How to volunteer in Munich as a non-German speaker
You’ve just moved to Munich, you’ve started your new job, or a university course, you’ve got your new apartment sorted and everything is in order. Or, perhaps you have been an expat for years – well-established but eager find new ways to engage with the local community. Regardless of your situation or background, you wish to get involved with volunteering, but you have no idea of how to go about it. Fear not, this article will get you kick-started.
We all know that volunteering is an excellent way of contributing to the local community. It provides a great opportunity to connect with the locals. And if you’re an expat, it might be your good chance to brush up your language skills. However, It is not always easy to know where you should start after you have made your decision, especially if you’re an expat. Maybe you are just a little insecure whether your level of German is high enough.
Fortunately, at GoVolunteer we have compiled a wide selection of volunteering projects and opportunities located in Munich. So, whether you speak English, French, Arabic, Spanish, Persian or some beginner-level German, there will always be an option for you. Here are some of our top picks:
Münchner Freiwillige works with refugees and those who wish to help, by developing projects and volunteering solutions in Munich. Kochjurte – the Cooking Yurt is one of their projects, and it has the slogan “Cooking opens people’s hearts” at its core. If you can relate to this and you are a food lover, why not check it out and combine your passion for food and cooking with volunteering.
If you’re still hungry after that then you can head over to Save Me München’s Culture Kitchen, and continue your culinary adventure with the tastes of Afghan, Syrian, Iraqi and Bavarian cuisine by helping out at their cooking events and courses, which are held at least twice a month.
Volunteer in Nature
After so much food it’s probably a good idea for some physical activity. So, why not combine volunteering with mountaineering? The project Alpen. Menchen. Leben offers an opportunity to help refugees and migrants to spend time hiking and climbing in the Bavarian Alpine region, as well as visiting local mountain huts and museums. If you love nature or want to learn more about the Bavarian Alps and its nature reserves, and at the same time you wish to contribute to the efforts of integration then this project is perfect for you.
Volunteer in Arts & Culture
Perhaps you would rather love to learn some new ways of artistic expression or participate in cultural life and events. Then you can get involved with the PEACE of PAPER initiative, which seeks to bring refugees and locals together with art. They offer creative workshops on hand screen printing techniques, designing silk-screen artwork and producing gift wrap paper. The design and printing techniques used are simple and makes it easy for people of all languages and backgrounds to work together creatively, exchange ideas and have fun together.
Or, you could express your art through movement and dance by joining up with the Sankova Crew, and help out with their project RefuBeats. They focus on break dance and seek to facilitate integration through dancing together, dance workshops and other events. And don’t worry if your dance moves are terrible, the project is open to all skill levels.
Other volunteering opportunities
Animals United fights for the rights of animals and are regularly arranging events, demonstrations and creative animal activist work across Germany. If you are passionate about fighting the exploitation of animals by humans, get involved in their projects in Munich.
If you want to help LGBT refugees, get in touch with Rainbow Refugees Munich, an organization who tries to connect LGBT refugees with local LGBT organizations, and offer support within the fields of health, asylum procedure, job search as well as mentoring and buddy programs.
As you can see, volunteering opportunities in München are plentiful. Now it is up to you to grab the available opportunities, meet new people, learn something new and in the process contribute to your local community, help refugees and migrants, and enrich your life with intercultural experiences. These and many more exciting projects in Munich, and in many other cities across Germany, can be found at www.govolunteer.com
About the author:
Ulrik Tidemandsen is doing an internship at GoVolunteer as a part of his Master’s degree, and views volunteering as a key driver of progressive social change. He studies Culture, Communication & Globalization at the University of Aalborg in Denmark, and is now living in Berlin.