Voluntary work is a good way to meet people and do something for the country you’re visiting. In Austria, maintaining hiking trails is popular, but other volunteer projects range from joining a performance group on social issues to repairing a school fence outside Vienna. Generally, there’s something for everyone, young or senior, lasting anything from a week to 18 months or more.
The key to finding a volunteer position in Austria is to hook up with the networks in your home country and/or, if you speak German, approach an Austrian organisation directly.
Bergwald Projekt Excellent volunteer work programs protecting and maintaining mountain forests in Austria, Germany and Switzerland. Generally, the Austrian programs last one week.
Freiwilligenweb (www.freiwilligenweb.at) Official Austrian government portal for volunteer work.
International Voluntary Service Great Britain (http://ivsgb.org) The UK organisation networked with the SCI.
International Voluntary Service USA (www.sci-ivs.org) The US organisation networked with the SCI.
International Volunteers for Peace (www.ivp.org.au) An Australian organisation networked with the SCI.
Service Civil International (www.sciint.org) Worldwide organisation with local networks.
EU, EEA and Swiss nationals can work in Austria without a work permit or residency permit, though as intending residents they need to register with the police.
Non-EU nationals need both a work permit and a residency permit, and will find it pretty hard to get either unless they qualify for a Red-White-Red Card, which is aimed at attracting highly skilled workers. Your employer in Austria must apply for your work permit. You must apply for your residency permit via the Austrian embassy in your home country.
Teaching is a favourite of expats; look under ‘Sprachschulen’ in the Gelbe Seiten (yellow pages) for a list of schools. Outside that profession (and barkeeping), you’ll struggle to find employment if you don’t speak German. There are some useful job websites:
Arbeitsmarktservice Österreich (www.ams.or.at) Austria’s Labour Office.
StepStone (www.stepstone.at) Directed towards professionals.
Virtual Vienna Net (www.virtualvienna.net) Aimed at expats, with a variety of jobs, including UN listings.
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