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FÖJ (Gap Year)

Freiwilliges ökologisches Jahr (environmental oriented “gap year“) at the National Geopark Ries

Every year the National Geopark Ries makes available a position for the recognized German freiwilliges ökologisches Jahr (FÖJ) that is equivalent to a “gap year” between secondary school and higher education.

The FÖJ position is offered to young women and men, under 26 years of age, who have completed their required school education and want to spend a year voluntarily working and learning in the field of nature and environmental protection or education for sustainable development. 

The FÖJ consists of practical work for the National Geopark Ries, located in the District of Donau-Ries in Donauwörth, plus five one-week seminars organized by the responsible body, the Deutschen Katholischen Jugend (BDKJ) (German Catholic Youth).  These seminars serve to facilitate the exchange of experiences, environmental education and to support personal and professional growth and planning.  Instead of adhering to a prepared teaching program, the FÖJ participants should contribute to the themes and concepts of the seminars.   

The scope of the work includes (depending on professional focal point):

  • Familiarization with the special features of the National Geopark Ries
  • Collaboration on projects in sustainable regional development (in particular in the areas of geography / environmental education / tourism)  
  • Assistance with exhibits and trade show stands (preparation, set up, dismantling, attendance)
  • Geotope mapping on site as well as concept development, for example, regarding maintenance, protection and development as adventure and learning site (as needed /seldom)
  • GPS trails recording;  review of nature, bike and hiking trails (as needed /seldom)
  • IT: compilation of statistics, preparation of presentations, administration and research of basic information and data
  • Network maintenance, processing of customer requests, distribution of print materials  
  • Assistance in marketing and public relations, for example, developing concepts and supervising production of printed materials  
  • Insight into a district authority, since the National Geopark Ries is a part of the district administration of the District of Donau-Ries 
  • Close cooperation with the tourism association Ferienland Donau-Ries e. V. 

We offer:

  • A monthly allowance of about 180 €
  • Either free accommodations in Donauwörth or a housing allowance
  • Flat-rate board allowance  
  • Accident and social insurance
  • 30 vacation days
  • Flexible working hours
  • Professional guidance and personal support
  • As a rule, entitlement to child benefits, etc.

What you should bring:

  • Interest in environmental and nature preservation
  • Willingness to engage in new experiences and topics
  • Full-time participation (39 hrs/week)
  • Binding commitment for one year
  • Completion of school requirement
  • German language skills
  • Younger than 26 years old
  • Ability to work independently
  • Drivers‘ license Class B

The FÖJ is supported by the Bavarian State Ministry for Environmental and Consumer Protection (StMUV) and by the Federal Ministry for Families, Seniors, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ).

The gap year always begins on 1. September.

If we have aroused your interest, you can find more information or even apply at www.bdkj-bayern.de/freiwilligendienste/foej.

Please apply exclusively to the responsible authority (BDKJ).