Free (or Cheap) Volunteer Work in Germany
After opening its borders to large numbers of refugees, better off visitors to Germany can also lend a hand, ranging from working directly with those fleeing conflict to helping to conserve the nation's heritage.
Grassroots Volunteering in Germany
The organisations listed below have either got in touch with us to add their details to this or another of our websites, or we otherwise have reason to believe they are actively looking for international volunteers and charge reasonable or no fees to join in, live and work with them:
Native English speakers are invited to help Englischhausen create an English speaking only village in Germany where German professionals are able to improve their English listening, understanding and conversational proficiency. Volunteers have one task only: to talk, and keep talking, in English only. The six day courses are held around a dozen times a year with dates for the following year published in November (though at the time of writing their website was out of date by a year - though their Facebook page. Englishhausen accepts a broad range of profiles but all participants should be native English speakers, over 22, with enough life and career experiences to keep talking for up to 16 hours a day. The site is in German (a language that you both do not need to understand and promise to utter not a word if you do) so click Kontakt for English language volunteer information. An English language website is avaliable at www.englischhausen.com but was at least a year out of date when we last visited.
Where: Laubach, Hesse, and AltmÃ¼hltal, Bavaria.
Accommodation & Costs: No fee to join in. Meals and accommodation are provided.
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The Friends of Waldorf Education
People of all nations are invited to apply for voluntary service in Germany sponsored by the Friends of Waldorf Education. Volunteers help out with the elderly or in special needs schools. Applicants should know at least the basics of German, have already gathered practical experience in working with people with special needs or with the elderly (or carry out a two week internship or training programme at a qualifying institution in your home country), and be prepared to work for 12 months in a full time capacity.
Where: Varied locations across Germany.
Accommodation & Costs: Volunteers receive free room and board and an allowance of at least 150 euros per month. Applicants from Brazil and South Africa can also receive support, advice and preparatory assistance from their local Friends of Waldorf Education.
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The Excellence Center in Europe
The Excellence Center in Europe provides many different opportunities for nationals, immigrants, refugees, and international volunteers to engage in educational, cultural, social and community development activities. Volunteers mostly teach English.
Alongside contributing to the integration process of refugees living in Germany, one of the main goals of the Excellence Center in Europe is to bring internationals from every corner in the world to Germany to learn about the country, the culture, and the language, including the opportunity to volunteer or intern in Germany for one to 12 weeks. The Center will place internationals studying German with German host families and try to find Arabic host families for those who are interested in studying their language.
Accommodation & Costs: Starting from 300 Euro a month, this includes breakfast, accommodation with host families or in the Excellence Center's dorm, Arabic classes, as well as visits to nearby landmarks and sites.
Other Opportunities to Volunteer in Germany
Their website is in German only but according to an article in the English language Gulf Times, Open Houses "organises around 40 youth education projects every year. The majority of them focus on practical work being undertaken at heritage sites or in their direct surroundings, which brings together around 450 young volunteers from around 40 countries from Europe and other parts of the world. Volunteersare predominantly students, without professional skills in the field of heritage." The camps run for two weeks from June to September. Expect to pay some sort or fee to cover your food, accommodation and admin costs, but also expect it to be affordable.
English speaking expats can make use of the excellent Give Something Back to Berlin, a website intended to make social engagement and neighbourhood work accessible to the city's large non-German speaking population, to offer their time and skills to more vulnerable migrants to the city, such as refugees. Projects can range from taking photos to teaching ukelele.
Help Exchange Networks in Germany
More Volunteering in Germany Resources
Volunteering in Germany: A Guide - If you want to volunteer in Germany, depending on the sector you wish to volunteer in and the length of time you'd like to volunteer for, your options are varied.
Other Ways to Travel or Stay for Free in Germany
Stay for free in return for caring for local residents' homes or pets. Join Trusted Housesitters to live rent free as a house sitter (Americans may prefer this link). Germany usually has house sits available but, if not, you can get a free $25 Airbnb credit from us here.
Funded by the US Congress and German Bundestag, The Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX) for Young Professionals annually provides 75 young Americans with an understanding of everyday life, education, and professional training in Germany. The scholarship includes a round trip transatlantic flight, university tuition, language training, living stipend, insurance and programme related travel costs while in Germany.
How to Work for Free AND Have the Time of Your Life Doing it - A Kiwi volunteers at Englischhausen, an English language immersion village in Germany.
Communication FTW! A Week of English Volunteering in the Black Forest - A Kiwi saves some money by volunteering at an immersive conversational English language programme in Germany.
* not all these volunteer experiences are with grassroots NGOs or low cost organisations
Image courtesy Diverbo Idiomas