”A bilingual group made me feel like home and allowed me to do Scouting again.”
When I landed at Helsinki Airport for the first time in 2016, I would never have believed that three and a half years later I would move to Helsinki permanently. Love and Scouting brought me here. In the beginning, it wasn’t easy for me to adapt to a different country with a foreign language and culture. But with the skills I learned from the Scouts, I’m now managing my difficulties with a smile.
My first challenge was to get a job. Of course, the first question which employers ask, is if I speak Finnish. I was asked this question so many times that I finally decided to take some Finnish lessons. I have tried and tried, but the Finnish language isn’t very easy to learn. But I’m determined not to give up!
So, I decided to carry on the self-employment I had back in London. The lack of language skills proved it would not be easy to do business here.
So, I joined the Scouts to get some reassurance. I started my Scouting adventure in 1991 as a young person back in Portugal. Many years later, I found myself as a Scout Leader in London. I believed my skills would be easily transferable and it would be easy to adapt, since I’ve been camping in Finland with the Scouts before, I thought.
Again, the language was an obstacle, a big one to overcome. My first Scout Group was my girlfriend’s one, but the engagement wasn’t easy. So, I searched for an international Scout Group in Finland and found Wild Eagles in Espoo.
A bilingual group made me feel like home and allowed me to do Scouting again.
Eventually, I got the confidence to join the central organization’s photography team and to apply for different roles for different events.
One question came to my mind: Is Scouting truly international and engaging? I have the answer. With suitable adjustments some of the skills are transferable from different countries and can be inclusive and global.
When I was doing Scouting in the UK, I received three wood badge certificates. After joining a Scout Group in Finland, I discovered my training wasn’t transferable. The only badge for adults recognized around the world where we all use the same scarf, isn’t transferable. And it isn’t just in Finland, it is pretty much the same across the globe.
Maybe it is time to make it possible – only the future will tell. I’m looking forward to the future at Partio. Thanks to Partio, I have got the confidence to change my career and to move in with the one I love.
I believe my experience helps to make Scouts and Scouting even greater.
The writer is a Scout, who has moved to Finland in 2020, has Scouting experience in three different countries and now represents Wild Eagles in Espoo.
PICTURE: Salla Grönlund