International youth exchanges and Workshops

Bi-, tri- or international youth exchanges are meeting places for young people from 12 to 27. During these events, the participants deal with experiences of war and violence in the 20th century. Together they develop messages to support peaceful and tolerant togetherness and thus actively help shape Europe’s culture of remembrance. Current sociopolitical questions play an important role here. Workcamps are a special type of youth exchange. They combine practical work in the form of maintaining war graves and memorials with the examination and discussion of topics and issues with regard to the respective memorial site. The participants therefore make a valuable contribution to designing and maintaining graves with dignity so that they may serve as memorials against war and tyranny.

Understand memories

Historical-Political Education

Working for peace means working against forgetting. The youth exchanges and workcamps lead the participants to places of remembrance of wars and times of tyranny. They ask critical questions, search for the traces of history, process their impressions and discuss important questions with others: How could this happen at the time? How am I connected to this time? What does peace mean to me? What is our responsibility today? What is the situation in the world today? Many workcamps or youth exchanges offer guided tours at war graves or memorials or visits to museums, discussions with contemporary witnesses or content-focused modules discussing peace education topics. Dealing with history and thinking together show how fundamental and valuable respect for every single human being is in order to live together peacefully.

Marlene Paar - 21, Deutschland

Ich kam über meine Mutter zum Volksbund. Sie war bereits 1972 in einem Workcamp und hat so viel Gutes darüber erzählt, das ich neugierig wurde.

Heute bin ich selbst Teamerin und muss sagen, dass die Mischung aus politischer Bildungsarbeit, Geschichte und gemeinsamen Freizeitaktivitäten einfach perfekt ist. Es ist immer wieder schön zu sehen, wie viel man in so kurzer Zeit bei den Jugendlichen bewirken kann.

Meet other young people

Encounters (Bi-, tri- or international)

Working for peace means promoting communication and exchange between people. This is why youth exchanges and workcamps are meeting places where young people get the chance to meet each other and broaden their horizons together. We organise bi- or trinational meetings and workcamps with partner organisations from youth work programmes from many different countries. For our international youth exchanges, we invite youths from different countries mainly to Germany. Sometimes modules with this focus are also offered, for example on the topic of dealing with stereotypes or extremism.

Since workcamps and exchanges are advertised freely, any information provided on the groups and nationalities of the participants is not binding; we can only give information on the goals. 

Tackle together

Work on war graves and memorials

At the workcamps, participants work approximately 20 hours per week maintaining war graves or memorials. For example, they help with the preservation and restoration of German war grave memorials of the First and Second World War, war grave memorials of other nations, Jewish cemeteries and (concentration camp) memorials to preserve them as peace memorials. Sometimes hard work is required, e.g. at some work camps in Eastern European countries. Meeting people from the host country, trips in the surrounding areas, sightseeing and other team activities balance the physical labour.

Dima Kutivyi - 21, Ukraine

Mich hat interessiert, wie die deutschen Jugendlichen denken, ob es Unterschiede und Gemeinsamkeiten gibt. Auch hatte ich die Hoffnung, neue Freunde zu finden.

Und tatsächlich war es sehr international und freundschaftlich.
Nächstes Jahr werde ich meine Freundin fragen, ob sie auch einmal mitkommen möchte.

Here you can experience something

Free time activities

Leisure activities play an important role at our projects and offer an opportunity to experience fun and action together with other young people. Youths from the partner countries can offer their guests an insider’s guide during visits in nearby cities. Depending on the programme, many leisure activities are offered which might include shopping, sightseeing or evenings at the camp fire, hikes for nature lovers and sporting activities. If you are interested in culture, there will be something for you, too. And of course, there will always be time to celebrate and have fun together – making new friends is easy for everybody at barbecue parties or at the disco. One thing is for sure: you will never get bored!