The four types of voluntary service – FSJ, FÖJ, BFD and IJFD
You would like some time before you start working life, you still want to take a break abroad or just do not know what you would like to study once? As a volunteer, you support an organization that contributes to the well-being of society in voluntary service. Likewise, you can use the time as a volunteer employee to orientate yourself once again after school and gain initial experience in the profession. The duration of your flexible voluntary work is determined in advance and is usually 12 months, by agreement, but also some weeks are possible. In most cases, you support the institutions as a full-time employee and are fully integrated into working life. There are a variety of different volunteer services.
Voluntary social year
If you are between 16 and 26 years of age and already have full-time compulsory education, you can start a Voluntary Social Year at a social institution. Volunteers gain initial hands-on experience during their FSJ job, helping them with their job orientation.
Voluntary ecological year
You are between 16 and 26 years old, finished your compulsory education and you want to work for nature conservation? In a Volunteer Ecological Year, you are committed to nature and the environment. As a FöJler you are practically responsible for the welfare of nature and take care of the sustainable development of the environment.
Federal Voluntary Service
The Federal Volunteer Service is the official successor of the Civil Service, which was adopted in July 2011. It offers old and young people the opportunity to get involved socially, ecologically or culturally.
Voluntary service abroad
If you are between 16 and 26 years old, you can do the International Youth Volunteer Service. This is part of the program of the Federal Office for Family, Women, Senior Citizens and Youth (BMFSJ) and enables you to gain experience as a volunteer abroad.
The most well-known kind of the freiwilligenienstes is that Voluntary Social Year (FSJ). In this you work in a social institution, such as a retirement home or a sheltered workshop. The focus is on working with other people you accompany on their journey and whom you help with.
The Voluntary Ecological Year (FÖJ) Voluntary environmental year is all about the environment. During the voluntary year, the focus is on nature conservation. Possible facilities can be found in forestry, food processing or environmental education.
Unlike the FSJ and FÖJ is the Federal Volunteer Service (BFD) no juvenile volunteer service and the only volunteer service you can still do for over 26 years. You are committed to the common good in the social, environmental or cultural field. You can also run this service part-time if you are over 27.
Of the International Youth Voluntary Service (IJFD) is one of the volunteer services abroad and takes you to other countries. The aim is to gain intercultural and personal experience abroad. You will be assigned by supporting organizations as a volunteer for different projects within and outside Europe.
As a volunteer, you work with other volunteers and professionals. During the volunteer service, you will be confronted with new situations that will help you with your career choice or study orientation. An exchange with the other employees can help you with this.
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Depending on the area of work, for example, you can help old people in a social institution, take care of children or take care of physically handicapped people. Monument preservation or an international voluntary service abroad are also possible. The offer is great and new volunteers are desperately wanted. As a young employee, you will often reach your limits. These experiences can help you in your personal development and strengthen your social interest. In the foreground is your service, which you perform as a volunteer and with which you help other people or institutions. In addition to the practical part of your voluntary service, participation in several seminars, which differ according to the nature of your job, is also included. The seminars convey social and ecological content. You can also meet with other volunteers in the seminars and share their experiences or share important information.
You do not receive a fixed salary for your voluntary commitment, but an expense allowance. In addition, this allowance still includes travel allowances and supplements for accommodation and food, which you can take in certain cases. If you are under 25 years of age, volunteer at a government-approved job site and have not yet completed vocational training, you will still be eligible for child benefit during the voluntary service.
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