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Practical tips

Here are some practical and cultural tips from Vol’Go partner countries to note before volunteering!


If a young volunteer is planning to participate in an inclusive voluntary exchange to Cyprus from another European country, there are several things they should take into account: 

  1. Visa requirements: Depending on the country of origin, the young volunteer may need a visa to enter Cyprus. They should check the visa requirements and apply for one if necessary. 
  2. Insurance: It’s important to have comprehensive travel insurance that covers medical emergencies, lost or stolen belongings, and other unforeseen circumstances. 
  3. Culture and customs: Cyprus has a rich cultural heritage and customs, and the young volunteer should be respectful and open-minded towards these. They should familiarize themselves with the local customs and etiquette before their trip. 
  4. Language: While English is widely spoken in Cyprus, it’s always useful to learn some basic phrases in the local language, such as ”hello,” ”thank you,” and ”goodbye.” 
  5. Climate: Cyprus has a Mediterranean climate with hot summers and mild winters. The young volunteer should pack accordingly and be prepared for the weather. 
  6. Accommodation and transportation: They should ensure that they have arranged their accommodation and transportation in advance, and have all the necessary information and documents. 
  7. Inclusivity: As the exchange is inclusive, the young volunteer should be prepared to interact with people from diverse backgrounds and respect each other’s differences. 

Are other travel documents needed in addition to the passport and travel insurance? Visas etc. to consider? 

Yes, there may be other travel documents that a young volunteer needs to consider in addition to their passport and travel insurance when traveling to Cyprus for an inclusive voluntary exchange. Here are some examples: 

  1. Visa: Depending on the young volunteer’s country of origin, they may need to obtain a visa to enter Cyprus. They should check the visa requirements for their country and apply for a visa if necessary. 
  2. Work permit: If the young volunteer will be doing volunteer work or an internship in Cyprus, they may need to obtain a work permit. They should check with their host organization to see if a work permit is required. 
  3. Health documents: If the young volunteer has any pre-existing medical conditions or requires specific medications, they should bring relevant health documents with them. They should also make sure they have any necessary vaccinations or immunizations. 
  4. Travel itinerary: It’s always a good idea for the young volunteer to have a copy of their travel itinerary with them, including flight details, accommodation information, and any planned activities or excursions. 
  5. Identification: In addition to their passport, the young volunteer may need to bring other forms of identification, such as a driver’s license or national ID card. It’s important for the young volunteer to check with their host organization and the relevant authorities to make sure they have all the necessary travel documents for their trip to Cyprus. 

What kind of voluntary services are there for young people in your country, and what kind of bureaucracy should be taken into account? 

There are various types of voluntary services available for young people in Cyprus, ranging from local community service initiatives to international volunteer opportunities. Some examples include: 

  1. Environmental volunteerism: Cyprus has many national parks and protected areas that rely on volunteers to help with conservation efforts. These initiatives include cleaning up beaches, planting trees, and raising awareness about environmental issues. 
  2. Youth organizations: There are several youth organizations in Cyprus, such as the Cyprus Youth Council, which provide opportunities for young people to volunteer in their local communities and work on youth-related issues. 
  3. Social volunteerism: There are also many organizations in Cyprus that work with vulnerable groups such as the elderly, people with disabilities, and refugees. Volunteers can help by providing emotional support, organizing activities, or assisting with basic needs. 

Cultural tips:

