Work and Travel in Germany

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VOLUNTEER AND PAID WORK OPPORTUNITIES IN GERMANY FOR TRAVELLERS

Germany is not only a fairytale landscape of castles, dark forests, and sloshing steins of beer. It also happens to be one of the most dynamic economies in the international market, giving working travellers a wide range of job opportunities as a foreigner. Diverse and fast-paced, Germany above all other European countries is known to be super friendly towards backpackers and ex-pats.

Germany’s diversity creates a variety of work and travel opportunities, which means you likely have at least one skill that can be matched to a prospective host. Here are a few examples, and read on below to find out even more about working and traveller in this jewel in Europe’s crown.

1. Work in a Bar or Club in Berlin

Berlin is the capital, the most visited tourist centre in the country, and therefore the best starting point to begin your work and travel adventure in Germany. It isn’t necessary to have a handle on speaking German in Berlin, and your native English skills will be an asset towards getting hired in one of the many bars, clubs, or entertainment venues catering to nightlife tourists. Bartender, server, bouncer - if you’ve gone through the process of getting a working visa you will certainly get paid a living wage working in one of these venues.

2. Restoration Projects in the countryside

Germans are committed to ecologically sound methods of restoration, so if you have any knowledge of permaculture, upcycling, or other sustainable forms of restoration, you’ll find plenty of projects looking to fix up old farmhouses, castles, or historic watermills. The German people are generally pretty open to new ideas and concepts, so, likely, you won’t meet much resistance testing out your wild new plan for a solar water heater!

3. Au Pair/Childcare

Many German couples both work full-time while raising their children, so they often need to hire live-in aid to help with daily chores, pet care, and child-rearing. This is where your skills in teaching English or experience in the hospitality industry will come to good use.

VOLUNTEER WORK VISA / PERMIT REQUIREMENTS FOR GERMANY

Sweden is part of the European Union (EU) and part of the Schengen Zone. That means your Schengen visa will apply to the whole of the area. You can spend a total of 90 days in the entire area before having to leave for a minimum of 90 days. This applies to all nationalities, apart from residents of the EU, who can stay and work indefinitely.

British Citizens, North Americans, the Japanese, South Koreans, Australians, and Kiwis can obtain this visa for free when they arrive. However, Russians and South Africans have to apply for a Schengen visa in advance.

SEASONAL BACKPACKER SKILLS NEEDED IN GERMANY

SPRING WORK

Farms, especially organic and small-holding farms, are very common in Germany these days. You can almost immediately find volunteer roles to fill in early spring on farms looking for general or specific help with vegetables or animals. Mending fences, planting nut trees, painting outbuildings, repairing tables and chairs - these are all skills that can be put to use when farms are starting up in spring.

SUMMER JOBS

Most German families go on longer-term vacations during the summer months, so this is the high season for au pairing and childcare. Wages tend to be slightly lower, but accommodation and food are usually included as au pairs live with host families, looking after the children and perform basic domestic duties such as cleaning, so your wage can go towards saving up for your next adventure.

Summer is the time to snap up the fruit harvest roles, which will often continue into the beginning of the autumn.

AUTUMN

Germany is rife with universities, so autumn is the time to head to the student-centred cities such as Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich, and Leipzig. You can find work in cafes, bars, clubs, or retail shops, and since most young urban people in Germany speak English, you can also spend the time practising and improving your German language skills. It’s even worth it to look into working for some universities themselves, since vacancies for dorm cleaners or cafeteria workers will be at their highest in autumn.

WINTER

Like many central and northern European countries, Germans have plenty of ski resorts, which cater to backpackers looking to fill cleaning, cooking, and ski instructor roles. Head to Bavaria in late autumn or early winter to get the choice positions. 

Historic architecture tourism doesn’t slow down much in Germany during the winter, so you can either find hospitality work or stay on in areas with historic castles, as many couples like to travel here during the holiday season or around Valentine’s Day for romantic getaways.

ATTITUDE TO FOREIGNERS WORKING OR VOLUNTEERING IN GERMANY

As mentioned earlier, Germany has emerged from its dark past as one of the most progressive and diverse countries in the world, so you should have zero problems being accepted as a foreigner looking to work and travel here, even in the rural regions. 

Add this to the high English literacy rate, and you’ll find that Germany is one of the best places in the world for a skilled backpacker.

So, you’ve read through this all, how about you now start to get ready to work and travel in Germany?

Recent Contributors

  • Edited on Jun 7 2021 by Lily

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