Orientation and commitment – voluntary services

Voluntary services provide orientation

Voluntary Services offer the opportunity to gain initial professional experience, to gain personal orientation and at the same time to get involved with others. Voluntary Service is usually carried out in a non-profit sector, e.g. in the social, cultural or ecological sector. This is where the Voluntary Social Year (FSJ), the Federal Voluntary Service (BFD), the Voluntary Ecological Year (FÖJ) or the Voluntary Military Service (FWD) differ. Apart from these, legally regulated Voluntary Services are also offered abroad.

A Voluntary Service usually lasts 12 month. It is acknowleged from 6 month and can be extended to 18 month under certain circumstances. During this time, you are part of the team and support your colleagues in one area of work. This can be in nursing care, in pedagogical support or in the administration of an institution. The field of work are very diverse. In addition, a Volunteer Service is alway acconpanied by seminar days, where you can exchange and reflect on your experience with other volunteers. Furthermore, you will work there on personal future wishes, goals and also on social topics.

A volunteer Service is regulated by law and has other advantages. You are socially insured during your work and also receive pocket money. In some places you can even live for the duration of your service.

Voluntary Services are offered by many institutions. They are always happy to welcome people who are interested in volunteering for a time and at the same time get to know the field of work. Each placement site works together with an educational institution. These can be independent but also church institutions.

You can get in contact with the sponsors, who will help you to find a suitable placement. You can also go to the institution of your choice or in your town and ask directly if it is possivle to apply for a Volunteer Service there.

This link is provided by the Bundesarbeitskreis FSJ and lists all institutions.

This link is provided by sponsor of a Voluntary Ecological Year.

Under this link you will find futher information about the BFD.


In addition, the Lower Rhine area offers a number of other counselling and support programmes.

Under certain circumstances it may also be possible for international students who drop out of their studies to start a business and work in Germany. In this case, detailed preparation is also necessary, applications must be submitted and other arrangements made which usually require planning ahead. You can also be granted a visa for starting a business if you meet all the necessary requirements. Further information can be obtained from your local Immigration Office or here: