Everyday life in Germany

Once you’ve arrived in Germany, you’ll have some time to get used to the new routine and get to know your place of assignment and the people who’ll be looking after you there.

Group photo showing volunteers and their host families in a garden. They all have their arms up in the air.
Barbecue with a host family

Once you’ve arrived in Germany, you’ll be given time to find your feet, settle in and get accustomed to your accommodation, the local surroundings, typical features of the country you’re in and safety aspects. Often, you’ll have visa and registration matters to sort out too. You’ll also meet your designated contacts at your host organisation and your place of assignment.

It’s not possible to cover everything here and a lot of things are difficult to grasp until you’ve experienced them yourself. So your time with weltwärts will be full of surprises and you’ll often need to be flexible and resourceful. But most situations can be managed with the right amount of openness, courage and patience.

Photo of a group of volunteers in the snow-topped Alps
On top of the world - All volunteers are entitled to holiday leave


What is a typical working day like for volunteers? You can get an idea here.

What you need to know...

Your work plan

Usually, you won’t find out exactly what you’ll be doing until you arrive at the place of assignment. Your colleagues will give you an introduction to the project, getting to know you in the process. This often provides a good idea of volunteers’ interests and experience, which can then be taken into account when tasks are assigned. You decide together precisely what you are to do and you draw up a work plan together too. If there is an overlap between your period of assignment and that of your predecessor, he or she can relate their experiences to you in person and do a direct handover.

Working hours and holiday leave

Your voluntary service is a full-time assignment and your working hours are based on the requirements of the place of assignment. If you take language lessons, they may also be counted as work time and you will thus have fewer working hours in your place of assignment at the beginning. Some projects require you to work at the weekends or in the evening. You are entitled to at least 24 days of holiday leave per year.

Accommodation and meals

You will receive an allowance and be provided with free accommodation and meals of a standard typical for your country of assignment. Various forms of accommodation are possible depending on the local situation. It may be a room with a host family, a room at an establishment run by your place of assignment (e.g. in a children’s home or at a university) or shared accommodation with other volunteers. There will be many instances where you’ll have to adapt, for example at mealtimes, when shopping, washing or cooking but also when it comes to social behaviour like going out in the evening or communication with others.

Your mentor in Germany

To ensure comprehensive support, your host organisation will assign you a mentor. This person does not work in your immediate working environment, which means they are impartial and are not your manager. Your mentor will live locally, be easy for you to contact and will help familiarise you with your new surroundings.

In addition, there will be a designated contact for you at your place of assignment who will show and explain everything to you. They will help you, especially at the beginning, with any questions you have about your place of assignment.

Where to get help

There are several places you can turn to if you have questions that need answering:

  • Your host organisation in Germany. You can contact them about any topic. They’ll deal with your questions and can put you in touch with someone who can help.
  • Your designated contact on the project. He/she can answer any questions you have about your actual assignment.
  • Your mentor can advise you on any questions or difficulties you face in your day-to-day life.
  • Your sending organisation in your home country.
  • The weltwärts Coordination Unit. You can contact them at

Volunteer reports

Your sending and host organisations will ask you to submit periodic reports about your voluntary service. They can take the form of written texts or, for example, videos or a blog. The reports give your sending organisation an idea of your day-to-day life in Germany but, in particular, they are intended for you as a way of reflecting on your learning process. Your reports are also made available to the German organisation, enabling it to align its support with your needs based on your everyday experiences and challenges.

Playing an active role in your home country

What happens after voluntary service? Getting involved in civic engagement in your home country