  1. Adapters and voltage: The power sockets in Cyprus are Type G, which means they have three rectangular pins. If you’re coming from a country with a different type of socket, you will need a universal adapter. The voltage in Cyprus is 240V, so make sure your electronic devices can handle this voltage. 
  2. Currency: The currency in Cyprus is the Euro (EUR). You can exchange your currency at banks, exchange offices, or ATMs. 
  3. Language: The official languages of Cyprus are Greek and Turkish. English is also widely spoken and understood, especially in tourist areas. 
  4. Transportation: You can get around Cyprus by bus, taxi, or rental car. Public transportation is affordable and reliable, and buses connect most major towns and cities. Taxis are also widely available but can be expensive. If you plan to rent a car, make sure you have an international driving license. 
  5. Weather: Cyprus has a Mediterranean climate, with hot and dry summers and mild winters. The peak tourist season is from June to September, but spring and autumn are also good times to visit. 
  6. Food and drink: Cypriot cuisine is a fusion of Greek, Turkish, and Middle Eastern flavors. Some must-try dishes include souvlaki (grilled meat skewers), moussaka (a baked dish with layers of eggplant, minced meat, and béchamel sauce), and halloumi (a semi-hard cheese made from sheep and goat milk). Don’t forget to try the local wines and spirits, such as zivania and ouzo. 
  7. Culture and customs: Cyprus has a rich cultural heritage, with influences from Greek, Turkish, and British traditions. Visitors should dress modestly when visiting religious sites, and always remove their shoes before entering a mosque. Tipping is not mandatory, but it’s customary to leave a small amount of change at cafes and restaurants. 
  8. Safety: Cyprus is generally a safe and peaceful country, but visitors should take the usual precautions to avoid theft and pickpocketing. Make sure you have travel insurance, and keep a photocopy of your passport and other important documents in a safe place. 
  9. Beaches and outdoor activities: Cyprus is famous for its beautiful beaches and crystal-clear waters. Some of the best beaches include Nissi Beach, Fig Tree Bay, and Coral Bay. You can also enjoy a range of outdoor activities, such as hiking in the Troodos Mountains, cycling along the coast, and diving in the Mediterranean Sea. 
  10. Nightlife: Cyprus has a vibrant nightlife scene, especially in the tourist areas of Ayia Napa and Limassol. You can find everything from beach bars and nightclubs to live music venues and cultural events. Just be aware that the legal drinking age in Cyprus is 18, and excessive drinking and disorderly behavior are not tolerated. 

In terms of bureaucracy, there are several things that young people who want to volunteer in Cyprus should consider: 

  1. Age restrictions: Some volunteer organizations may have age restrictions or require parental consent for minors. 
  2. Background checks: Depending on the type of volunteering, organizations may require background checks for safety reasons. 
  3. Work permits: Non-EU citizens may require a work permit to volunteer in Cyprus. 
  4. Insurance: Volunteers should make sure that they have appropriate insurance coverage, either through the organization or through their own insurance. 
  5. Documentation: Volunteers should keep copies of any relevant documents, such as contracts or agreements, for their records. 

It’s important to note that the bureaucratic requirements for volunteering may vary depending on the organization and type of volunteering, so it’s always a good idea to check with the organization beforehand to ensure that all necessary paperwork and permissions are in place. 

There are medical services and acute support options available if someone is experiencing mental health issues during their volunteering period in Cyprus. Firstly, they can seek medical assistance from a general practitioner (GP) or a private doctor in Cyprus. They can assess your symptoms and refer you to a specialist if necessary. They may need to pay for these services if they are not covered by a health insurance plan. In a crisis situation contact the Cyprus Crisis Centre at 1410, which provides emotional support and assistance in cases of mental health crises. The center operates 24/7, and the services are free of charge. 


In Finland, the field of volunteering possibilities is very active and diverse, and the quality and development of volunteering programs is also significantly invested by the state, organizations and other individual activity providers. Umbrella organizations like Citizen Forum and Allianssi Youth Exchanges and various networks of NGO’s and other entities offering volunteering activities are sharing information, best practices and improving volunteering possibilities.

Here are some concrete practical and cultural tips to make travelling in Finland easier:

Finnish people understand English very well, and most Finns also speak fluently English. Most of all the necessary information can be found directly in English on the internet and in various apps, so you should keep your phone’s battery fully charged (also remember backup power sources), and you should make sure you have a working internet connection even abroad. Frequently asked questions about Finland | Visit Finland.

Here you can for example find information about public transport and traveling in Finland overall: Traveling to Finland – Getting Around in Finland | Discovering Finland and Public Transportation in Finland – Finnish Rail Buses | Discovering Finland

You need a valid national passport or another equivalent that satisfactorily establishes your identity and nationality. If you aren’t a citizen of Finland or another European Economic Area (EEA) country, you may also need a visa. Please check with your local Finnish Embassy, and they’ll be happy to help you. 

Insurances: You should apply for an European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Also a proper travel insurance is highly recommended. Please check the options for travel insurances from your home country. Also: remember to check your flight connections – in case you travel through a non-EU country, additional documents might be needed.

In addition to the support person of the sending and receiving volunteering organization there is also medical help available. Therefore a proper travel insurance is highly recommended. Please check the options for travel insurances from your home country. It is also a good idea to check beforehand, what kind of medical services and support your insurance covers and if there are some private health clinics they are cooperating with in Finland.

