The association Austrian Service Abroad prepares candidates for their time abroad comprehensively. On average, candidates spend 1.5 years in preparation before starting their service at the location of their assignment.

During this time, they volunteer in teams and units according to the association’s organizational chart and thus acquire competencies relevant to an organization, such as communication and leadership skills, as well as know-how about working in teams and the functioning of associations.

In addition, the candidates prepare themselves in terms of knowledge for their assignment abroad and participate in regular conferences (such as the Wednesday Conference), seminars (multi-day Gedenkdienst, Social Service, and Peace Service seminars), monthly physical meetings in all federal states of Austria, biannual cohort meetings, as well as an annual Gedenkdienst Poland study trip and / or an Understanding Israel seminar.

Here brief descriptions of 3 of our initiatives:

The cohort meetings are held twice a year and aim to provide the entire cohort that is planning to go abroad next with knowledge, contacts and workshops relevant to their service abroad in a multi-day conference (on- or offline) and to give them the opportunity to get to know each other better.

Fixed points in these meetings are:

  • Imparting knowledge on contractual, financial, insurance, expectations, to-do’s and tips and tricks.
  • Meeting alumni who talk about their experiences abroad and pass on knowledge.
  • Workshops on topics relevant to their service abroad. For example, delivered by partner organizations or external experts.
  • Workshops on skills relevant to their service abroad. For example, on communication, rhetoric or debating.

The association Austrian Service Abroad organizes an annual Gedenkdienst study trip to Poland. The agenda of this 8-days trip is subject to slight modifications each year and usually takes participants to Krakow, Auschwitz, Warsaw, Lublin and Majdanek. It serves to prepare candidates for their service abroad.

The study trip follows the approach of dealing not only with the past of Jewish life in Poland, but also with that of today and the future. On the one hand, museums, former concentration camps and ghettos will be visited, but also Jewish cultural centers and institutes dedicated to the revival of Jewish culture.

In addition, we visit our existing partner organisations of our association in Poland. Specifically, these are the:

  • Galicia Jewish Museum
  • Auschwitz Jewish Center
  • POLIN Museum of the History of Jewish People in Poland

The study trip is accompanied by a literature list and preparatory and follow-up workshops. It is also accompanied by a historian and devised in consultation with the pedagogical director of MoRaH Prof. Awi Blumenfeld.

In the future, the participants should consist of a combination of Austrian Service Abroad candidates and external/international groups of people.

Der Verein Österreichischer Auslandsdienst leitet das Programm Understanding Israel (, das Sozialdiener*innen nach Israel an die folgenden Einsatzstellen entsendet:

  • Naamat Kindertagesstätte
  • Loewenstein Rehabilitation Center

Darber hinaus entsendet er auch Gedenkdiener*innen nach Israel an die folgenden Einrichtungen:

  • Yad Vashem
  • Wiener Library for the Study of the Nazi Era and the Holocaust an der Tel Aviv Universitt
  • The Liebling House White City Center
  • ANU Museum of the Jewish People

Zur Vorbereitung auf ihren Auslandsdienst in Israel findet jährlich ein 5-tgiges Understanding Israel Seminar statt, das Israel den Teilnehmer*innen in ihrer Vielseitigkeit näher bringt. Dafür werden Rabbiner, Präsident*innen Israelitischer Kultusgemeinden, Israelis, Einsatzstellen-Alumni und Buchautor*innen für Workshops und Gesprächsrunden eingeladen.

Darüber hinaus wird das Seminar von einer Literaturliste aus Büchern begleitet, die die Seminarteilnehmer*innen im Vorhinein lesen und während des Seminars in Workshops thematisieren. Ebenso finden Diskussionsrunden, moderierte Gespräche sowie Workshops, in denen sich die Teilnehmer*innen selbst Themen erarbeiten, statt.

Ziel ist es den Teilnehmer*innen Grundlagenwissen über Israel, ein Verständnis für die Komplexität des Landes, der Geschichte und Gesellschaft, sowie Einblicke, Tipps & Tricks für die konkrete Arbeit an den Einsatzstellen zu vermitteln. Außerdem sollte das Gemeinschaftsgefühl der Gruppe gestärkt werden und sie auch miteinander Spaß haben.