FSJ Program: Social Year in Germany
Not everyone knows about this volunteer program, but it will be very useful for young people who have not had time to decide on the direction of future activities, who take an active life position, and simply want to improve knowledge of German language by immersing in the verbal environment, while working for the
benefit of the society.
The FSJ program is a state youth program for both German citizens and foreigners, which allows to volunteer. Its motto is “Fürmich – und fürandere!” (For me and for others!) justifies itself completely. During their participation in the program, young people gain invaluable experience in work and communication through helping other people.
The essence and conditions of the program
The program lasts from 6 months to 1 year and can be extended for the next 6 months (up to 18 months). At this time, the participant becomes a volunteer in any of the selected areas:
• Care for the elderly
• Help for disabled people
• Guidance with teenagers
• Arrangement of events
• Environmental activity
The work of the volunteers is coordinated by specialists of the FSJ organization and give all the necessary advices regarding their activities. In addition, a program participant is provided with things like:
• Housing and three meals a day. In case of refusal it is compensated in cash.
• A small amount for minor pocket expenses. It ranges from 200.00 to 400.00 euros, depending on the organization and work.
• Paid medical insurance.
• Obligatory workshops (25 days)
• 40-hour work week
• 24-day vacation
• Certificate whereare recorded activities and participationat the end of the program
The participant pays all transport expenses on his/her own.
Requirements to FSJ Member
The future volunteer must be between 18 and 26 years old, he should be unmarried and have a basic level of spoken German language – his knowledge will be necessary when interviewing by phone or Skype.
In addition, it is desirable to have experience in pedagogical or social work (it will be considered an advantage), and a positive motivation is to have a desire to work for the benefit of people.
Types of FSJ
There are several areas of volunteer work. Usually, a future program participant can choose the direction of activity and the city where he/she will reside and work. We will tell you in brief about the main types of FSJ.
• Care for sick people. It involves work in hospitals, clinics and emergency departments. It helps to determine whether work in the field of medicine is suitable for you in the future.
• Care for the elderly. It consists in helping with dressing, undressing, washing, walking, etc.
• Work with disabled people. It involves being in nursing homes for disabled people, schools and workshops and assisting in the independent fulfillment of daily tasks by them.
• Work with children and teenagers. Arrangement of leisure and educational assistance to teenagers.
• Sport or culture. The arrangement and conduct of sports trainings and creative activities in the field of music, theater, organization of events, etc.
• Care of monuments. Work in museums, departments and workshops. The duration of the seminar in this area is 35 days.
• Environmental Social Year – FÖJ. The said work can be related to zoos, farms, garbage collection and other environmental activities.
How and when to apply for participation in FSJ program?
The program starts twice a year: on September 1st, and March 1st. It is better to file an application for participation six months before it starts: it takes time to select an organization and housing, as well as to collect documents and obtain a visa.
To file an application you will need:
• Biography and motivation letter
• Degree certificate
• International passport
• Language Certificate (if any)
• Letter of recommendation from the place of employment/ study/ Certificate of participation in other programs
• Health Certificate
• Copies of certificates or letters of commendation (if any)
Participation in the FSJ program will be an excellent preparation for independent living, additional language practice and the opportunity to decide on the future type of activity.
Our experts will give the most detailed recommendations on the collection and execution of documents, as well as assist in making an appointment with the embassy and obtain a national visa.