Cashless society: Finnish residents are using cash less than ever. According to the Bank of Finland only about 5 % of people in the country use cash when they shop (2021) and the use of cash continues to decline at an increasingly rapid pace. Contactless payments and mobile payments are becoming more and more popular. It is a good idea to apply for a debit card with contactless payment option already beforehand.

Weather and clothing: The weather is generally quite mild with moderate temperatures both in winter and summer. The temperature is seldom lower than -20˚C in winter and seldom more than +25˚C in summer. For any outdoor activities, you should have at least: a fleece jacket, a wind and preferably waterproof trousers and jacket, woolen socks, preferably wind and waterproof gloves/mittens, woolen hat and scarf, waterproof hiking shoes/boots. The typical indoor temperature in Finland is 21 °C or more. Normally, homes have triple-glazed windows, keeping the heat inside even in winter.

Dress and Clothing Considerations | Fulbright Finland Foundation

Finnish climate (infofinland.fi)

Water: Finland’s tap water is among the highest quality in the world and drinkable.

Emergency number in Finland is 112. Call the 112 emergency number in urgent, genuine cases of emergency when someone’s or your own life, health, property or the environment is threatened or in imminent danger, or you have reason to believe so. You can also download a 112 Suomi mobile application for emergency cases, which automatically locates you.


In Portugal, youngsters may be integrated in volunteering opportunities from various areas: environment, sports, children, elderly and animal care, food collection, etc. Volunteering with organizations with formal volunteering programs may imply that, once the volunteer signs up for the opportunity, he or she is interviewed. If selected, he/she must sign a volunteering contract, in which all details regarding his/her responsibilities, rights and duties must be expressed. From our experience in collecting good practices in the field of inclusive volunteering, there aren’t many organizations in Portugal with formalized procedures and measures in this sense. We believe, thought, that the actors that can be of use are the Local Volunteering Structures, which are established in most municipalities in Portugal and are run by the Municipality itself, by local NGOs or by a committee formed by representatives of both Municipalities and NGOs. These are in charge of matching volunteers and volunteer envolving organizations, supporting both for a smooth and fruitful integration.

Volunteering insurance must be covered by Portuguese hosting organizations; There is an entity which is responsible for public policies on volunteering in Portugal (Cooperativa António Sérgio para a Economia Social) that has systematized all volunteers’ rights and duties. Also, in Portugal, there is a Law on Volunteering that establishes an important basis for its practice.

Are other travel documents needed in addition to the passport and travel insurance? Passport is not necessarily needed. If you are a citizen of one of the European Union or Schengen Area Member States and your destination is one of the European Union or Schengen Area Member States, you will not need a passport. Visa does not need to be considered.

In case of mental health issues getting worse during one’s volunteering period, what are the medical services and the possibilities of acute support and help in your country?

Portugal has a National Health Service (Serviço Nacional de Saúde). It is important that, if possible, the volunteer enters the country with a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). The EHIC allows you to receive medical assistance during a temporary stay in a country of the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland. Medical care is provided through that country’s social security system, which means that some health care may not be free of charge and may require the payment of user fees. The best way to get the support they need is to ask for help to the hosting organization, so that they can direct the volunteer to the best service possible.


There are 7 international airports in Portugal: 3 on Portuguese continental territory (Faro, Lisbon and Porto) and 4 on the Portuguese islands: Madeira, Ponta Delgada, Porto Santo, Terceira.

Portugal’s weather tends to be slightly unpredictable. You might want to bring a warm jacket and raincoat, even if travelling during summer time. To travel inside the country, you have buses (Rede Expresso and Flixbus, e.g.) and trains (Comboios de Portugal, CP). Gastronomy is usually appreciated by foreigners. Typical dishes are mostly non-vegetarian, but there are many options nowadays for those of you who are vegetarian. To be vegan outside of the main cities might be harder.


If you are participating in an inclusive voluntary exchange in Slovenia, there are several things to take into account:

The main service for providing volunteering services for (young) people in Slovenia is the Slovenian network of volunteer organizations, that can be found on this webpage and offers all information on volunteering (opportunities) in Slovenia. The website is intended for those who want to engage in volunteering and do not speak Slovene as well as for organizations in Slovenia that wish to include migrants /foreigners into their volunteering activities.

