Volunteering is a good way to meet people and get involved with local life, with projects lasting anything from a week to 18 months or more. In Austria, maintaining hiking trails is popular, but other volunteer projects range from joining a performance group on social issues to repairing school fences outside Vienna. 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 (www.ivsgb.org) The UK organisation networked with the Service Civil International (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 (SCI; www.sciint.org) Worldwide organisation with local networks.