Volunteering

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Photo: @clarktibbs | Unsplash

Alice, 22, volunteer at Kiron OHE

„I decided to volunteer at the NGO "Kiron Open Higher Education" because I saw it as an opportunity to learn from others, to develop new skills and although small, add my positive contribution to society. I think that volunteering is a good way to be exposed to new perspectives. By meeting and working alongside a diverse group of people you challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone.“

In Germany, voluntary work is understood to mean voluntary activities that are not geared towards material gain, are oriented towards the common good, take place outside of work and family and are usually carried out jointly or cooperatively (see definition of the 2019 Volunteer Survey- In German). Honorary positions and volunteer projects make it possible to come together in a unique way, to stand up for one another, to set something up together and to strengthen and shape community and participation for everyone individually and free of economic interests. Volunteering also gives you the opportunity to get to know your personal interests, strengths and weaknesses better, to continue your education and to gain valuable practical experience for studies and work.

Whether as a consultant, team leader, organizational talent, designer, cultural mediator, activist or teacher - volunteering offers a variety of opportunities to apply skills and abilities learned during your studies and at the same time to contribute to cohesion in society.

On this page we want to encourage students to get involved in voluntary work. Here we provide information about volunteering opportunities alongside your studies and introduce contact persons and points of contact, such as university groups, associations and volunteer agencies, to whom interested parties can turn.

Alice, 22, volunteer at Kiron OHE

„I decided to volunteer at the NGO "Kiron Open Higher Education" because I saw it as an opportunity to learn from others, to develop new skills and although small, add my positive contribution to society. I think that volunteering is a good way to be exposed to new perspectives. By meeting and working alongside a diverse group of people you challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone.“

History and facets of voluntary work in Germany

Boyana, 27, volunteer at AIESEC-Germany

„By volunteering at AIESEC-Germany, I understood what I am truly motivated to do and ultimately what I am not interested in doing. Because the effort is not rewarded as in regular work, when volunteering, it is possible to explore one's self. The rewards are unique and personal, and are closely connected to finding the internal motivation and passion shining on one's own perspective.“

Opportunities to volunteer

There are countless volunteer projects and getting started is usually uncomplicated and possible at short notice. Voluntary work can also foster new social contacts, which can also play an important role in individual career and life in the long term.

From A for Amnesty International to U for UPride, the queer university group of the Potsdam University - the diversity of the university groups and student councils at the University of Potsdam shows the plurality of interests and concerns of the students at the University of Potsdam and offers plenty of social and political opportunities in addition to studying or to get involved ecologically. Here is an overview of the university groups at the University of Potsdam (including contact details).

There are also numerous communities, agencies and associations outside the university that arrange volunteer projects.

Here are several that we have chosen:

Boyana, 27, volunteer at AIESEC-Germany

„By volunteering at AIESEC-Germany, I understood what I am truly motivated to do and ultimately what I am not interested in doing. Because the effort is not rewarded as in regular work, when volunteering, it is possible to explore one's self. The rewards are unique and personal, and are closely connected to finding the internal motivation and passion shining on one's own perspective.“

Volunteering Agencies and Portals:

  • At GoVolunteer it is possible to find numerous opportunities to try something new and help communities.
  • Volunteering calls that are listed according to field of expertise and German level can be found via Vostel.
  • Similarly, at United Nations Online Volunteering Portal, it is possible to find online volunteering opportunities worldwide, from English Language teaching and helping write Projects to building websites for NGOs.

Non-Profit Organizations in Berlin and Brandenburg

  • Pangea-Projekt is sourced from the University of Potsdam that aims help persons and pupils that have a refugee background in learning German and their studies.
  • Volunteers of Potsdamer Tafel deliver food to those who need it and save value from being wasted. It is possible to take part with limited knowledge of German.
  • Kiron.ngo is Berlin-Based NGO with a global reach that offers free learning tools for refugees and other underserved communities worldwide to help their academic, professional and personal growth.  
  • Give something Back to Berlin is a community of volunteers, locals, migrants and refugees who appreciate and work on building an open and inclusive society.
  • ReDI School provides immigrants and locals PC and coding courses both at the basic and advanced levels. You can volunteer in many ways – teacher, career-mentor, or translator among other options.

Buddy and Mentoring Programs:

Volunteering Year (Social/Ecological):

A voluntary social or ecological year offers the opportunity to work full-time for an extended period of time in a social, ecological or cultural organization in Germany or abroad. Many use a voluntary year to reorient themselves professionally or to gain practical experience. See for further information: https://www.deutschland.de/en/topic/life/volunteer-programmes-in-germany-at-a-glance

Please see the German version of this page for further volunteering opportunities that may require a more advanced knowledge of the German language.

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Book an Appointment

Feel free to reach out to us! We would happily advise you on topics related to volunteering and professional orientation in Germany.

Want to set the ball rolling yourself?

The Studentenwerk Potsdam supports social and cultural projects by students for students! More information and guidelines for applying for project funding can be found here!


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Campus Am Neuen Palais
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