Germany, a fairytale land of enchanting villages, gorgeous scenery, and traditional festivals, is the perfect site for a gap year. While maintaining the charming old-fashioned feel, Germany has grown into a modern setting by being a front-runner in the fields of renewable energies and recycling, automation, and international commerce. As one of the tourist capitals of the world, Germany houses many of the Europe’s treasures. From Oktoberfest to skiing the Alps, Germany offers something for everyone.

Language Study

Many gap year programs are intensive German language programs. The majority use the idea of complete immersion, and students are placed in host families and attend German schools full-time. A popular example of this type of program is the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange. Language study programs can be found in almost every city in Germany, and often in smaller towns. However, the most popular places to study are Berlin and Munich.

Volunteering

While most people don’t think of Germany as a country that needs volunteers, there are actually a myriad of volunteer programs in Germany. Some programs run for as short as a few weeks, while several run for an entire year. Volunteering is an amazing and different way to learn about the German culture, as you work directly with Germans instead of learning about them in a classroom. There are volunteer programs all over Germany, with several being in larger cities such as Berlin.

Interning and Studying

Many programs offer a combination of studying and interning in German cities. These are often for students who want to pursue business, but they are usually not limited to this. Many programs offer internships with German car companies, such as Volkswagen or Mercedes, and students can study at a German school for a semester before interning at a German company for the next semester.

Cost of Living in Germany

Compared to other European countries, Germany is not overly expensive. However, prices differ from city to city. While Munich and Hamburg are some of the more expensive cities in Germany, smaller cities such as Leipzig are much cheaper. In general, a student can expect to spend between 200-300 Euros per month on food, board, and daily living. However, this can range depending on what each gap year program includes. To save money, avoid tourist traps for your everyday needs, such as overly priced restaurants, grocery stores, and means of transportation.

Culture and Etiquette in Germany

Life in Germany is not difficult to adjust to, but there are several customs that may seem strange at first. For example, most Germans kiss on the cheek when greeting someone they know, but shake hands with someone they don’t know. Punctuality is highly valued, and even public transportation is rarely late. While being “fashionably late” is acceptable in many cultures, it is rude in Germany. Things that are often free in other countries, such as using a public restroom or ordering water in a restaurant, can cost up to 2 Euros.

Germans do not wear shorts or sandals after September begins, no matter how warm it is outside. If you want to look like a native, buy a light jacket and a pair of jeans from H&M (the favorite store of Germans), and wear them even in the 70 degree weather. Teachers expect students to be self-sufficient, and procrastination is usually not an option. Despite the stereotypical tense attitude of Germans, most Germans are very welcoming and warm-hearted.

Health and Safety in Germany

Germans take health and safety very seriously. Healthcare in Germany is one of the best in Europe, with hundreds of major medical centers throughout the country. 9 out of 10 doctors speak fluent English and most pharmacies have someone available who speaks English. Most Germans are members of a local gym or club and have fitness as a part of their daily schedule. However, in Germany, exercise is something that is typically done indoors, so going for a run outside is not advised unless you want to be stared at. Germany is not a country of wide-spread disease and the water is safe to drink, but be careful of “strange” types of meat, as they can sometimes lead to food poisoning.

Violent crime is something that is rare in Germany; however, non-violent robberies occur frequently. Most incidents related to street crime involve pick-pocketing. Be careful with your belongings and do not put yourself in a situation that could be risky. Pick-pocketers in Germany often use someone to distract a tourist/foreigner, so it is easy to rob him/her while not paying attention.

Foreigners are not advised to wear flashy clothes or accessories, such as expensive jewelry, as it makes them easy targets. However, police forces are strong, making Germany cities very safe.

Contributed by Rebecca Murphy

Gap Year Programs in Germany

Displaying 1 - 15 of 16 programs
EF Gap Year
EF Gap Semester: Customizable 12-Week Program in Multiple Destinations
Multiple Countries
9.75 •8 reviews

Embark on a unique global experience in 12 weeks. EF Gap Semester is...

EF Gap Year
EF Gap Year: Customizable 25-Week Program in Multiple Destinations
Multiple Countries
9.56 •9 reviews

Eager to become more worldly and prepared for college in just 25 weeks...

Winterline Global Education
Explore the World & Learn New Skills on a Winterline Global Gap Year Program
Multiple Countries
9.53 •15 reviews

Are you prepared for life? Are you not sure what you want to do after...

Up with People
Up with People On Tour Gap Year Experience
Multiple Countries
9.85 •75 reviews

Are you ready to turn your dream of travel into a reality? Travel with...

GeoVisions Foundation
GeoVisions - Tutor English to a Host Family in Germany
Germany
8 •1 review

GeoVisions' Tutor English to a host family provides volunteers a...

CIEE Global Navigator
CIEE Gap Year in Berlin, Germany – Language & Culture
Germany

There’s never a dull moment in this dynamic city. Break free on a gap...

CIEE Global Navigator
CIEE Gap Year in Berlin, Germany – Global Entrepreneurship
Germany

Jump into the bustle of Germany’s capital city, home to nearly 3.5...

CESA Languages
CESA Languages - German Gap Year Program in Berlin
Germany
10 •1 review

The CESA Languages Berlin Gap Year course is ideal for anyone on a Gap...

Irish Gap Year
European Explorer Program
Multiple Countries

The European Explorer Program is a structured, four-week, group...

GeoVisions Foundation
Au Pair in Germany with GeoVisions
Germany

GeoVisions Au Pairs travel to Germany to experience German life while...

World Unite!
Working Holiday Support in Berlin and Germany | World Unite!
Germany

Berlin is a buzzing metropolis with an exciting cultural scene and...

Cultural Homestay International
CHI: Au Pair Abroad in Germany
Germany

Cultural Homestay International (CHI) has been in the business of...

CESA Languages
CESA Languages - German Gap Year Course in Munich, Germany
Germany

This long-term course is the perfect solution if you are looking to...

Au Pair International
Explore Germany as an Au Pair with API
Germany

Our Au Pair Program provides young people with a wonderful opportunity...

Latitude International Education
Au Pair in Germany
Germany

This program is offering you a unique opportunity to experience the...

New Jobs

View the latest job postings on our job board. A great way to earn work experience during your gap year!

What People Are Saying

My case is a little unusual, I decided to take a gap year after already completing a year of college. I didn’t know what I wanted to do until I stumbled upon this program and knew it was something I...

Me in front of the Eiffel Tower.

My gap semester was tailored to my interests and exceeded every expectation I had of living and studying abroad! I went into the semester not sure where my path after high school was headed, and left...

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I decided to go on EF's gap semester because I wanted to find myself, while also growing up. I’m from a small sheltered town, and have traveled, but not alone where I’m responsible for my personal...

This picture is of me and one of my amazing friends I met while in language school in Madrid!

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