The Berufsfreiwilligendienst (BFD) is a voluntary service program in Germany that allows individuals to gain professional experience in various fields, such as social work, education, and healthcare. This program is open to both German citizens and foreigners who are resident in Germany. The BFD is a great opportunity for foreigners to gain valuable work experience in Germany and improve their job prospects.
What do participants do in the BFD?
The typical tasks in the Bundesfreiwilligendienst (Federal Voluntary Service) vary depending on the organization and sector in which the participant is placed. However, some common tasks include assisting with administrative work, providing support for people with disabilities or illnesses, organizing events, and helping with environmental conservation projects. Participants may also work in cultural institutions, such as museums or theaters, where they assist with educational programs, exhibitions, or public events.
Participants typically work in non-profit organizations, public institutions, or other institutions that provide social or cultural services. They may work alongside full-time staff members or other volunteers, and often interact with people from diverse backgrounds, such as people with disabilities, elderly individuals, or refugees.
Participants can learn a variety of skills and gain valuable work experience during their service, such as teamwork, communication, organizational skills, and intercultural competence. They may also receive training in specific areas, such as first aid or environmental conservation.
After work, participants have the opportunity to explore the local area, meet new people, and immerse themselves in German culture. Many organizations offer social events or excursions for their volunteers, and participants may also choose to pursue their own hobbies or interests in their free time.
Which costs will be covered during the BFD?
The Bundesfreiwilligendienst (Federal Voluntary Service) providers typically cover the costs of accommodation and meals for participants during their service. This is usually provided in the form of either free or subsidized housing and meals, which can help to ease the financial burden of living in a new city or region. In addition, participants receive a monthly allowance, which varies depending on the provider and the duration of the service.
Apart from accommodation and meals, participants in the Bundesfreiwilligendienst can receive a range of other benefits and support. For example, participants are typically covered by the provider’s insurance policy, which includes liability insurance and accident insurance. Participants may also receive training in specific areas, such as first aid or environmental conservation, and have the opportunity to gain valuable work experience and develop new skills.
Additionally, many providers offer support and guidance to participants throughout their service, including mentorship and counseling services. This can help participants to adjust to their new surroundings, deal with any challenges that arise, and make the most of their experience in the program.
Eligibility for the BFD
To be eligible for the BFD, individuals must be between the ages of 18 and 26 and have completed their secondary education. Additionally, they must be resident in Germany and have a valid residence permit if they are not German citizens. This means that students who are studying in Germany, or individuals who have recently moved to Germany, can apply for the BFD. It is important to note that the program is competitive and not all applicants will be accepted.
Duration of the BFD
The BFD typically lasts for 12 months, although it can be extended to a maximum of 24 months. During this time, participants will work in a chosen field and receive a small allowance for their service. The allowance varies depending on the organization offering the program and the participant’s qualifications.
The allowance is usually enough to cover basic living expenses such as accommodation and food, but it is not intended to be a full salary.
How to Apply for the BFD
The application process for the BFD can vary depending on the organization offering the program. Generally, interested individuals will need to submit an application, including a CV and cover letter, to the organization they wish to work with. It is important to note that the BFD is a highly competitive program and not all applicants will be accepted.
It’s recommended that you carefully research the different organizations offering the BFD and tailor your application to the specific organization and role you are applying for. Additionally, it’s also important to have a good command of the German language as most of the organizations conduct the interview and other communication in German.
Which institutions offer a BFD in Germany?
- Diakonisches Werk – https://www.diakonie.de/
- Caritas – https://www.caritas.de/
- Deutsches Rotes Kreuz – https://www.drk.de/
- Arbeiterwohlfahrt – https://www.awo.org/
- Malteser – https://www.malteser.de/
- Johanniter-Unfall-Hilfe – https://www.johanniter.de/
- Deutscher Kinderschutzbund – https://www.dksb.de/
- NaturFreunde Deutschlands – https://www.naturfreunde.de/
- Bund Naturschutz – https://www.bund-naturschutz.de/
- Technisches Hilfswerk – https://www.thw.de/
- Deutsche Stiftung Denkmalschutz – https://www.denkmalschutz.de/
- Amnesty International – https://www.amnesty.de/
- Greenpeace Deutschland – https://www.greenpeace.de/
- SOS-Kinderdorf – https://www.sos-kinderdorf.de/
- Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge – https://www.volksbund.de/
Benefits of Participating in the BFD
Participating in the BFD offers a number of benefits for foreigners in Germany. Firstly, it allows individuals to gain valuable professional experience in their chosen field. This can be especially beneficial for those who are seeking employment in Germany and want to improve their job prospects.
