FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
The Austrian Service Abroad is non-profit and non-governmental organization accredited by the Austrian Ministry of Social Affairs to offer sponsored volunteering services (Auslandsdienst) abroad to both females and males. The types of services are the Gedenkdienst, Austrian Social Service and Austrian Peace Service. If a service is done for a time-period of at least 10 months it may serve as a substitute to Austria’s mandatory military or national service. Having many partners around the world, it is the largest of Austria’s organizations providing such volunteering services. The Austrian Service Abroad is funded by the Austrian Ministry of Social Affairs.
A carrier organization is responsible for preparing and sending the volunteer abroad. The Austrian Service Abroad is a carrier organization. The contract is signed between the volunteer and the carrier organization (not between the volunteer and the organization of placement). This means that the volunteer is hired by the carrier organiazation and the carrier organization carries the responsibilities in terms of social security for and paying the subsidy to the volunteer. After the completion of a 10-month volunteering service via an accredited carrier organization the Republic of Austria cannot assign you to the military of national service anymore.
The volunteering services that you may do via the Austrian Service Abroad are 3 types:
- Gedenkdienst: Remembers the atrocities of Nazism and commemorates its victims. Gedenkdiener work at places of Holocaust commemoration, museums, research institutes and organizations supporting Jewish culture and life
- Social Service: Austrian Social Servants collaborate within the framework of international development assistance in diverse social projects around the word. Social servants work in the fields of education, support of people with special needs, environmental protection, medicine, economic development and infrastructure building
- Peace Service: Austrian Peace Servants collaborate in projects of peace-building, peace-pedagogics, women’s rights, reconciliation and the commemoration of atrocities other than the Holocaust
Further information about the types of service you may find here. Please note that the specific tasks strongly vary from partner organization to partner organization.
The first person of contact is the tutor of your federal state. You may contact him / her either via eMail or apply directly via the contact form. In order to inform yourself in greater detail about your Auslandsdienst you may participate in a monthly physical meeting in the capital of your federal state. There you can meet many like-minded people. The contact details of the persons relevant to your federal state you may find here.
Yes provided the following criteria are met:
- Participants know the German language since otherweise the participation in the conferences and meetings is problematic
- Participants must have the address of their main residence continuously for more than 1 year in Austria prior to departure
For each cohort a deadline is decided by the leadership team, which may vary from year to year. Until the deadline typically no decision regarding the candidates is made. In case of competition the decision regarding which candidate to chose strongly depends on the contributions made by the candidates during their preparatory period and on the suitability of the candidates regarding his / her placement. In case of a competition for a spot a committee decides shortly after the completion of the deadline.
After the deadline an application is still possible but limited to vacant spots.
For the cohort 2021 (start on 01.09.2021) the deadline was 31.12.2020.
For the cohort 2022 (start on 01.09.2022) the deadline is 31.12.2021.
After submitting your application to the Austrian Service Abroad and after some initial internal processes you officially become a “Neuinteressent” (newly interested person). From then on you have 4 months time to complete your intake into the organization and officially become a candidate. Typically 4 months is sufficent time for this. Details regarding the intake process you may find in the “Neuinteressent*in-guide”. You may discuss further questions with your tutor or federal state spokesperson. After participation in federal state meetings (Landesreferatstreffen) and several other conferences, submission of your CV and letter of motivation, and contacting all relevant people within the organization you may participate in an intake-conference. Once you successfully completed this process you have officially become a candidate for an Austrian Service Abroad.
The official intake into the organization will be communicated via eMail after a confirmation by the chairman of the organization.
How does the preparation for your service abroad and your collaboration within the organization work?
It is important to the Austrian Service Abroad to preparare the volunteers well for their placement in advance. Part of the preparation is the creation of preparatory reports, the participation in events, seminars as well as online-conferences.
- Once a month a physical meeting takes place in the capital of each federal state (Landesreferatstreffen). All colleagues of each federal state meet at this meeting for an exchange.
- Wednesday-conferences: The Wednesday-conferences take place bi-weekly and are conversations and Q&As with external guests with an expertise relevant to Gedenkdienst, Social and / or Peace Service.
- Area-conferences: once a month an area-conference for each area takes place. The Austrian Service Abroad has the world divided into 9 separate areas. Which area you belong to depends on the geographic location of the organization of your placement. In these conferences you will learn about topics relevant to your area and you may meet Austrian Servants Abroad from your area.
- Collaboration in teams / departments: Each candidate needs to join a team or department and contribute to its workflow. You may find an overview of the teams / departments in the organigram of the organization. A digital job-market can help you in finding a team / department. Alternatively you may contact the heads of teams / department directly.
- In addition, many opportunities for further education are organized and offered on a voluntary basis, such as the literature-club, documentary or film nights, discussion rounds, debates or role-plays, study trips (e.g. to Poland), language meet-up, and more.
Once you complete 10 months of your volunteering service the Republic of Austria recognizes it as an alternative to Austria’s mandatory military or national service.
In case of a competition for a spot, according to which criteria is the decision made regarding the suitability of the candidates?
The following criteria are relevant:
1. Does he / she fulfill the criteria of the partner organization towards our volunteers?
2. Length, extent and quality of the contributions made within the preparatory period. What value has he / she been for the Austrian Service Abroad through the contributions to its work-flow?
3. Quality of preparation in terms of the subject-matter relevant to the placement. How has he / she prepared himself / herself for the service at the organization of choice?
4. The social and communicative competencies of the candidate. Can he / she socialize and communicate well?
5. Does he / she have further relations with the country / city / organization of choice?
The most comprehensive information document about the Austrian Service Abroad is the NI-guide. In addition, there are guides regarding the communication with the civil service agency (ZISA), about the use of our communication plattform PODIO, and about the correct creation of signatures (as part of your eMail). For your intake-conference you shall write a CV as well as a letter of motivation, update the NI-checklist on PODIO and document your progress in bi-monthly reports.