionate, open-minded, flexible, and easy-going young people to participate in volunteering projects at 6 different hosting organizations in Iceland. No specific educational background is required, but you should be willing to learn and able to take on various tasks and initiatives. Having good communication skills is a plus, since human interaction is very important in these projects.

The projects are expected to start at the end of August 2019 and will have a duration of 5 or 12 months. To find out which project would suit you best, take a look at the descriptions below!

Applications closed

(deadline was 07.06.2019)

Thank you to everyone who applied!

We are currently reviewing the CVs and Motivational Letters and will get back to all candidates soon 🙂

To apply, please send us your CV and a Letter of Motivation to evs@aus.is, mentioning the name of the project you’re applying for in the subject of your email.

Any applications sent after the deadline will not be taken into consideration. Please note that at the moment we can only accept the application of candidates coming from the countries mentioned above – Denmark, Finland, Italy, Russia, and Spain!

Practical Arrangements

Local transportation expenses, health insurance, language courses, travel expenses (according to distance from the volunteer’s country to Iceland), accommodation, and on – arrival training are also covered through the Erasmus+ programme.

2 days of holidays per month will be given. Holidays will also be given during Christmas, Easter and other holidays in accordance with Icelandic laws and customs.

PROJECT 1: VIN Shelter

Location: Reykjavík

Activity duration: 12 months (29 Aug 2019 – 28 Aug 2020)

Hosting organization:  Red Cross Reykjavík

Description

The aim of the day centers run by the Icelandic Red Cross is to socially integrate otherwise isolated people struggling with mental illnesses, to help them change their routines and add something extra to their lives, thus strengthening their physiological, physical and sociological well-being and improving their quality of life. Furthermore, the aim is to help the guests to improve/develop various skills through participation in daily activities.

VIN offers these people the possibility to have something interesting to do during the day, like playing chess, playing boccia, doing gymnastics or dancing (sometimes), listening to music, painting, writing or watching movies when they want. Concerning practical facilities, they can have something to eat in the morning, and there is a main meal at lunchtime for those who want to join. They can also use the shower, washing machine, and rest a bit in a room with a few mattresses. Some of the clients stay a long time during the day, others just for a while, others for the main meal, and others for specific activities. Most of the clients are autonomous, but for those who are not, help and support is offered upon request. VIN is meant for those who have been hospitalized in the past but who don’t need further special care (there is no medical care at VIN project).

Volunteers’ tasks

At VIN, the volunteer’s tasks will be to assist the staff in the shelters taking care of the mentally ill. He/she will be asked to be the extra staff that otherwise would not be hired, a helping hand and a caring friend. It is important to have in mind that the volunteer will be working with sometimes fragile people, people who suffer from a mental illness but do not need to be hospitalized.

The volunteer will participate in different activities, such as conversing with the guests and spending quality time with them, cooking (about two hours preparation), organizing and participating in the activities of the day, etc. The volunteer will also be asked to join the staff in some extra activities, like going for a walk or visiting a museum (occasionally). In this project the volunteer’s ideas, skills, and initiatives will be welcomed. Every worker and the volunteer will participate in everything. There aren’t specific tasks for each worker and all of them work together in a friendly atmosphere.

Once a week, the volunteer will cook lunch together with one of the guests for about 18 people.  The task of the volunteer includes encouraging the guests to participate actively in making decisions such as what to cook and buy, in preparing meals, and tidying up in the kitchen and the dining room.

General tasks in the shelter:

  • Active participation/presence
  • Providing social support to the guests
  • Assisting in general chores where needed, according to instructions by the staff
  • Taking initiative
  • Having an open, positive attitude, and feeling free to come up with suggestions

Regular activities:

  • Prepare coffee
  • Empty the dishwasher
  • Check what must go into the laundry (table cloths, towels, etc )
  • Time together with the clients between 11:00 and 12:00
  • Tidying up at the end of the day and preparing for the next day
  • The volunteer can have internet access for his/her personal use
Practical arrangements:

Schedule: Working hours will be from 9:00 to 16:00, five days a week, weekends off.

Accommodation: The volunteer will live in a flat in Reykjavík with other EVS volunteers.

