Voluntary Ecological Year

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The Voluntary Ecological Year in Germany ("Freiwilliges Ökologisches Jahr, FÖJ") is an educational and orientation year for teenagers and young adults of ages 16 through 27.

The FÖJ usually lasts 12 months (from 1st of August to 31st of July of the following year).

The scheme is open to people interested in experiencing German culture for one year and work in an NGO in Germany.

Furthermore the FÖJ is a good opportunity to find or confirm your career. The year gives you the chance to contemplate your ideas and have new experiences.

You will live in a host family nearby your working place and live on a small monthly stipend.

For your work, you will receive a pocket money, full social insurance and 26 days holiday. Possibly you will also receive free boarding and lodging or a food and accommodation allowance.

FÖJ for foreign participants

Guests from foreign countries are very welcome in the FÖJ!

Organisations, in which an FÖJ can be served, are normally focused on environmental issues.

Similar to FÖJ, Voluntary Social Year in Germany (Freiwilliges Soziales Jahr - FSJ) is a voluntary service that lasts between 6-18 months. Organisations, in which an FSJ can be served, are normally focused on young people and children, cultural or political issues.

The FSJ/FÖJ are both financed and realized by the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, the federal states and several agencies.

For people interested in culture, have the possibility to serve a FSJ-Kultur - a voluntary year dedicated to cultural topics and cultural education. Furthermore, the FSJ can be specialised in sports, politics and preservation of monuments.

Voluntary Ecological Year - Requirements

If you apply you should match the following criteria:

  • Aged between 18 and 27 years
  • Be generally healthy and fit
  • Fluent knowledge of the English language
  • Be motivated to learn the German language
  • Be able to take responsibility and work on your own command
  • Be interested in cultural exchange
  • You must return back home after the year and share your experiences with others

    Voluntary Ecological Year - What to expect

  • All travel expenses are paid for you
  • Help to apply for a visa and cover the fees
  • A monthly stipend in Euro
  • Your accommodation in a host family

    Voluntary Ecological Year - Application

    Download and fill out the application form. Attach a CV and copies of relevant certificates, i.e. your educational achievements, former work experience and any other volunteer activities. V There are two German organisations, which are specialised on so called reverse services and invite foreign volunteers to Germany: SoFiA e.V. - Soziale Friedensdienste im Ausland and Internationaler Bund Kassel.

    For more information and application, see: Voluntary Ecological Year

    Also see:

  • Voluntary Ecological Year at The Müritz National Park Authority Organisations specialised on reverse services and invite foreign volunteers to Germany:
  • SoFiA e.V. - Soziale Friedensdienste im Ausland
  • Internationaler Bund Kassel A list of all accredited organisations for FSJ/FÖJ can be obtained at
  • www.bmfsfj.de/fsj-foej-anlaufstellen.pdf
  • Voluntary Social Year/ Voluntary Ecological Year
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