“I would like to become a Weltwärts volunteer, but I do not know what to expect…”
If this is a consideration you can’t get out of your head, you’ve come to the right place. Because this is exactly the place to find out more about what it actually means to decide to volunteer with SAGE Net and how everything works.
You already know that you want to spend a year in Germany working on a project and gain a lot of new experiences, get to know a new culture and live your own life far away from home? Then it’s time for your application at SAGE Net. You can already apply for the next year’s class starting in October. The best way to apply is to follow our instructions, prepare the documents and send them to our office by e-mail. For you, it’s now a matter of waiting and seeing.
You will be informed by e-mail when the next steps are due. In order to get a first impression of each other, to clarify some of your questions and to learn something about you and your motivation, you will be invited to a telephone conversation. If you have also successfully completed this, you can look forward to a selection day. Here you will meet some of our alumni, the office team and of course your fellow volunteers. There will be plenty of room for your own questions, more detailed information and a small personal discussion. You will receive the final decision by e-mail and if you are there, it will be more concrete from now on. Before you can start, it is up to you to inform yourself a little bit, to collect first documents for your visa application and also to consider how to collect the donations for SAGE Net, with which you will finance your own year of volunteering.
Next up is the preparation seminar. Here it is usual for all volunteers to spend ten days in a seminar house or similar. The focus is on getting to know each other and preparing for their time in Germany in the best possible way. The mentors, alumni and other seminar speakers will give you a great overview and your anticipation will certainly increase. Information on topics such as visas, insurance, housing, security… will also be covered here. And then it is already time to apply for your visa, pack your suitcase, say goodbye to South Africa and get on the plane. During the first five days, you are not left on your own, but together with your fellow volunteers and your mentor you will have time to look at the project and your tasks and to find your way around.
From then on it’s up to you to make the most of your stay in Germany. Of course, you will work a lot on your project, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t have time for leisure activities and friends. This means that you have half a year to settle in and experience a lot of new things. Every four months you will write down your experiences in a report that helps you to reflect and shows you again where you stand. The report goes to your mentor and then to SAGE Net, because these reports are part of the weltwärts programme. After six months the next milestone will be reached: The intermediate seminar. This might even be the first time that you meet all your fellow volunteers and you are again the same group as in the preparation seminar. Together with your mentors, the main thing now is to reflect on a lot of things and to come up with ways and strategies to make it through the next six months. The exchange with fellow volunteers and the time off from the projects does you good and the second half can then be started with new insights and a recharged battery.
You will see that time flies and that it is already time to say goodbye much faster than you think. Before it goes all the way back, you will have a few more days together with your successor. Now you are the old hand who can pass on tips and tricks and help the new volunteer to get started and arrive. In the end, it’s time to get on the plane and take a last look at Germany. Maybe you already know that your time in this country has changed you so much that you want to come back. In any case, you will have the next few months to look back on everything and tell your friends and family in South Africa a lot.
Your volunteer service will officially end with a follow-up seminar. Again, all your fellow volunteers will be in one place and there will be time and space to share your experiences. You will receive your final confirmation from SAGE Net about your completed volunteer service.
And then? Well, then it’s up to you to decide how you can and want to contribute with your experience and knowledge. At SAGE Net you are always welcome as an alumni and you can also continue your engagement from South Africa (e.g. in the context of the Working groups). Otherwise, you are about to enter a new phase in your life for which we wish you all the best!