The international volunteer programme in Germany currently features 20 volunteer positions. Volunteers from various European and non-European countries, including the USA, Norway, the Netherlands and Israel, as well as from Germany, are offered these positions.
Volunteers in Germany work at memorial sites and in museums; they visit older men and women in Jewish communities and former inmates, support people with disabilities and work for human rights organisations and refugee projects. Most volunteer positions are located in cities. Typically, two or more volunteers work in one place.
Volunteers working under the German programme should be willing to work with people from other countries and they should be interested in other cultures and histories. A good knowledge of German is an important requirement – not just for project work and everyday life, but also for communication within the international volunteer group. Many projects work in the field of historical and political education, and this also requires a good knowledge of German.
From the beginning, ARSP volunteer work has been oriented towards dialogue with people from ARSP’s partner countries. In 1995, ARSP launched the international volunteer programme in Germany. This was a response to many project partners in other countries expressing the wish to be able to send volunteers to Germany.
The international volunteer programme is an exciting experience both for ARSP and for the volunteers. Young women and men from various countries spend one year living, working and learning together. The volunteer seminars provide an opportunity for dialogue on the relevance of the histories of various countries and families. What differences are there in the way histories are remembered here and elsewhere? And how do these histories shape our current relations and actions? Volunteers from abroad find it especially interesting to learn about how the societies in the two German states dealt with the violent experience of National Socialism and how contemporary German discourses of remembrance function. International volunteers bring with them their various perspectives and disrupt the “German monologue” on history; they pose questions, and when they return to their own societies, they inquire into those too.