Looking to do a BFD in Germany but don’t know where to start? Check out this post for a step-by-step guide on what Americans need to know about the BFD in Germany.
As an Au pair in Germany, I’ve been researching the many different ways foreigners are able to stay in Deutschland after their Au pair year. One of those ways includes doing a BFD in Germany which is something that’s not so common in the U.S.
So, if you’re coming to the end of your Au pair stay and you’re thinking about doing a BFD, you’ve come to the right place! This post breaks down everything you need to know about a BFD in Germany as well as how to find one.
Au Pair in Germany Series
P.S. This is a post in my Au Pair in Germany series. Here is the complete series:
Au Pair Origin and History: What is an Au Pair: The Origin and History
Au Pair Tasks: What Does an Au Pair Do: Au Pair Tasks
Au Pair Agencies: The 7 Best Au Pair Agencies for Americans
German Language Learning Apps: The 10 Best Apps for German Learning as an Au Pair
Au Pair Guide: How to Become an Au Pair in Germany
Au Pair Visa: Au Pair Visa Germany: Requirements for Americans
Au Pair vs. Nanny: Au Pair vs. Nanny: What is the Difference?
Au Pair Salary: German Au Pair Salary: What to Expect
Au Pair Rematch: The Top 10 Reasons Why Au Pairs Rematch
Au Pair Driving: The Au Pair Guide to Driving in Germany
German A1 Exam: How To Pass Your German A1 Test To Become An Au Pair
Host Family Interview: Here Are 100 Host Family Interview Questions You Need To Ask
Host Family Red Flags: 10 Host Family Red Flags You Should Watch Out For
Packing List: Au Pair Packing List: Germany Edition
What is a BFD?
An BFD or Bundesfreiwilligendienst is a federal volunteer service program that provides young people with the opportunity to engage in various fields of social work. The purpose of the service program is to give young people from other countries a chance to live and work in Germany. Many individuals usually take advantage of this program when they want to take a career break or reorient themselves professionally. In fact, high school graduates can also use the program as a gap year between high school and university.
What are the basic requirements for a BFD in Germany?
To be eligible to do a BFD in Germany, you must meet some specific requirements:
- Must be at least 16 years old to participate in the program
- Must have a valid resident permit if you are a non-EU citizen
- Must be physically and mentally healthy to participate in the program
- Depending on the organization you may need to meet a certain level of education
- Must have a clean criminal record and be able to provide a police clearance certificate
- Must have a working knowledge of German that starts from A2 proficiency or above
What are the different types of fields of work for a BFD in Germany?
There are many different types of fields of work volunteers can choose from for a BFD in Germany. These fields of work include:
- Social Work: through this field of work volunteers are able to work with children, youth or seniors and do tasks that may involve providing companionship or organizing different activities
- Healthcare: through this field of work volunteers are able to work in hospitals, nursing homes or other healthcare facilities and do tasks that may involve providing patient care or organizing different health promotion events
- Education: through this field of work volunteers are able to work in schools or other educational institutions and do tasks that may include assisting teachers or organizing different extracurricular activities
- Sports: through this field of work volunteers can work at sport clubs or any other organization related to physical activity and do tasks that may include coaching sport teams or organizing different sporting events
- Culture/Arts: through this field of work volunteers can work at museums, theaters or other cultural institutions and do tasks that may include leading guided tours or organizing different cultural events
- Environmental Conservation: through this field of work volunteers can work with organizations that are dedicated to preserving natural habitats and do tasks that may include conducting environmental research or organizing different environmental events
What are the benefits of doing a BFD in Germany?
There are many benefits to doing a BFD in Germany as a volunteer. These benefits include:
- Networking: through BFD volunteers are able to build a network of contacts through their field of work which can be helpful once they start looking for a permanent full-time job
- Training: through BFD volunteers are provided opportunities to train in their field of work in order to develop their skills in that area.
- Personal Growth: through BFD volunteers have the opportunity to grow personally by engaging in social work that helps others
- Experience: through BFD volunteers gain valuable experience in their field of work while leaving a positive impact on German society
- Language Skills: through BFD volunteers have the opportunity to practice their German speaking skills in a more practical setting
- Health Insurance: through BFD volunteers are given health insurance that covers any medical expenses that may occur during the program
- Purpose: through BFD volunteers are given a purpose that allows them to make a difference in someone else’s life as well as to the well-being of others in need
How do I find and apply for a BFD in Germany?
Finding a BFD in Germany is pretty similar to finding any other job in the U.S. You just have to go through some online job boards to see what’s available or go to the host organization’s website. These host organizations include but are not limited to: Arbeiterwohlfahrt, German Red Cross, Caritas, and Diakonie.
In fact, the Arbeitsagentur.de, is another website you can check out where you can use search filters to find the right BFD for you. Make It In Germany is also another option if you just search “BFD” or “Bundesfreiwilligendienst” in their search bar. All in all, it’s best to explore all your options when you’re trying to find a perfect match.
Furthermore, when it comes to applying for a BFD, the application process involves a written application that includes a CV, and a motivational letter in addition to references. You may even be asked to undergo a medical examination depending on the program.
Once that application is submitted, if the organization likes what they see, they may invite you to an interview to assess your suitability for the BFD program. If after the interview you are accepted into the program, you’ll receive a placement offer from the BFD sponsoring organization. Afterwards, they’ll need to send over a contract to you prior to applying for a resident permit in Germany that outlines the terms and conditions of the program. Once that’s all set and done, you’ll be well on your way to start.
How much are volunteers paid for a BFD in Germany?
Volunteers can expect to be paid around 150-426 euros to do a BFD in Germany. This however is entirely dependent on the age of the individual as well as the duration of the service. In addition, some organizations may decide for themselves how much they feel comfortable paying you for your service but you can always expect accommodation and meals to be included.
How long is a BFD in Germany?
The average length of a BFD in Germany varies between 6-18 months. The program can even be repeated as often as you’d like but it entirely depends on your situation and the organization.
What happens after completing a BFD in Germany?
After completing a BFD in Germany, participants are able to choose from the following options:
- Higher Education: after completing a BFD, participants have the option to undergo higher education at a German university for their field of work
- Permanent Employment: after completing a BFD, participants are also able to explore other job opportunities that may lead to permanent employment in Germany
- Apprenticeship: after completing a BFD, participants can also undertake an Ausbildung for more work experience and job-specific skills
- Entrepreneurship: after completing a BFD, participants are even welcome to start their own businesses in Germany with the help of government programs and business associations
Overall, I really hope you enjoyed reading this post on everything you need to know about doing a BFD in Germany as an American. Please let me know in the comments down below which fact about it surprised you the most. I would love to hear from you! 🙂