Please sign in to post.

Volunteering in Germany and Austria

Aloha from Hawaii.
I am planning a Rick Steve's tour for June-July 2022. I'll be in Munich, Saltzburg, and Vienna on an 8 day trip. I'd like to give back to my host countries before I return to the USA. Any suggestions much appreciated.

Posted by
4863 posts

Are families or individuals providing you lodging, or what is the host’s relationship to you in your volunteer situation? And is your volunteering related to the Rick Steves tour? As you posted separate questions in both Germany and Austria categories, do you anticipate different arrangements in each place?

Posted by
3337 posts

This is a difficult question for strangers to answer. First, we have no idea what type of volunteer position you are looking for. I feel like what you want to know is if anyone is aware of volunteer opportunities in these countries?

Posted by
5643 posts

Nice thought, but my impression is that volunteer organizations prefer longer-term volunteers to maximize the use of their training time. Make a cash donation to a group you think is doing good work ?

Posted by
4290 posts

Volunteering is not really a thing in Austria, especially for a few hours. The government frowns on it as it is seen as taking a paying job from someone. Just spend your money - that’s enough. I say this as a former professional volunteer coordinator in the US.

Posted by
738 posts

There are lots of opportunities to volunteer in Germany, but we would need some more information from you to understand what you are looking for:

The most important question being, how much time do you have? Are you going to be in Europe only for those 8 days, or are you planning to extend your stay? If it's only those 8 days, I'll say quite frankly: Enjoy your tour! You won't have time for anything else.

If you are planning to extend your stay, let us know what kind of volunteer work you are interested in. You may also have to find out about your visa. Not sure if a tourist visa will allow you to stay for a volunteer job.

Posted by
134 posts

I love the sentiment about giving back. Since both are well-off countries where one would not necessarily pop into an orphanage for a day to help with laundry, I can think of a few ways you can give back. The first is simple--be a good traveler. Spend your money on local businesses, interact with locals, learn how things are done here, leave a good impression of Americans. Maybe pick up the stray piece of trash if you are really ambitious. Mostly enjoy your time with us, and use it to contribute to international / global mindsets and cultural exchange. Share your experience with others--your home experience with locals and your German/Austrian experiences with your circle back home.

The next is to volunteer or donate to organisations that work with a global cause, the most common being environmentalism.

Posted by
738 posts

Those are great ideas. Talk about "giving back" and environmentalism, you might consider giving back to the earth what your carbon footprint during that trip has been. There are organizations like Atmosfair where you can calculate how much CO2 you have used and how much is required to compensate for that. It's a reliable and accredited organization that is recommended by consumer organizations for that purpose.

P.S. And no, I don't work for them, and I am not receiving any commission. :-)

Posted by
2539 posts

If you have time in Salzburg, visit the Panoramabar at the top of the city library (Stadt:Bibiothek). It's a cafe with great views of the city and, in the distance, the fortress). The cafe's workers are primarily adults with developmental disabilities who are being taught to work in the food industry. You get great views and support a great service to the Salzburg community. (Caution: you need a little basic German to speak with the servers [and to read the menu]; don't expect English speakers).