Food: The volunteer will have breakfast and lunch in the project, and get additional food allowance to cover the rest of his/her meals.

Allowance: The volunteer will get a certain amount of pocket money, every month.

PROJECT 2: Grund Home for the Elderly

Location: Reykjavík

Activity duration: 12 months (29 Aug 2019 – 28 Aug 2020)

Hosting organization:  Grund

Description

Grund is the oldest home for the elderly in Iceland. In October 2012 it was celebrating its ninetieth anniversary. Grund is a private foundation. Today it hosts 200 residents and has more than 300 employees. It is divided into four parts: first of all there is the main building overlooking the Hringbraut street, in the North there are Little Grund and Mini Grund, and the last part are a couple of apartments on Brávallagötu street – folks staying there are in better shape, but still can enjoy the day watch services.

Volunteers’ tasks

The tasks include taking the elderly people for walks around the neighborhood, assisting them in their leisure work (knitting, needlework or other handicrafts) and helping them in their daily physical activities indoors or outdoors. The volunteer will also be asked to help in the kitchen. All ideas that might enrich the life of the elderly people are welcome. They can include entertainment activities such as music, theatre, reading, creative and artistic hand-work, preparing special meals from the volunteer’s home country, and, according to the volunteer’s progressive knowledge of the Icelandic language, sharing ideas and telling stories about his/her native country.

Every morning there is a morning meeting (Morgunstund) for the elderly in the common room which the volunteers assist the elderly to get to. During Morgunstund the elderly will do exercise, sing along, dance, listen to lectures or introductions, have various artists or even schools come to perform, play bingo and other entertainment. The volunteers can contribute greatly during this time such as by dancing with elderly, have introductions about their country, help with bingo and exercise routines. The elderly will also take tea and coffee during this time and the volunteer will help the elderly with this and interacting with them at the same time. The volunteer is encouraged to bring forth ideas that can be used to make the social gatherings for the elderly more entertaining.

When the Morgunstund is finished the volunteers and other staff members will assist the elderly back onto their ward before taking a group for a walk. One of the main focuses in Grund is to support the elderly in staying fit and healthy and daily walks are very important tool in doing so. The volunteers will choose the route depending on weather and the group in question. During the walks the volunteers interacts with the elderly and by doing so can enrich the life of the elderly and hopefully their own.

After lunch the volunteers will spend one week in occupational therapy and the other in physiotherapy working with the elderly. In the occupational therapy unit, the volunteer can assist the elderly in their leisure work such as knitting, needlework, making candles, beading and other handicrafts. This time is no less about spending time and socializing with the elderly as it is about assisting them. In the physiotherapy the volunteer assists the trainers with various tasks such as with exercise routine, weights, playing boccia and swimming. The volunteers will be trained and supported while working in the physiotherapy unit.

There is also the possibility to work within the parish, Independent Church, as the parish priest is the contact person within Grund. He will then discuss this option with the volunteers and units the volunteers will be assigned to at the time. Possibilities with in the Independent Church are for example to cook for people attending courses (maybe a national dish), to attend confirmation seminar and camp which is held in the countryside, to assist in the Sunday service where the largest population is the elderly, to help organize social events such as trips and recreational and sports encounters, and supervision at the parish’s library and cultural resource center.

Practical arrangements:

Working hours: Usually between 9:00 – 11:30 and 13:00 – 15:30, Monday to Friday, but may vary. Weekends are free. Volunteers will work a maximum of 36 hours/week.

Accommodation: The volunteer will live in a flat in Reykjavík with other EVS volunteers.

Food: The volunteer will have breakfast and lunch in the project, and get additional food allowance to cover the rest of his/her meals.

Allowance: The volunteer will get a certain amount of pocket money, every month.

PROJECT 3: Ásgarður

Location: Mosfellsbær (Suburb of Reykjavík)

Activity duration: 12 months (29 Aug 2019 – 28 Aug 2020)

Hosting organization:  Ásgarður

Description

The project involves working with people with disabilities. Ásgarður is a protected working place where the workers face various difficulties in life. All of the clients have certain disabilities and all of them face limited options in other working places and in life in general. The mission of Ásgarður is to give each and every client the opportunity for personal growth in a creative working environment. Ásgarður is located in Mosfellsbær, a neighboring suburb of the city of Reykjavík – the capital of Iceland. There are approximately 7000 people that live in Mosfellsbær, and it is still growing. All services are provided, including medical services. Reykjavik is 20 minutes away by bus.

