Here you’ll find answers to the most frequently asked questions.
Even though there are a number of significant differences between the various types of volunteer services, we believe that the most important thing for most applicants and others interested in the program is finding the right coordinating organization and assignment location. At World-Horizon you’ll normally be participating in a Weltwärts program if you are working in Ecuador, Columbia, the Philippines or South Africa and in a IJFD program if you are going to the US. We can fill you in on all the details during one of our selection weekends. You can check the Weltwärts and IJFD websites for more information about the different types of volunteer services. It’s also possible to do a Year of Voluntary Public Service (Freiwilliges Soziales Jahr, FSJ) through World-Horizon, though in practically every case it’s better for you do it through Weltwärts or IJFD.
Weltwärts is an aid program of the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development that promotes youth volunteer services for development projects in so-called developing countries. The volunteers go through a training and educational program aimed at opening doors to a range of opportunities for global learning while also strengthening their motivation to stay involved in developmental and social aid activities once they complete their period of volunteer service. Check the official website for more information.
The International Youth Volunteer Service (Internationale Jugenfreiwilligendienst or IJFD) is an aid program of the German Ministry for Families, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth that promotes youth volunteer services abroad. Volunteers complete a training and educational program that makes it possible for them to gather intercultural, social-political and personal experiences while living in a foreign culture. Check the official website for more information.
All of our assignments abroad are for 12 months and begin sometime between early summer and fall. In addition, there’s also preparation and follow-up phases that total an additional two weeks of seminars as well as preparatory work at World-Horizon in the months prior to leaving for an assignment – though this can be done at home and doesn’t involve more than a couple of hours per week.
Unfortunately not. There are several reasons for this: Frequent changes in personnel do not work to the benefit of the groups targeted by our partner organizations. We also believe it unlikely that the important educational objectives of volunteer service cannot be achieved in less than a year. On the other hand, your return home and reintegration into familiar surroundings is also an important aspect of your assignment. Volunteer service should not serve to promote emigration.
Yes. You may apply for one, several or every assignment location.
Sorry, no. But the two of you are welcome to apply for different locations. It’s important that you be able to integrate yourself fully into your new environment. If you and a friend are together at a location, you’d end up bringing along with you the very thing you should be trying to establish from scratch: a new set of social relationships.
There are a couple: By the time your assignment begins, no later than the fall, you’d need to be at least 18 years old. For assignments in Ecuador, Indonesia, Columbia, the Philippines or South Africa, you cannot be older than 28 at the time you sign a contract and for the US you may be no older than 26 at the time your assignment begins. Also, you will need to have finished school by the time your assignment starts. Those who attended Haupt- or Realschule are required to have also completed a vocational training program or an extended internship or volunteer program. If you are not a German citizen, you must have permanent resident status in Germany.
You should be fluent in German and English. For an assignment in Ecuador or Columbia it is preferable that you be able to speak Spanish as well. If you lack sufficient language skills, you must be willing to complete a language course prior to beginning your assignment.
No. We have designed our individual service packages so that they contain all you’ll need for your assignment. You won’t be able to live in luxury on the stipend you’ll receive, but it’s enough for you to make ends meet. Most volunteers receive childhood allowance payments (Kindergeld) from their parents that they can use as extra spending money.
Our volunteers have a range of different jobs. Fundraising, whether it be from relatives, friends, foundations or businesses, is one of them and also serves as an expression of your commitment. But don’t worry, we’ll help you prepare by providing you with some useful tools and by offering advice and support right on through to the end. But your success (or failure) at fundraising will have no effect on your assignment, your contract or what we provide you.
Yes, but we’re sure you’re going to love our seminars! Prior to your assignment, you’ll spend 10 days together with all the other volunteers at a lodge in the Alps. While there you’ll receive in-depth preparations for your assignment. At the halfway point of your assignment, you’ll join with all the other volunteers from the country or region where you’re assigned for another 10 day seminar, where we’ll assess with you how your assignment is going so far and make plans for the coming months. A couple of weeks after you return to Germany, you’ll get together with all the other volunteers one more time for a five-day post-assignment session.
Yes, you’re entitled to 20 days of vacation.
We only send our volunteers to places where we’d be willing to work ourselves and in which we have worked previously. We are familiar with local circumstances from our own experiences there and know how to evaluate any risks involved. In addition, we work with you intensively to prepare you for your assignment and take extensive precautions for every eventuality. That’s why you’re in safe hands with World-Horizon.