After graduating and returning from my Ecuador trip I began the extensive project of looking for job opportunities which would coincide with my interests and skills. After all, that's one of the reasons one studies for so many years. After a few months of looking around I received an opportunity to work with the Finnish Investment Bank PCA Corporate Finance as a Corporate Finance Analyst in Helsinki, Finland. The job was challenging and I took part in a multitude of investment banking related tasks and transactions such as the analysis, valuation and assessment of companies, financial structuring, creation of project presentations, collection of relevant data and general project support. I was also involved in a number of both domestic and foreign investment banking projects covering mergers and acquisitions, private equity issues, public offerings and structured finance.
Despite the stimulating work in Helsinki I felt an interest towards international challenges and especially towards areas with a more "humanitarian" aspect of work. An interesting opportunity presented itself in the summer of 2003 as I was chosen to participate in the Finnish Volunteer Program called "Etelän Vapaaehtoisohjelma" (ETVO) which is arranged by KEPA. Twice a year KEPA chooses qualified volunteers to participate in ETVO, which is a joint programme of five Finnish non-governmental organisations. The participants have to cover all their travel and other associated expenses personally. Luckily I had managed to save some extra money for this kind of a journey.
I was chosen to volunteer with an organisation called "Programa de Formación de Maestros Bilingues de la Amazonía Peruana" (Formabiap) which is situated in the midst of the Peruvian jungle in a city called Iquitos. After contemplating this alternative for a while I decided it was definitely worth exploring. Not least due to the fact that I wanted to add Spanish to my language skills. So, in October 2003 I left for Iquitos, Peru with an adventurous set of mind and prepared for a sweaty and humid life in the jungle.
I've gathered some basic information on my volunteer work, Peru and my organisation under the sub-titles on the left of this page so you may explore those pages for more precise information on my surroundings. Generally speaking the little over 6 months (October 2003 - April 2004) spent in Peru were all an unforgettable experience which gave me many new perspectives on everything ranging from poverty and rainforest conservation to South American culture and attitudes towards life. Despite the fact that the majority of the Peruvians live in poverty they still seem to possess an amazingly optimistic attitude towards the future, hospitality and generosity. I met many good friends in Iquitos who gave my stay the very important social aspect of living in a foreign country. My travels took me to the coast of Peru to the capital city of Lima and south to cities such as Pisco, Paracas, Arequipa, Puno, Cusco and Machu Picchu. I also had the opportunity to visit Colombia and meet many of the fabulous people whom with I first made my contact to South America in year 2000. Altogether a memorable and educational time which really did teach me that sometimes one indeed has to travel far in order to see close...