Additionally, the BFD provides an opportunity for individuals to learn about German culture and improve their language skills. It also allows them to make connections with German citizens and other foreigners in Germany. For example, an individual who is interested in pursuing a career in social work can apply for BFD in an organization that provides social services. This will give them the opportunity to gain practical experience in the field and make connections with professionals in the field.
Furthermore, the BFD is a great opportunity for individuals to gain a better understanding of the German job market and the skills and qualifications that are valued in Germany. This can be particularly useful for individuals who are looking to start a career in Germany after finishing their studies. Moreover, the BFD can also be a stepping stone to a permanent job in Germany. Many organizations use the BFD as a way to identify and recruit new talent, so it’s an excellent opportunity for individuals to showcase their skills and qualifications.
Questions and answers
What is the Bundesfreiwilligendienst (Federal Voluntary Service) in Germany?
The Bundesfreiwilligendienst is a voluntary service program in Germany that allows individuals to engage in social and cultural activities for the benefit of society.
Who is eligible to participate in the Bundesfreiwilligendienst?
Anyone over the age of 16 can participate in the program, regardless of nationality or education level.
What is the duration of the Bundesfreiwilligendienst?
The duration of the program is between six and 18 months, depending on the participant’s preferences.
What types of organizations can participate in the Bundesfreiwilligendienst?
Organizations that can participate in the program include non-profit organizations, public institutions, and other institutions that provide social or cultural services.
What kind of work can participants do in the Bundesfreiwilligendienst?
Participants can engage in a variety of activities, such as working in care facilities, environmental protection, or cultural institutions.
Is the Bundesfreiwilligendienst paid?
Participants receive a monthly allowance, which covers their expenses during the program, such as food and accommodation.
Are participants required to have knowledge of the German language?
While knowledge of the German language is not required, it is recommended, as many of the activities and interactions during the program will be conducted in German.
Are participants required to have health insurance?
Participants must have health insurance before beginning the program, either through their own insurance or through the program’s insurance policy.
What are the benefits of participating in the Bundesfreiwilligendienst?
Participants can gain valuable work experience, learn new skills, and make connections in the social and cultural sectors. It can also be a meaningful way to give back to society and learn more about German culture and language.
Can participants extend their service beyond the initial duration?
Participants can extend their service beyond the initial duration, but only for a maximum of one year.
The BFD is a valuable opportunity for foreigners in Germany to gain professional experience and improve their job prospects. By participating in this program, individuals can also learn about German culture and make connections with other people in Germany. If you are between the ages of 18 and 26, have completed your secondary education, and are resident in Germany, it is worth considering the BFD as a way to enhance your professional development.
BFD is a great way to gain practical experience in a chosen field, improve language skills and make professional connections. Additionally, the BFD can also be a stepping stone to a permanent job in Germany, as many organizations use it as a way to identify and recruit new talent.
It is important to note that while the BFD is a great opportunity, it is also highly competitive. It is important to research the different organizations offering the BFD and tailor your application accordingly. Additionally, having a good command of the German language will be an advantage when applying for the BFD, as most of the organizations conduct the interview and other communication in German.
- Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth
- German National Agency for Civic Education
- Voluntary Service Overseas (FÖJ) and Professional Volunteer Service (BFD)
Alternatives to BFD in Germany
There are several alternatives to the Bundesfreiwilligendienst (Federal Voluntary Service) that individuals can consider, depending on their interests and goals. One alternative is to participate in a volunteer program abroad, such as through a non-profit organization or a government-sponsored program. These programs allow individuals to engage in social and cultural activities in a different country, often while living with a host family or in a shared living arrangement.
Another alternative is the Freiwilliges Soziales Jahr (Voluntary Social Year or FSJ), which is a one-year program that allows individuals to work in social institutions, such as schools, hospitals, or care homes. This program provides an opportunity to gain practical work experience, learn new skills, and contribute to society.
Similarly, the Freiwilliges Ökologisches Jahr (Voluntary Ecological Year or FÖJ) allows individuals to engage in environmental conservation activities, such as nature conservation, organic farming, or environmental education. This program provides an opportunity to develop an understanding of ecological issues and to contribute to the protection of the environment.
For those interested in pursuing higher education, one alternative to the Bundesfreiwilligendienst is to study at a university or college. This provides an opportunity to gain a formal education in a specific field or industry, which can lead to a range of career opportunities in the future. Additionally, some universities offer dual study programs, which combine academic coursework with practical work experience in a specific industry.