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Voluntary Social Year (FSJ)

For young people who are about to end their education, thinking about career choices becomes important. Many do not have clear ideas of their career wishes and would first like to try out different things or try out an internship before deciding what to study at university.

The Voluntary Social Year (FSJ) is aimed at young people aged between 16 and 26 to gain insight into the world of social and nursing careers before beginning an apprenticeship or a university degree. Under the guidance of professionals, volunteers can try out and decide whether a career in the social sector suits their interests. The Voluntary Social Year is an educational year of orientation and may be recognised as a pre-internship for certain apprenticeships.

“Every day I learn new things and feel sympathy for the fate of humans”

When asked what the point of a FSJ is, our volunteers answered with the following: development of character, financial and personal independence, re-evaluation of a career choice, meeting new people, developing more self-confidence, more sense of responsibility or being able to set boundaries.

Our Video for the Voluntary Social Year

„A Voluntary Social Year is like...“ This is the heading of the FSJ video. For every volunteer the social year is something different, has a different meaning. Some of the ijgd volunteers from Brandenburg talk to us about their experiences, backgrounds and perspectives.

Have a look at the video (in Germany only) and you will learn a lot about the Voluntary Social Year.

Details concerning the FSJ in the different states on the websites (in German only)

The ijgd also offer the Voluntary Social Year in the following states:

  • Brandenburg
  • Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania

General information

The ijgd has been organising the FSJ in some federal states for the association "Deutscher Paritätischer Wohlfahrtsverband" since 1983. Annually, we send about 2000 volunteers to deployment sites in the social and nursing sector. In North Rhine-Westphalia interested foreigners from within European can also take part in a FSJ (for more information please contact the ijgd office in Bonn).

Volunteers take over additional tasks as the primary care is the responsibility of the regular staff. The FSJ is usually 12 months long and is a full-time employment with 26 days off. Volunteers receive an allowance and meals or money for meals; depending on the local conditions, accommodation can also be received or a subsidy for rent. Five week-long education seminars that form an inherent part of the FSJ take place during the 12 months of the FSJ.