FAQ - All you need to know about the FSJ
The ijgd offer the Voluntary Social Year in the states of Berlin, Brandenburg, Hamburg, Lower Saxony, North-Rhine Westphalia, Saxony-Anhalt and Schleswig Holstein. You can register with us in our ijgd office.
The Voluntary Social Year usually begins on the 1st of August or the 1st of September of every year.
Like the name of the Voluntary Social Year indicates, it usually lasts 12 months. Due to important issues such as a training or university spot, it can also be shortened in agreement with the deployment site. If you receive a training or study spot in a university during your time in the Voluntary Social Year, you can cancel your spot.
For those who are interested in giving their personality a chance to develop and simultaneously would like to collect work experience, they will surely require more than just a couple of months. And those who would like to support other people in their day-to-day lives should also know that building a beneficial relationship also takes its time.
Young people between 16 and 26 years old.
The Voluntary Social Year
In all deployment sites that we work with. Whoever applies for a Voluntary Social Year with us will receive addresses of deployment sites. Click here for an overview of the different working ranges.
If you know of an institution in your area, you can also ask them if they would like to become one of our deployment sites. For this purpose they would need to meet certain standards. For more information the institution should contact us directly via telephone.
Your working schedule is in accordance with the full-time employees of the respective deployment site, usually 39 hours a week. Depending on the deployment site, it can also happen that you would have to work on weekends or do shift work (early or late shift).
The Voluntary Social Year is not a regular employment contract, meaning that you do not receive an income. However „voluntary“ does not mean that you will work entirely without remuneration, instead you will receive a monthly pocket money and a food allowance. Normally, a right to receive child benefits is maintained during the FSJ (unless you have a very lucrative side job and your annual income exceeds a certain amount).
A twelve month long Voluntary Social Year means that you have the right to receive 26 days off work. This applies to a five day working week. When it comes to shift or weekend work this will vary respectively. At least every 14 days you will receive a weekend off.
Accommodation and catering:
Most volunteers still live with their parents. However, there are also deployments sites that can allocate accommodation for you. However, this is a voluntary option on behalf of the deployment site.
Travel expenses to your place of work can not be refunded. Travel expenses however to and from the seminars will be financed by us. Some transport associations allow you to receive discounted monthly travel tickets with the FSJ card.
The Voluntary Social Year is an employment in the scope of national insurance, meaning that you will receive full medical insurance, nursing care insurance, accident insurance and pension insurance, but do not need to pay for this as a voluntary FSJ member. After one year additionally you will be eligible for ALG (unemployment benefit).
There is in fact only one requirement: you must have completed your compulsory schooling and must not be over 27 years old. Other than that there are no additional requirements. Of course we expect you to be open to working with children/youth, or old, sick people or people with disabilities and that you enjoy spending your time volunteering.
Please note that a Voluntary Social Year usually begins between August and September of each year. Other starting dates must be discussed with the respective office. And remember: The later you apply in the year, the harder it will be for you to find your „dream position“. A general application date does not exist, however when all posts are filled, we will not be able to refer you anymore.
Online form. Elaborate applications in transparent pockets or loose-leaf binders are not necessary.
The Voluntary Social Year can come in handy when you later apply for a study or training programme. It will not only look good on your CV, but can also have an impact on your chance to receive a place at university. Those applying for a place at university via the ZVS (the central office for the allocation of study places), can have the Voluntary Social Year recognised as a waiting period for a university place. Additionally the social year is recognised in most cases as a pre-internship for a degree course in the social field. Whether this is the case at your university should be clarified in advance. A Voluntary Social Year is a great opportunity to find out if the social field is a career choice suited to your interests.
Will I also profit from the Voluntary Social Year if I do not decide to do something „social“ afterwards? That depends on what you consider a „profit“ to be: A Voluntary Social Year will definitely look good on your CV. It is also very likely that your future employer will be happy to know that you are able to reliably work a full-time job for a year.
For many former FSJ volunteers it is an important feeling that they have done something useful or good – there are however also other reasons: bridging the waiting time, recovering after a stressful learning period at school before continuing to study at university. And don't forget: the personal experiences and competencies acquired through the social year are remarkable.