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Immerse Yourself in the German Culture For Free by Volunteering in Germany or Austria

Name and Title:

Birgit A. Jensen, PhD, Associate Professor of German


East Carolina University

Area of the World:

United States


Mostly English, some German

Target Audience(s):

Instructors of German and students interested in an immersion year in Germany at extremely low cost (i.e., a plane ticket)

Short Session Description:

Learn how to immerse yourself in the German culture by joining the federal volunteer programs in Germany or Austria

Full Session Description:

Until 2011, educational, social, cultural, health, ecological, and political organizations in Germany were staffed with young men who did not want to serve in the military for a year and volunteered for civilian service instead. However, when Germany ended its draft program in 2011, the number of volunteers available dropped by more than 50,000 per year. As a result, anyone with at least low-intermediate proficiency German-speaking skills is now invited to help out in organizations, locations, and fields that will provide them with work experience, additional German language training, international networking opportunities, and educational seminars.

Explore this option to live and work in Germany (or Austria, for ecological volunteering) for 6-18 months with an allowance, room and board, health insurance, and 25 days of enrichment seminars. Details on how to secure a position and best practices from two case studies will be shared in this session.

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