Freiwilliges Soziales Jahr (FSJ) at the FIS

In-House

Since school year 2015/16, it has been a great success at the FIS – the Year of Voluntary Social Service or, to give it its official name, Freiwilliges Soziales Jahr (FSJ), which the FIS offers in collaboration with the Bavarian Red Cross (BRK).

The initiative has existed since 1964, when the Federal Government introduced a law for the promotion of voluntary services, and therefore created the foundation and the framework of the Voluntary Year of Social Service. Over time, it has been enhanced and developed into what we now know under the heading of “Social Services”.

It is a great opportunity for young people to gain experience in various fields, usually in the social or ecological sector, before starting to pursue a professional career. Possible facilities are kindergartens and schools such as the FIS, old or disabled people’s homes, hospitals or environmental stations. Many of the volunteers who apply at the FIS are aspiring to become teachers one day.

There are different options in terms of length of service and age group that social services are aimed at; at the FIS, our volunteers stay for one school year, have graduated school and are aged 17-19. We accept at least two volunteers every school year. They help with various tasks around the school, working in the classrooms and libraries, accompanying field trips and supporting the administrative team in many ways and meanwhile, we could not imagine school life without them anymore.

The FIS and the BRK have enjoyed a close professional relationship for more than seven years. The volunteers who apply are interviewed by both parties, and a final decision is made in mutual agreement. We were very lucky in the past years with our chosen candidates, who did exceptionally well and were an asset to the school, while benefiting themselves in many ways, as the FIS is unique in the diversity of its nature and what it has to offer as an FSJ provider – especially during the pandemic, it gave our volunteers the possibility to experience an international environment and improve their language skills without actually having to go abroad. In addition, the BRK organizes five weeks of workshops throughout the year, during which the volunteers get the opportunity to meet their colleagues from other facilities and learn even more about a variety of topics.

Being their main contact person at the FIS, I have worked closely with our volunteers ever since we started offering the voluntary social year, and it is very rewarding to see them develop and grow throughout their time at the school. Even though they all share a similar experience, each of their journeys is different in their very own way and it is always exciting to find out where it takes them. This year, I have the pleasure of working with Norah Csanádi (19) and Julia Haack (18). Both went to school in Germany and started at the FIS in August 2022. They particularly enjoy working with children, and even in this short amount of time, they have been able to adjust very well to the daily work life at a school and to connect with the community, being very open, motivated and keen to learn.

We are very fond of the program and are confident that we will be able to successfully continue it in the future, giving young people the opportunity to find out what they are best suited for, and at the same time supporting the local community. We are especially proud that our former volunteers still like to visit us and also recommend the school as a great place to spend a year of social service.

We are already accepting applications for the school year 2023/24 – check our website and spread the word! Please get in touch with Verena.Buettner@the-fis.de, our HR Officer.

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