Interested international volunteers
Voluntary service with the Protestant host organisations is also open to non-German citizens. If you are interested in spending a year doing social work in Germany and are keen to work with and learn from new people, then apply for a voluntary service year with us.
For a voluntary service year in Germany, you should bring the following:
- Curiosity about the intersection of social work and religion
- Open mindedness about other people and living situation
- A desire to engage in self-reflection
- The willingness to spend a year far away from family and friends
- The willingness to interact with and learn from others
- An interest in engaging with questions of faith within Christianity
- At least a basic understanding of the German language and the willingness to improve those skills.
Our programs are open to everyone, regardless their ethnic origin, sex, religion or ideology, sexual orientation or education. What counts is the individual motivation.
Costs and Benefits
As a foreigner doing a voluntary service year in Germany, you receive exactly the same benefits as Germans doing a Social Voluntary Service (“Freiwilliges Soziales Jahr”, FSJ) or a National Voluntary Service (“Bundesfreiwilligendienst”, BFD). Some host organisations offer a language course in addition.
Usually, the volunteer must fund his/her travel and visa costs.
The best advice is to check directly with the host organisation you are applying to about the costs and benefits of the potential placements.
It is best to apply early - between six to nine months before the start of a placement is recommendable. It is especially important to apply early if you require a visa to live and work in Germany.
If there is an EDYN (Ecumenical Diaconal Year Network) partner organisation in your country, apply there for a voluntary service year in Germany. The EDYN website can be found at: www.edyn.org. If there is no EDYN organisation in your country, then please apply directly to one of our organisations in Germany. The latter is also recommended if you are already in Germany and not applying from abroad.
The first step is to get in touch in writing. Then you will receive the necessary information and forms from either the EDYN partner organisation or the respective organisation in Germany. Following the written application, there is usually a phone or Skype call to get to know you a bit better. Some placements invite applicants to shadow existing volunteers for a day. The final step is where the host organisation, the placement and the applicant reach a mutual decision about the possibility of a service year.
The preparation phase
When you have received confirmation of a placement volunteering in Germany, you should use the months before your departure to prepare. Please think of the following:
- Applying for a visa
- Organising your travel plans – in conjunction with the organisation and the placement
- Learning German or improving upon your existing skills (i.e. language courses)
- Preparing for the work you will undertake, for example by doing an internship or job shadowing.
If you are being sent by an organisation in your country, there is often a preparatory seminar before you depart. Here you prepare for your year abroad with other volunteers.
Chaperonage during your voluntary service
During your service period, you are closely chaperoned by the host organisation and the place of assignment. Furthermore, you are assigned a contact person who is always available to answer questions and deal with problems. At seminars, attended by both Germans and other international volunteers, you will have the opportunity to exchange information on your experiences, reflect on the work you are doing and learn new things.
For further information regarding volunteering in Germany, please contact the host organisation of your choice or our headquarter.