Voluntary Social Year in Germany

Are you young and want to see the world, meet interesting people, learn several foreign languages and change the world for the better?Then read this article to the end, watch the video - and you will find out that it is quite simple to implement!

For those who want to come and legally stay in Germany for a period of 6 to 18 months, learn a language, live in German society, gain experience in the social sphere, as well as realize themselves by helping others, there is a unique opportunity to take part in volunteer programs such as the Federal Volunteer service (Bundesfreiwilligendienst abbr. BFD) as well as Volunteer Social Year (Freiwilliges Soziales Jahr abbr .FSJ)

So, what actually are these programs and what are the goals?

Federal Volunteer Service (BFD) or Voluntary Social Year (FSJ) in Germany is an institutionalized form of voluntary work that combines the organizational structure, objectives, functions and values. Voluntary service or volunteering is limited to the time frame and is carried out after prior approval of the type of activity for a particular program.

Volunteer services were developed for young people with a pedagogical purpose and legalized by the state as public services for the social movement and for promotion of international understanding.

The main difference between the Federal Volunteer Service (BFD) and the Volunteer Social Year (FSJ) is age and goal setting.

So, the youth aged from 18 up to 27 years regardless of gender, religious or ethnic origin and the social status can take part in the program of Voluntary Social Year (Freiwilleges Sociales Jahr). The main condition of this program is completed secondary education. BFD program is open to people up to 27 years of age and older. While younger participants seek to gain experience, the participants are older – want to share the experience.

The federal volunteer service is an offer for women and men of all ages, as well as over 27 years, to work for the common good outside of work and study, sharing an experience in various fields of activity.

Areas of social activity within Voluntary Social Year or Voluntary service are diverse:

  • social (child protection and protection of minors, work with young people, social security, health care and geriatric medicine ,assistance for people with disabilities )
  • Environmental protection
  • Sport
  • Integration
  • Preservation of cultural and historic heritage
  • Education
  • Civil protection and disaster management
  • Working hours of the program participants should not exceed 40 hours per week
  • Pocket money, as well as travel, insurance, food and housing costs in case the institution does not provide these services to volunteers.
  • Medical insurance for program participants

One of the main advantages of such programs is an opportunity to learn a lot in one or another professional field of activity, to gain practical experience and, as a result, to realize how suitable exactly for you these kinds of professions in the social field.

As the main aim of the program is a professional orientation of its participants, in addition to the voluntary social service, program participants attend mandatory educational seminars, which, on average, are given 25 days a year. During these seminars the project participants meet, exchange accumulated experiences and get advice from social workers and psychologists.

There are several points, the observance of which is mandatory for all:

One of the most important aspects when choosing the candidate - is knowledge of German. Required language level for participation in the program is A2 – B1.

Volunteering is a win for everyone. Many social, cultural or environmental projects receive a special power thanks to the support of volunteers who are actively involved in shaping the community through their commitments!

We strongly recommend all applicants to submit their applications as early as possible. We strongly recommend all applicants to submit their applications to us as early as possible. This allows us sufficient time to address questions or difficulties that may arise and to prepare your application materials for the hosting organizations.

A list of all organizers (Träger) can be found on the website at the link below.