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Work Experience and Practical Training

In order to give our students from the very start the chance of gaining a concrete insight into possible professional spheres, we have developed various options for doing practical work.

A certain degree of open-mindedness towards very different professional areas and enterprises is a specific characteristic of a degree in social sciences. Typical areas are found in planning, organising and implementing projects, linking up institutions and organising co-operational ventures, where appropriate right across Germany, Europe or worldwide.

We give you support in your first two years of study when you wish to gain your first work-based experiences, either alongside your studies or spaced out over a period of time. A range of employers and assignments are available for these purposes. Here is a list giving examples of some of those where our students are already working in this period of their studies or those with whom we are at this moment working in order to create placements:

  • Chamber of Trade and Commerce in Wiesbaden / Welcoming Guide
  • Johannes Foundation of the Diocese of Mainz
  • Rheinland-Pfalz Ministry for Families, Women, Young People, Integration and Consumer Protection / Department for Refugee Policy, Migrant Reception, Return
  • Voluntary Coordination of Catholic Welfare Organization (Caritas) in Mainz
  • Intercultural Centre for Education and Encounters in Oberstadt
  • Juvente Foundation
  • German Red Cross
  • Regional Centre for Political Education
  • Social Service of Catholic Women
  • Psycho-Social Centre for Fleeing and Trauma in Mainz
  • Environmental Project Saarland
  • Conference Organizing
  • German Football Association in Frankfurt
  • Mainz 05 Football Club
  • Second German Television Channel
  • Political Parties
  • Clubs

In year 3 of the course, which you spend abroad, you have the possibility of doing a 6 month work placement.

In the fourth and final year of studies a project in conjunction with a vocationally relevant organisation is planned.

The ideal process looks like this:

  • When you arrive here you already have some initial experience of doing voluntary work.
  • During the first semester you get settled at university.
  • From the second and third semester onwards you decide where you wish to spend your first work placement in the region
    ⇒ either in parallel to your studies 1-2 half days per week
    ⇒ or in one block when no lectures take place

  • A single work placement during the vacation anywhere in Germany, where possible before the year abroad in the third year of the degree. You can stay in one place or try out different types of work!
  • Year abroad: should you opt for a combination of one semester studying and one semester doing practical training: a practical semester gaining work experience anywhere in the world.
  • In year 4 you should work in conjunction with a suitable organisation on a concrete project; the final piece of written work could reflect on the combining of theory and praxis.

And here are concrete examples of what our students are actually doing in work placements in their own words:

“I have been doing a work placement since September 2017 at the Rheinland-Pfalz regional association of the German Red Cross in Mainz, working in the area concerned with migration. I go to the office once a week for two and a half hours and work with my supervisor on planning and setting up an advisory committee that should be responsive to refugees’ views.
The advisory committee is composed mainly of voluntary refugee participants and thus helps improve their participation. At the same time the members of this committee will consider the existing projects of the GRC for refugees, and future activities can be planned together.

As I have already mentioned, my task is to help found the advisory committee and to set up and organize its meetings. I have a lot of responsibility and in that way I am free to bring in my own ideas. Furthermore, I have the opportunity to gain a great deal of experience in the sphere of project planning. In addition I am able to get a closer look at the work of the GRC and I am also involved in different events.”

Annika Fuchs, BAMI, 2016 entry

„My work placement is in the Rheinland-Pfalz Ministry for Families, Women, Young People, Integration and Consumer Protection. My specific job, together with my fellow student Olina Welge (see below), is to carry out an evaluation of a proposed idea for better protection against violence for vulnerable groups who are housed in reception centres for people seeking asylum in Rheinland-Pfalz.

The people we work with are all very nice and helpful and people explain a lot of things to us and confide in us. It is interesting to get to see inside such a complex set-up and learn about what goes on behind the scenes politically. I find that fascinating because on the one hand I’m interested in politics and, on the other, there are certainly structural similarities between large organisations. It’s a good placement to have because I can imagine myself later working in just such an organisation (though not a governmental one).

I’m also very excited about the placement from a subject angle in its links to my degree course because it’s not just any ministry-based work but is concerned with the issue of integration and migration. Germany’s mammoth task in dealing with refugees is being met head on and concrete solutions are being sought. So far the most revealing experience was actually being in an initial reception centre, where I witnessed how the situation was being dealt with in reality. Nevertheless my fellow student and I are learning how to approach such situations conceptually and this will definitely be of benefit for our work later on.

So, on the whole, I like my placement, although I had not chosen it at the very start, but it had come about more by chance. Of course it’s challenging and heavy on theory but I believe that I can get a lot out of it in the final analysis.”

Tamara Dellert, BAMI, 2016 entry

I’ve been working for several months now as a volunteer in the coordination office of the Catholic welfare organization, Caritas. Its areas of responsibility cover the coordination of the activities of full time and voluntary workers, as well as providing contact persons in case of problems.

This work placement offers a different perspective on the work with refugees, because we see it from the point of view of volunteers. It’s interesting to see what one needs to be aware of so that everybody who wishes to become involved is placed in a suitable area. In fact problems are always arising that need to be dealt with. Besides these things there are consultations the AWO has with refugees.

It’s a good place for me to learn more about the complex work with refugees and volunteers. Due to it being a small scale institution I have been quickly accepted, I’m able to put forward my own ideas and I’m included in many of the events. I have the flexibility of deciding how much time I wish to spend there. On top of that, the office is in the Allerweltstreff in Budenheim which is a café where people from every nation come together to exchange ideas with one another. I was able to get involved there as well. It’s a good thing to be able to already gain experience in possible future places of work whilst one is studying.”

Antonia Dausner, BAMI, 2016 entry

“My work placement from June 2017 until July 2018 is in the Department for Policies concerning Refugees and Immigants’ Reception in the Rheinland-Pfalz Ministry for Families, Women, Young People, Integration and Consumer Protection. The area of tasks covered is the implementation and implementability of the proposals for the protection from violence inside initial reception institutions in Rheinland-Pfalz, including producing my own conceptual plan and its application, that involves me liaising and engaging with others inside the department.

I’ve chosen this work placement because it gives me the possibility of undertaking a comprehensive, empirical and academic set of tasks and this grants me the freedom to shape and carry out my research independently and creatively. This work placement also gives me opportunities to network and immerse myself in ministerial processes, hierarchies and operations, as well as additionally in the initial reception institutions. In that way I’ll know more clearly in the future if I can imagine working in one of these two areas since I ‘only’ know at this point that I’m heading in the direction of developing and managing projects and seminars in the context of an organisation. I will also subsequently know more precisely which path of empirical research I wish to follow.

The placement also has a beneficial effect on my studies. Since the evaluation will produce quite substantial amounts of material, I will not only be able to write a piece of coursework on it but also quite possibly my bachelor dissertation. I can also use the theories I’ve learned on the course in this work, or, alternatively, encounter them in the real world and re-examine them, and in this way a very important transfer between theory and praxis takes place.”

Olina Welge, BAMI, 2016 entry