Is life just a learning experience
Our volunteer services are made for you. With the large variety of sponsoring organizations, we offer a worldwide network of countries and locations with an innumerable number of different activities and languages. Whatever you are looking for, you will find it with one of us.
The right sponsoring organization is just as important as the search for the “right” place of work. Each sponsor has its own program with its own profile, and yet we have a lot in common when it comes to our attitude and our general conditions.
We offer learning services.
Those who want to do a voluntary service abroad often receive a lot of encouragement: do something good and meaningful, get to know another culture, learn a (new) language, see something of the world ... That's all right. But our focus is elsewhere, namely with you and your very personal learning experiences.
We see you in your voluntary service not primarily as a helper, but as a learner. You learn something about the country you are going to, you learn from the people with whom you will live - but above all you learn not just a little, but a lot about yourself. Voluntary service is a risk, it is full of things Surprises, challenges, enchanting and irritating experiences, secrets and precious treasures.
You will not only be "just" for a short time in your country of assignment and at "your" place, but you will live there. A voluntary service does not offer any “stations” that you can walk through and take with you. Voluntary service challenges and invites you as a whole person to set off and get ready for experiences that can accompany and shape you throughout your life. Perhaps you will understand a little why we put you as a person at the center of our volunteer services. Not only because we have a large repertoire of job opportunities, but also because we support you individually in your voluntary service, our services are tailored to you. You can read about how this can look in concrete terms in the testimonials from former volunteers on our website.
Because the focus of our services is on the personal development of the volunteers, most supporting organizations can only offer volunteer services abroad for people between 18 and 26 years of age (upon departure). The funding programs also only apply to this phase of life. If you are already older, it is still worth contacting the sponsoring organizations, as it is possible for some sponsors not to limit themselves to this age range.
Learning in the voluntary service is by no means limited to your personality, but also includes completely different facets that are part of our holistic educational mission. Living on site in particular automatically leads to social learning based on solidarity, especially since the vast majority of our volunteers' fields of work deal with people on the fringes of society. The aspect of learning from others often becomes an issue in the run-up to departure, when you are prepared for your service together with a group of other volunteers in seminars.
After all, political, in particular development issues, also play a special role during the voluntary service. Many sponsoring organizations deal intensively with questions of global justice and sustainability. In addition, dealing with perspectives critical of racism and power and related issues is an important part of many organizations.
We offer intensively accompanied volunteer services.
You are not alone with the formative experiences in your voluntary service. The people in your supporting organization are your companions from the moment you have decided in favor of each other. This means that, on the one hand, you will be supported with all organizational questions and tasks and, of course, you will also learn everything important about your place of assignment. Often, former volunteers who were previously on your assignment site are also available as contact persons. On the other hand, your sponsoring organization prepares you personally and in terms of content for your voluntary service. This usually takes place in one or more seminars lasting several days, in which you and many other prospective volunteers are best prepared for your service. In the seminars it is z. B. about intercultural communication, about dealing with poverty and wealth, about your roles as a volunteer, about your resources and your limits, about possible challenges in your voluntary service and much more. As a supporter from the Catholic context, we can also deal with questions of faith and the local and universal Church. Of course, practical things are also clarified, questions about language, visas, pocket money, medical and safety-related questions or packing lists. You can read here how a ministry works as a whole.
It is important to us to be by your side in your voluntary service. The preparation for the service is an elementary basis for this. We or your sponsoring organization get to know you well before you actually get on the plane - and vice versa, of course! We build a relationship of trust with you, especially (but not only) in the event that things don't go that way abroad. We are at your disposal for all your questions, concerns and worries. We see you as an adult who is responsible for yourself, and we want to support you in this. You will be able to rely on us, and we will do a lot to let you grow and mature. In this way, we will keep in regular contact with you during your voluntary service abroad.
Besides, we are not alone. Without exception, there is a fixed contact person in each of our hundreds of deployment locations, with whom your sponsoring organization has often maintained a good partnership for many years. Our local partners are experts in accompanying you in your service. Year after year they take in volunteers with great hospitality, and it is often only through our partners that our voluntary services run so positively.
We offer long-term volunteer services.
Most voluntary services abroad are designed to last around 1 year. In detail you will also find shorter or longer offers, but there are good reasons why many of us commit ourselves to the annual service.
