We talk quite often about who you could go to Germany, Austria or Switzerland as. Today we’re talking about volunteers. This topic is very popular in Western countries. People work not for money, but for experience or for good reasons. Naturally, the idea is not that anyone profits from your “free” work. In return, they usually provide accommodation, flight tickets, money for pocket expenses, the opportunity to learn a language, attend seminars, improve their skills, etc.
Volunteers usually help at camps, day care centres, nursing homes, hospitals, etc. In general, they work with the most vulnerable sections of society and protect nature or animals. The list of possible places is not limited to this. Volunteers are accepted by organisations with a wide range of activities.
Who can volunteer? Essentially, there are no special restrictions. Different offers have different requirements, but almost always they have the condition of knowing German (at least on a basic level).
They are not the same in terms of program duration either. From a few weeks to a year. You can volunteer in any part of the country: in a big city or far from civilization in the forest.
Where can I find one? It’s very simple.
The first way is to look for a volunteer program like a normal job. First, look at our selection of sites to find a job, then choose the right category – “Freiwilligendienst”. Next, nothing unusual: CV, motivational, interview, invitation, visa.
The second way is the programs that recruit volunteers for the organization in your country. To find them, you need to google and search by keywords: “volunteering”, “Germany/Austria…”, “for the summer”, etc. It is not superfluous to check the thematic groups in social networks.
And the third way is special institutions that organize volunteers throughout the country. In Germany, these include the Bundesfreiwilligendienst (Federal Voluntary Service), the FSJ (Freiwilliges Soziales Jahr – volunteer social year) and the FÖJ (Freiwilliges Ökologisches Jahr – volunteer environmental year). In Austria and Switzerland: Europäischer Freiwilligendienst (European Volunteer Service). These are just pointing clues. The information changes all the time and it is better to look for more details.
Next you get a specific type of visa for volunteers, a list of required documents which you can find on the embassy website. Nothing special is required to obtain a visa. The main thing is the confirmation from the organization that they invite you as a volunteer.
Volunteering is one of the easiest ways to live in your dream country. This line on your resume will be a big advantage for any university, employer and more. After all, you have the opportunity to spend an unforgettable summer (or winter).