ÄNGSBACKA: MY MAGICAL ERASMUS INTERNSHIP IN SWEDEN – Fiona (Philippines)
Since 1997, thousands of people have been touched by the warm, open, loving atmosphere during workshops, festivals and visits at Ängsbacka. It is an international course and festival center in Northern Europe with participants, workshop leaders, and volunteers from all over the world. It is located in the beautiful deep forests of Värmland in Sweden, halfway between Stockholm and Oslo. To many, this place has become like a second home and a source of inspiration. Hundreds of people have lived and worked in Ängsbacka for short or longer periods, and contributed time, money, labor and their hearts to create what can be shared and enjoyed today. It is among the most important meeting places in Scandinavia for people who want to live a more conscious life, live from the heart, and care for the planet. It also provided me with one of the best experiences of my life.
I was fortunate enough to work at Ängsbacka during my Erasmus internship as a part of my Master’s program from July to September 2018. Whenever I remember my time there last summer, I feel truly honored to have found Ängsbacka and experienced its magic through my work, which also gave me insights on the pros and cons on living, working, and running a course and festival center. In the wellness industry, one of the many tools to assess an organization’s meaningful contribution to its stakeholders is looking into The 8 Wellness Dimension Wheel. (Specific information on these eight dimensions can be found here) True enough, Ängsbacka advocates a comprehensive approach to achieve one’s best life and encourages these dimensions through specific provisions within the center, providing a means for individuals to develop themselves along emotional, environmental, intellectual, occupational, physical, social, spiritual, and financial lines while having fun.
Sweden is a culture free of exaggeration, and the management style and interactions in Ängsbacka are accordingly straightforward and transparent. What I highly appreciated during the internship was the flat organizational structure and its non-existent management hierarchy. Connections, encouragement, and admiration were all given sincerely to the entire working teams as well as to individuals. The understanding of shared purpose was also embraced, with a thriving community spirit transforming its collective wisdom into shareable experiences with new and returning visitors, participants, workshop leaders, staff, and volunteers. There is a feeling of belonging, of being home, of being included, of being welcome. The culture of care and warmth beyond differences open everyone’s hearts and minds that is vital to feeling good in all the wellness dimensions.
Overall, the Ängsbacka magic really held me in an allowing and cooperative space to reflect, flourish, and give my best to a shared vision of the community. This learning opportunity was pivotal in expanding my understanding of Ängsbacka as a benevolent business enterprise and community space contributing its share for the good of all. With its big love sprinkled all over, it is indeed one of my most memorable internships ever. I encourage you, if you are going to do an internship as part of your master’s program, or just during your time in Tartu, to think of it not just as
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