If you really and concretely imagine traveling to a distant (or not so distant) country, you probably already have an idea that in the beginning a lot, if not everything, has a different effect. “Different” often means foreign, “different” can be exciting, irritating, fascinating. It definitely takes time for one's feelings and moods to normalize a little. Before something like everyday life actually sets in after a period of getting used to it, it almost always takes many weeks or even a few months. Only then, when half the time is "over", do many volunteers have the feeling that they have arrived. You have got to know your work context, become accustomed to the language, made your first friendships, maybe lived through two or three crises or conflicts, in short: you have found your place and are slowly but surely “there”. Often in the second half of the year, what a voluntary service abroad is all about occurs: to live with the local people, to feel comfortable with yourself in this place, which was so different in the beginning and has now become a second home. Of course, there is no guarantee that this will be the case, and exciting experiences can be gained abroad even in a few weeks or months. Eventually z. B. a work camp or participation in an international (youth) encounter is right for you.
Due to our many years of practice with thousands of volunteers, we are sure that only a longer-term service is an actual interruption of the previous life and enables those experiences that are deeply moving and have a lasting effect. In addition, we also think of our partners and the many people our volunteers meet on a daily basis. They too only have the opportunity to benefit from volunteers if they are there for a long period of time. This is all the more true when you consider that familiarization (as a rule of untrained young Germans) in a different linguistic and cultural environment can take a long time. We deliberately differentiate ourselves from providers of short-term stays abroad, especially since they - in contrast to us - often pursue a commercial interest.
We offer security, financial transparency and organizational support.
Whatever happens in your voluntary service ... The most important thing for us is that you come back healthy - in body and soul. That is why the topic of safety is very important to us, and each sponsoring organization takes many different measures to ensure that nothing happens to you during your voluntary service.
Your porter will discuss all possible safety-related information and questions as you prepare for your service. Because there are definitely special risks and dangers that exist with a long-term stay abroad. It is all the more important to us to use our expertise, because almost all risks and dangers can be adequately countered with the right behavior. Each organization has its own crisis and emergency management that meets high quality standards. Together with our partners and with many other organizations that operate in the context of voluntary service abroad, we have set up a global network that takes effect in all critical situations. Central here is z. B. the protection of the volunteers through a health, accident and liability insurance tailored to the international voluntary service.
As you can read in detail here, all supporting organizations that present themselves here are approved for one or more state funding programs. On the one hand, this shows that we are recognized by the state as civil society, non-profit actors and that we deliver quality. On the other hand, we receive public funding through the European Voluntary Service (EVS), weltwärts and International Youth Voluntary Service (IJFD) funding programs with which we can finance our voluntary services. One aspect that is certainly relevant for you is that there are no high costs for you as a volunteer. Accommodation and meals are provided on site, and you even receive monthly pocket money.
We don't want to put together an all-round carefree package for you, because it is important to us that you realize that the main responsibility for the voluntary service lies with you. We want to take you seriously and trust you. Nevertheless, in addition to ensuring financial security, all porters take care of a basic framework in which you can regulate everything that is necessary for the departure, well accompanied - and that is not exactly a small amount.
In particular, when obtaining the right visa and / or for other legal residence requirements, you may need support. You will not be left alone with the journey and especially with the flight booking. You probably need z. B. also certificates for the health and family benefits. Your supporting organization is there for all of this. Some sponsoring organizations also invite parents to prepare them for the changes that volunteering abroad also means for them. As you can see, you are anything but alone with your trip abroad if you are looking for a good porter. We receive you in a differentiated and trustworthy network and create the framework that you individually need for your voluntary service.
We are professional and offer quality.
Perhaps you have not even thought about many things that you can read here and that we see in connection with a voluntary service abroad. We clearly feel it is our responsibility to think carefully and far-reaching about all aspects of the voluntary service. For us, this professional attitude includes: B. also to inform yourself transparently about all relevant aspects - especially the challenges. An example of this is that we find it important to get to know you before we select you for a voluntary service; This is the only way we can live up to our responsibility towards each and every individual.
Our accumulated experience from several decades of volunteering abroad helps us a lot in maintaining our high quality standards. We have imposed a quality system on ourselves, against which we regularly measure and review our work. But that's not all: for a number of years we have also been tested by a completely independent and state-approved institute. We all therefore carry the RAL quality mark International Voluntary Service - Outgoing, which is checked and awarded every two years and confirms our high quality.
During a calendar year, many of our supporting organizations meet several times for a collegial exchange and mutual advice. This networking, which we have cultivated for years in the Catholic context, is extremely important to us. This is the only way for us as a single sponsoring organization to think outside the box and to improve our day-to-day work further. We have established structures that we can rely on. B. is of the highest relevance in crisis situations.
Basically, we see our diversity of sponsors as a great asset, from which the individual volunteer can also benefit enormously. As mentioned at the beginning, we are very sure that there is the right place of work and the right carrier for you, your wishes, needs and ideas.
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