Volunteers’ tasks

The role of the EVS volunteer will be based on his/her strength and interest. There is variety in the work at Ásgarður and the possibilities for the volunteer to contribute ideas and abilities. The aim is for them to blend well into the environment and the good atmosphere in Ásgarður and to improve it by additional creative work. The volunteers should provide input, have initiative, as well as to be supportive of the workers of Ásgarður. Their role is to provide assistance in the wood workshop where the daily work of Ásgarður is done. Using the daily environment, it is possible to develop new things in the wood production, and art. Also the volunteer will participate in theatre work and preparations of the theatre workshops with the theatre-group in Ásgarður and other creations, involving the rest of the workers in the job. There is also hiking club that goes out regularly to enjoy the scenery and relax outdoors, so the volunteer will be welcome to participate in it.

There will always be another volunteer or staff member from Ásgarður who is responsible for the activities proposed but the volunteer will have an opportunity to shape the work considerably.

Tasks in the Art Workshop include assisting the workers to weave rugs, tablecloths and other hand-woven products. Working with leather, wool, stones, bones, horns and other materials. Tasks in the Wood Workshop include assisting the workers to make items or toys from models or own design, and to polish, oil and paint items. In the workshops the volunteer is free to use his/her own creativity and they are welcome to bring their own ideas.

The learning opportunities are many, such as working with, relating to and socializing with the guests who live with mental disabilities. Through this, one can acquire or improve traits such as humility, patience, friendship beyond conventions, and also learn how to allow the mentally disabled person to maintain their respect and pride. The volunteers also learn many things in regards to the work done in Ásgarður, such as woodwork, and they can bring in their own ideas and designs and implement them at the wood shop. The volunteer will have the possibility to learn how to see a theatre show set up and from start to end and participate in the project with the workers and staff at Ásgarður.

Practical arrangements:

Working hours: The working hours are from 8:00 – 16:00 every weekday except Fridays, when the work is finished at 12:00 noon.

Accommodation: The volunteer will live in a flat in Mosfellsbæer close to the project, and will have a private room.

Food: The volunteer will have breakfast and lunch in the project, and get additional food allowance to cover the rest of his/her meals.

Allowance: The volunteer will get a certain amount of pocket money, every month.

PROJECT 4: Geysir

Location: Reykjavík

Activity duration: 12 months (29 Aug 2019 – 28 Aug 2020)

Hosting organization:  Geysir Clubhouse

Description

Geysir Clubhouse is a place where people with mental illness come to rebuild their lives. The participants are called members, not patients, and the focus is on their strengths, not their illness. Work in the clubhouse provides the core healing process. Every opportunity provided is the result of the efforts of the members and staff who work side by side in unique partnership. One of the most important steps members take toward greater independence is transitional employment where they work in the community in real jobs. Members also receive assistance in securing housing, advancing their education, obtaining good psychiatric and medical care as well as maintaining public benefits.

Volunteers’ tasks

The volunteer will be asked to assist the staff and members of the Clubhouse to carry on various tasks within the organization. The role of the EVS volunteer will be based on his/her strength and interest.

There is a lot of variety in the work at Geysir Clubhouse and the possibilities for the volunteer to bring in his/her ideas and abilities. He/she will be asked to work alongside the staff and members, give a helping hand and be a caring friend. It is important to bear in mind that he/she will be working with people who have struggled with mental illnesses and want to partake in society in a constructive way. Having every year someone from a different culture with whom the members can exchange experiences, talk, work alongside and break the monotony and giving young European volunteers the opportunity to work with less fortunate people is the essence of hosting a volunteer at the Geysir Clubhouse. These are the greatest learning opportunities for the volunteer: To interact with people with mental illness, support them, share their own life and background and create friendships. This, in itself, is a real opportunity as there is not often a possibility to be around and experience the life of those suffering from mental illnesses on a daily basis.