The website can also be used to contact voluntary work providers when mapping out inclusive volunteering, as well as securing mentors for volunteers, among them especially:

Teenagers can volunteer in Slovenia too. But they can only do tasks that contribute to their education and personal development and does not endanger their health, development or interfere with their school work. Voluntary work must necessarily be carried out under the guidance of a mentor. When concluding a volunteering agreement, volunteer organisations or organisations with a volunteering programme must observe the restrictions on maximum weekly workload, daily and weekly rest periods and rest protection for children under 15 years of age, as laid down in the law governing employment relationships.


While many people in Slovenia speak English, it’s always a good idea to learn some basic Slovenian phrases to help with communication.

Here are some basic phrases in Slovene:

  • Hello – Zdravo (informal), Dober dan (formal)
  • Goodbye – Nasvidenje
  • Please – Prosim
  • Thank you – Hvala
  • You’re welcome – Prosim
  • Yes – Da
  • No – Ne
  • Excuse me – Oprostite
  • I’m sorry – Žal mi je
  • How are you? – Kako ste? (formal), Kako si? (informal)
  • I don’t understand – Ne razumem
  • Do you speak English? – Govorite angleško?
  • What is your name? – Kako vam je ime? (formal), Kako ti je ime? (informal)
  • My name is… – Moje ime je…
  • Where is…? – Kje je…?
  • How much does it cost? – Koliko stane?
  • Can you help me? – Mi lahko pomagate?
  • I would like… – Rad bi…
  • Good night – Lahko noč.


Slovenia has a unique culture that is different from other European countries. It’s important to be respectful of their customs and traditions.Slovenian culture is shaped by its history, geography, and diverse ethnic groups. It’s important for visitors to be respectful of the customs and traditions of the Slovenian people when visiting the country. Here are some examples:

  • Greetings: In Slovenia, it’s customary to greet people with a handshake and to use formal titles, such as ”gospod” (Mr.) or ”gospa” (Mrs.) when addressing someone you don’t know well.
    • Etiquette: When dining with Slovenian hosts, it’s customary to wait until the host says ”dober tek” (bon appetit) before beginning to eat. It’s also customary to keep your hands visible on the table during the meal.
    • Folk Traditions: Slovenia has a rich tradition of folk music, dance, and costumes. Visitors can participate in traditional festivals and events to experience this aspect of Slovenian culture.
    • Cuisine: Slovenian cuisine is heavily influenced by its neighbors, Italy, Austria, and Hungary. Traditional dishes include potica (nut roll), kranjska klobasa (sausage), and strudel (pastry). It’s also common to drink wine and schnapps with meals.
    • Outdoor Activities: Slovenia is a country of outdoor enthusiasts. Visitors can participate in hiking, skiing, and other outdoor activities. Respect the natural environment, and follow the rules and regulations for each activity.

Weather: Slovenia has a continental climate, with cold winters and warm summers. Depending on the time of year you visit, you’ll want to pack appropriate clothing.

Accommodation: Make sure you have secured your accommodation in advance. This means that they should book their accommodation before arriving in the country.

  • Hostels and home-stays are popular options for volunteers and exchange students as they are usually more affordable than hotels and offer the opportunity to meet other travelers and locals. Hostels provide shared dormitory-style accommodation with shared bathrooms and communal areas, while home-stays are when a volunteer stays with a local family.
  • Hostels are usually run by private businesses or organizations and offer a range of amenities such as Wi-Fi, lockers, laundry facilities, and common areas. Home-stays provide a unique opportunity for volunteers to experience the local culture and way of life. The host family may offer meals, and volunteers can often participate in cultural activities with the family.
  • It is essential to research and book accommodation in advance to ensure that the volunteer has a safe and comfortable place to stay during their stay in Slovenia. This also allows them to plan their budget and prepare for their trip accordingly.
  • Researching and booking accommodation in advance is crucial to ensure that volunteers have a safe and comfortable place to stay during their time in Slovenia. Here are some tips to help with the process:
  • Research accommodation options online: There are many websites that offer information about accommodation options in Slovenia, including hostels, home-stays, hotels, and apartments.
  • Check reviews: Make sure to read reviews from other travelers to ensure that the accommodation meets your standards.
  • Consider location: Think about the location of your accommodation in relation to your volunteer placement or exchange program. Will you need to travel by public transportation, and if so, how long will it take?
  • Budget: Consider your budget and choose accommodation that fits within your price range. Hostels and home-stays are often more affordable than hotels.
  • Contact the accommodation provider: If you have any questions or concerns about the accommodation, don’t hesitate to contact the provider before booking.