So far, Angsbacka has welcomed 2 groups of volunteers through the youth initiative EVS (European Voluntary Service).
Participants commit to 6-12 months living and working here on a group, individual or community project. Previous groups opperated projects relatively seperately from the course and festival volunteer programs.
However this changed in October 2017: 8 group members signed up for the opportunity to apply their specific interests and skills to personal projects 2-3 days a week and 2-3 days a week community tasks. This provided a strong basis for integration within the community whilst maintaining a personalised voluntary experience.
So what do these volunteers think of the program? Here’s what some of them had to say after at 4 months Angsbacka:
Leila (France, Tuolan, 6 month program)
Background – Grew up in a small city then studied Japanese at University in Paris for 4 years. First lived in an Eco Village community 1 year ago for 3 months, through a French youth initiative.
Role – Cooking and vegan baking, creating new recipes and influencing the menu, to support the kitchen team.
Motivation – I love work that actively contributes to a community and problem solving. I heard about Ängsbacka through a personal connection that came from previous volunteering when I wanted a break from study life to connect more with the environment and people, so I signed up.
Expectation vs reality – I first thought it was an Eco Village then speaking to the EVS coordinater helped my understand more about the place. I thought it would be lovely and it is, but I’m surprised at how well I fit and how much of an impact living here has had on my personal development. Spirituality is more important than I expected.
Biggest benefit – Many many benefits! It’s such a beautiful experience, I see my path clearer now. I’ve learned so much about cooking and personal development, helped by connections, reflection and the spiritual side. Judgements and less important and people are more important.
Chloe (Spain, 6 month program)
Background – ” I was raised in a extremely rural village occupied by 34 people. I spent the last 8 years studying and working in different countries (Spain, France, Venezuela, Cuba, Norway) in the fields of Nutritional and dietetics.
Role – I have a personal project that involves nutritional consultations, advising the kitchen team on the nutritional value of AB menu, and workshops. I also have community tasks supporting site team and the kitchen.
Motivation – I was seeking a new project. I like to move around constantly and I was pulled towards Sweden since few years now. I have only met one person on this planet with an special energy that stimulates every cell in my body, setting me on fire, and they came from Ängsbacka, so I definitely needed to discover it for myself.
Expectation vs reality – I got a bit disappointed, because there is more focus on spiritual practice and less focus on sustainable living. I have a lot of independence in my personal project, but I need to take a lot of initiative.
Biggest benefit – Thanks to the craziness of this place and a second most beautiful energy I have ever met (for sure also from Ängsbacka) I feel like I am wearing my skin again. Its been such a healing process.
Megan (England, 6 month program)
Background – I grew up in a large town with a small family. My path always seemed academic: I studied for a Masters degree entitled ‘Sustainable Aquaculture Systems’ and believed I would continue living and working in a head-focused way. I’m was used to being around small groups of people only visiting other countries as a tourist.
Role – I work in the marketing department for my personal and support the community in the house keeping team.
Motivation – I came here for almost 4 weeks as a course volunteer and felt the benefit, as well as becoming aware of my areas for development. I had a lot of questions: “Who am I really? How real can i be?” and I believed living and working at Ängsbacka could help me discover the answers.
Expectation vs reality – I had doubts that I would be able to complete the whole time considering how different it is here in comparison to my previous life and how much work I wanted to do on myself, however living here has become easier with time as I face my challenges. People are more important than I thought, and less scary!
Biggest benefit – This is the most real I have ever been. I realised the more I act like myself, the more I attract people I am compatible with, rather than ’friends’ who aren’t right for me.