Everybody shares responsibility for the activity in the Clubhouse. The Clubhouse routine is based on a work-ordered day. All the work is done for the Clubhouse and the Clubhouse Community. Members and staff divide tasks between themselves and decide together what tasks need to be carried out. Activities at the Clubhouse are divided into two units: Kitchen and Maintenance Unit and Administration, Education and Employment Unit.

Further description of the responsibilities:
Unit meetings are held each day at 9:30 and 13:15 where each unit goes over the tasks that need to be done. We encourage all members to attend these meetings.
Administration, Education and Employment Unit
In the office unit we have computers for members and staff to carry out different tasks that are connected with the clubhouse and its goals. Tasks in the office include publishing of newsletters, flyers, correspondence, promoting the clubhouse, communication with other clubhouses and the CI (CLUBHOUSE INTERNATIONAL), working with statistics, maintaining the homepage, making applications for grants and translations. In the office unit there is an employment section where members and staff look for jobs and build relationships with employers. The club offers part-time TE (Transitional Employment) for its members for a period of 6 to 9 months. There is also an education section for those who are looking for suitable education opportunities. For those who are already studying there is space reserved to do homework. Computers and wireless internet are available in the education section.
Kitchen and Maintenance Unit
The kitchen unit prepares breakfast and lunch for members and staff. The menus are decided by members and staff together, and all preparations (including shopping, cooking, baking and clean-up) are done by the kitchen unit. The kitchen unit is also responsible for the reception where the telephone service is located and where people who come into the Clubhouse are greeted.
The maintenance unit is in charge of all minor repairs and renovations, as well as the computer system. This unit is also responsible for all security and safety.

House meetings are held on Wednesdays between 14:30 and 15:30. During these, members and staff can discuss matters that concern the Clubhouse. Everyone has the opportunity to have their voice heard and to influence the Clubhouse, therefore the house meetings play a very important role.

Social Activities
In the Clubhouse, there are also social activities program after the work-ordered day. Social activities take place every Thursday afternoon and one Saturday every month. They include open house, going to the movies, dining out, going to a café, going to a swimming pool, visiting museums, going for day trips to the countryside, etc. The volunteer can be creative in his or her work in the Clubhouse. For example, one of volunteers in Geysir was particularly interested in walks and well-being, and so organized daily group walks in the area close to Geysir. Another volunteer was interested in arts and crafts, and enjoyed sitting and chatting with the members while learning how to knit Icelandic wool patterns. Yet another volunteer taught German in exchange for Icelandic with members of the Clubhouse. As can be seen, there are many opportunities to influence the activity in the Clubhouse and Geysir welcomes any initiative put forth by volunteers, ast they believe in the enrichment of the volunteers’ experience as well as in the positive effect on members and staff.

Practical arrangements:

Working hours: The volunteer is expected to work from 9-16 from Monday to Friday. The volunteer will have some flexibility in the hours they put in. Saturdays and Sundays are off.

Accommodation: The volunteer will live in a flat in Reykjavík with other EVS volunteers.

Food: The volunteer will have breakfast and lunch in the project, and get additional food allowance to cover the rest of his/her meals.

Allowance: The volunteer will get a certain amount of pocket money, every month.

PROJECT 5: AUS Office

Location: Reykjavík

Activity duration: 12 months (29 Aug 2019 – 28 Aug 2020)

Hosting organization:  AUS – ICYE Iceland

Description

AUS-ICYE Iceland is an international non-profit youth exchange organization promoting youth mobility, intercultural learning and international voluntary service. AUS has more than 50 years of experience of organising long and short-term exchanges combining home stays with voluntary service in a variety of community service projects around the world. AUS is run by homecoming volunteers, and the staff and board members. AUS is a member of The National Youth Council of Iceland, and a part of The ICYE Federation which has national offices in over 34 countries. Our organization has been giving the chance for many years to youngsters from Iceland or abroad to volunteer in various projects, improving their skills and meeting new cultures and people. Since its establishment in Iceland, AUS has organized various actions to raise awareness about human rights, promote young people’s social inclusion and well-being, and offer volunteering opportunities.

