Work and travel programs are not only a great way to explore without a big budget, they're also an ideal opportunity to interact with locals and get more immersed in the community. Germany offers many interesting options for those with lots of time and not a lot of money to spend.
What types of work and travel programs are available in Germany?
One of the most common ways to come to Germany on a short-term basis and work is as an au pair. Au pairs have the benefit of getting to know German culture within a family setting. They take care of the children and generally receive free room and board plus some pocket money. Many agencies offer help with visas, finding and vetting a host family, and providing in-country support.
Interested in farming?
Kevin Buffet decided to travel through Germany as a WWOOFer. World-Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (otherwise known as WWOOF) links volunteers who are willing to work for room and board with organic farmers and growers who welcome the travelers as a way to promote educational and cultural exchange.
The 28-year-old Dubliner was working as an engineer in renewable energy when he decided to hit the road and do some farming. He says he'd have his own garden for awhile and wanted to see what other people do. Kevin turned it into a cycling trip, taking the ferry from Ireland to England, continuing on through Wales, the Netherlands and finally Germany.
“The work is quite varied,” Kevin says. “I was herding goats at the last place, and making goat cheese and hay. At another farm, I built beehives.”
Kevin says the application process was really easy. It took about a half an hour for him to write his profile. Once he received the information on all of the possible placements, he says there were almost too many options.
So far, he's had great experiences. Kevin usually stays about 10 days and sometimes up to two weeks if he gets going on a good project. The hosts have all been really interesting people, he says. They are interested in food and living well and look forward to the cultural exchange too.
“One of the places I worked was a sheep farm. They didn't need so much help, but they didn't have the chance to travel so they invited people to come to them,” he says.
Looking for more options?
Don't let finances be an obstacle to wanderlust!