Choosing the right approach

16.07.2008

EURES is the place to look for a whole range of exciting and sometimes unusual jobs, as a Czech teacher discovered when he found – and filled – a EURES vacancy for a seasonal tourist guide on a Finnish husky dog farm. Many jobseekers looking for work in another country are fuelled by a desire for new experiences. Finding yourself working in a husky farm in Lapland, however, is a truly rare happening. Even so, this is what happened to 30-year-old Jan Stanek from the Czech Republic, who decided to put his teaching career on hold to pursue his thirst for adventure.

A regular visitor to the EURES website, Jan often consulted the EURES job database, which usually contains over 1.5 million European job vacancies at any one time. A job on a husky dog farm in the Finnish Lapland grabbed his attention in autumn 2007. Finland was Jan’s favourite country, and, having visited it several times, he had always wanted to spend some time living there. It was such a unique opportunity that Jan applied for the job on the very same day the vacancy appeared on the website! His enthusiasm must have counted in his favour, as he got the job. At the end of 2007 he set off for the city of Kuusamo, Northern Finland, for 3 months of seasonal work.

Jan quickly discovered that his new home was one of the biggest and best-known husky farms in Finland. His tasks were wide-ranging: “I took care of the 120 dogs, feeding and cleaning them; I used to prepare, organise and conduct husky rides for tourists; and, of course, guide the tourists around the farm, answering any questions they had,” the Czech tells us. Many visitors came from a famous sport and tourist centre called Ruska, which offers, among its activities for tourists, several visits to ‘Jan’s’ husky farm together with long sleigh-rides on the frozen Ylikitka Lake. “Thanks to this I managed to improve my English skills with tourists, and learned basic Finnish expressions.” The farm owner even provided Jan with accommodation.

The job presented Jan with certain challenges, which Jan feels have strengthened his personality. The farm was 22 km away from the nearest shop and 35 km from the nearest bigger community. Moreover, temperatures in Lapland can reach -30°C during the winter and Jan had to work mostly outdoors. “In addition, I worked very hard – at the peak of the Christmas holidays I was working 12 hours a day due to the volume of tourists. It was a great experience, though. The salary was also very high compared to what I was earning in the Czech Republic,” says Jan.

Jan returned to the Czech Republic two and a half months ago: “I miss my husky farm already,” he admits. “I’d love to go abroad again and regularly check the EURES website to look for other interesting jobs.’’ No doubt EURES will provide Jan with more adventures in the future!

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