Volunteers’ tasks

The volunteer will be working at our office, assisting the board and staff in the daily tasks. He/she will be in charge of activities regarding the ESC and ICYE volunteering programmes that AUS is involved in, help promote AUS´s activities, organise and/or assisting with events etc. He/she is also expected to bring his/her own ideas and contribute with personal projects he/she may be interested in.

AUS will be focusing on variety of activities that emphasise the values of the experience behind exploring new cultures through volunteering. Tasks and duties of a volunteer depend on their preferences, skills and abilities, but those who choose a more pro-active attitude may get the opportunity to be involved in various activities.

The volunteer’s day-to-day activities will include:
– Answering inquiries/communicating by phone and e-mail
– Compiling data, editing and changing layout of activity reports

– Assisting in all aspects of ESC process such as: going over CV’s, motivation letters, assisting with paperwork, keeping all parties informed about status of grant applications, matching volunteers with projects, and etc.

– Assist with project management tasks
– Updating AUS Homepage and Social Media accounts.
– Gathering information to publish an article or a newsletter;
– Performing general office tasks (filing and archiving, data entry and database maintenance);
– Any other ad-hoc tasks as determined by the staff.
– Participating in activities regarding publicity such as: writing articles and assisting volunteers in setting up art and picture show.

The volunteer will also be encouraged to:
– choose and work on a personal project according to his/her own interest
– bring forward ideas, and, if applicable, these ideas can have an impact on how things are done in the office
– participate, prepare and possibly contribute to AUS’s conferences and seminars held each year

Practical arrangements:

Working hours: From 10:00 to 16:00 on weekdays (flexible), weekends off.

Accommodation: The volunteer will live in a flat in Reykjavík with other EVS volunteers.

Food: The volunteer will receive food allowance to cover his/her meals.

Allowance: The volunteer will get a certain amount of pocket money, every month.

PROJECT 6: Langanes school

Location: Þórshöfn, Northeast Iceland

Activity duration: 6 months (29 Aug 2019 – 28 Feb 2020)

Hosting organization:  Grunnskólinn á Þórshöfn

Description

Grunnskólinn á Þórshöfn is a school located in Þórshöfn (Thorshafn), a small town on Langanes peninsula in the far northeast corner of Iceland. The economy in this area is almost exclusively fishing and sheep farming.
The school has approximately 70 students, from 1st to 10th grade. Its aim is to provide the best well rounded education possible to the students. Activities are school related and school subject related, but also target the youth in the area by including after-school programs, project-based learning activities, and field trips both within the country and abroad.

Volunteers’ tasks

The volunteers will work closely with teachers and other providers at the school. The main activities would be to help organize activities for students to do during breaks, and also assisting teachers in extracurricular activities (e.g. sport, art, building, and after school activities tied with the youth center).

The volunteer would work with three other teachers’ assistants during the break from 09:30 to 09:50 where younger students must go outside and play. The main function here would be for the volunteer to help organize games and implement them with other staff.

The volunteers would also work with teachers during VAL which are extracurricular activities. More precisely, they would work with the culinary arts teacher. They would learn and assist the teacher with cooking class. They will help organize and plan the class, and also be present during the class and help. Likewise, the volunteer can also help in Art classes, with the art teacher.

The school will be working on several new projects this year, which are experiential learning activities. There are some long-term projects that run all year long (for example, last year, students, teachers and volunteers worked on the building of a traditional boat) We will integrate school subjects into the project such as maths (we will carefully calculate dimensions, length, width, use algebra etc.), history, Viking history, communication with other schools in Faroe Islands and Greenland, this is tied in with another project as well.

Additional tasks would include helping at the youth center. The youth center is a small place located in the community centers. The Possibilities include movie nights, game nights, and card games. Theater, singing, and outdoor activities are also possibilities for the youth center group. They will work closely with youth center staff on these possibilities.

Practical arrangements:

Working hours:The volunteer is expected to work 25 – 35 hours per week, from Monday to Friday, usually 2 to 3 hours in the morning and 3 to 5 hours in the afternoon.

Accommodation: Accommodation will be with a host family (probably another school teacher), but the volunteer is going to have his/her own private room.

Food: Lunch during weekdays is provided by the school, and additional food allowance will be given for the volunteer to cover his/her own meals apart from that.

Allowance: The volunteer will get a certain amount of pocket money, every month.