Hi! My name is Julia, I am a Co-Worker who started the voluntary service in September 2016. I came through the German organization “EOS Erlebnispädagogik e.V.” (https://eos-fsj.de/) and stayed for one year. I am going to tell my whole process of applying which can be helpful for the ones that come after me.
This process can be different from country to country and from organization to organization. Whether you want to come with or without an organization is up to you. Usually those Organizations are helping you with booking a flight, insurance and general preparation. Furthermore they also provide counseling if needed. However there are some aspects everybody has to take care of:
- applying for an organization (it is possible to come without, click here!)
- applying for Cadmus itself
- paperwork for the organization (medical certificate, official police record)
- paperwork for Cadmus (international driving license, official copy of drivers license, official police record, copy of insurance card)
- vaccination record
1.Applying for an organization or fill out this form
I personally just looked up organizations on the Internet. I created an account on the “EOS-Erlebnispädagogik” website, filled out an application and sent a general letter of motivation (why I want to work with people with special needs) and a personal data sheet (curriculum vitae) with it. Afterwards I received an E-Mail from a person being responsible for English-speaking countries. I talked to her via E-Mail/phone and together we figured out where I might like to go to. She sent me the links to the websites of several Lifesharing organizations and that is how I got to know about Cadmus.
In addition to EOS, there is “Freunde der Erziehungskunst Rudolf Steiners e.V.” (https://www.freunde-waldorf.de/freiwilligendienste/) and SCI “Service Civil International” (https://www.sci.ngo/). “Freunde” is very similar to EOS and based in Germany, while SCI is an international Agency with offices all over Europe and more. All organizations usually provide consultation, insurance, an official certificate at the end of the voluntary service and seminars, which prepare you for your gap year. You have to pay a so-called “Förderkreis”, which is a certain amount of money. For EOS it equals the amount of “Kindergeld” for one year, which you receive after your parents applied for it, but you can ask companies or friends/family to support you and donate money as well. Your contact person is going to give you all the information you need.
2.Applying for Cadmus
Out of the placements my contact person from EOS had suggested, I picked Cadmus. I filled out an application form and wrote another letter of motivation where I answered questions, which were written down on the application form. Afterwards, the agency administrator, Barbara Henry contacted me and we set up the time for a Skype interview, where she told me everything I needed to know about Cadmus. She then asked one of the former Co-Workers to get in contact with me. We skyped; the Co-Workers were from “Interlaken House” (the one I got into later) and they told me about their life there. I got asked some questions (motivation, where I am from …) and I was able to see the house and the people living there. A few days later, Ms. Henry sent me an invitation letter for Cadmus with which I was able to apply for my Visa.
If you are not coming with an organization, fill out this Application Form to get in contact with us!
To get my visa, I visited the website www.usatraveldocs.com. There, I created an account and filled out an application. This took quite a while, but in the end I had an appointment for a few weeks later at the consulate closest to my hometown to apply for a B1/B2 Visa.
On the day of the appointment, I travelled to Frankfurt. I brought my invitation letter and my passport with me. I stood in line with a lot of people, but the whole process took only a half an hour. I could not bring my phone or anything, had to go through security checks and they took my fingerprints. At the last counter, they asked what I want to do in the States and as they approved it, they kept my passport to add the visa in it. I got it back by mail. How long you are allowed to stay in the end (best case is one year) decides the staff at the airport in America.
4.Paperwork for Cadmus
The papers Cadmus needed were about my driving license, and insurance. Cadmus requires that all volunteers have a drivers license.
Cadmus asked me to get an international drivers license and to send a copy to them. Therefore, I went to the place where I got my drivers license from (Führerscheinstelle) and applied for an international one. I showed my German license and my I.D. and brought a picture, then received the international license. At home, I scanned it and E-Mailed it to Ms. Henry. She also needed an “official copy of my drivers license”, so I went to the Citizens Advice Bureau. They signed and stamped my copy of the license.
Together with that, I sent the official police record I got earlier already (even though it was in German) and a copy of my insurance card.
It is not necessary to get any special vaccines as long as you have the basics covered. It is a good thing though to check if everything is up-to-date before you come to Massachusetts and then take a copy with you in case you need to see a doctor.
All that I wrote sounds like a lot to do right now, but it is actually not that much. I just had to renew a lot of things (like my insurance card, biometric pictures, curriculum vitae …) and I personally did not even have a passport before I decided to go to the United States.
The last and best thing to do is to book your flight and look forward to your arrival!
Enjoy your stay—