Life in Germany

i58 counts it a privilege to reach out to refugees in different places along their journey. In 2021, we began sending teams to serve alongside other ministries in Germany. Germany currently hosts over a million refugees and thousands of asylum seekers. Many refugees we’ve interacted with in Greece continued on to Germany, and our volunteers have been able to reconnect with them there!

Our supporters and volunteers often know what it’s like to serve on Lesvos, Greece, because it’s our most established location. However, in this blog, we want to let you know what it’s like day-to-day as a volunteer in Germany.

Life at the Giessen Center

Currently, we have two community centers in Germany–Giessen and Neustadt. Schedules for the locations run a little differently and volunteers often get to serve at both locations during their time there. Both of the community centers are called Peace House.

The center at Giessen is open four days per week–Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday–from 2-8 pm. Following are a few things that a normal day consists of there:

  • Serving chai, coffee, and biscuits Volunteers set up a tent outside the center where they offer coffee, black or green chai, and biscuits (thin butter cookies) to refugees coming to the center.
  • Sports Volleyball, soccer, and other sports are an everyday activity at the Giessen community center.
  • Games Games such as UNO and chess are common activities volunteers do with kids and adults alike.
  • German classes The German classes are often taught by local Germans who volunteer alongside us. Occasionally our volunteers help out with that as well.
  • Playing with kids Art and craft supplies, sidewalk chalk, and bubbles are available for the kids to play with.
  • Music Sometimes, one of the team members will get an instrument out and start playing, and the refugees love it. If you play any instrument, be prepared to play while you are there!

Our focus at the community centers is to build relationships and bring hope to the refugees with whom we interact.

There are several practical jobs assigned to volunteers everyday to keep things running smoothly. Here are a few examples:

  • Setup for German classes This includes setting up and handing out books to the refugees who come for class.
  • Registering everyone who comes to the center Volunteers jot down the names of everyone who comes to the center. Due to the limit of 40 people inside the center, sometimes we ask people to return another time when the limit is reached.
  • Running the chai table This includes keeping the jugs of tea and coffee full, refilling water heaters, and keeping the biscuit tray full.

Two volunteers take responsibility to float around, making sure everything is running smoothly.

“Often I sit with the women. Since their culture is very segregated, the women have formed a circle where they drink chai and talk. I love going over and sitting with them, hearing them talk or talking with them. It feels like they're my sisters, and we're just spending time together laughing or exchanging family photos, talking about their children or what they like to cook.”
- i58 Volunteer


The Neustadt Community Center

The Neustadt Community Center runs five days per week. It’s our newer location and is smaller than the Giessen center. On a typical day, only a few regulars come, but it provides an opportunity to more personally invest in peoples’ lives.

Ideally, there is a family or couple staying in the apartment above the Neustadt center, so they can be in close proximity to manage it. However, that’s not always the case. So when there are no families or couples there, volunteers from Giessen carve out time for a 45 minute commute via train or use the team van to get there.

From 3-6 pm, the center is open to the public. During that time, our volunteers make coffee or chai and have snacks. This is a time of interacting and building relationships.

In the evening, they often make dinner together with those who came to the center and hang out. The living room at the Neustadt center has traditional Afghan cushions and rugs, and refugees love it because it reminds them of home. They spend a lot of time in these rooms studying and eating dinner on the floor. Playing UNO is always fun and makes for a laughter-filled evening.

A few of the practical jobs volunteers do at the Neustadt center are:

  • General cleaning of the Peace House
  • Getting groceries and planning and preparing meals
  • Making lots of coffee
  • Driving refugees back to their camp at the end of the day

Outreach Day

Every Wednesday is Outreach Day for our volunteers, with several doing outreach on Fridays as well. Outreach consists of visiting people volunteers have gotten to know at the community center, but who’ve transferred to other camps across Germany.

The goal of Outreach Day is to continue friendships, pouring hope and blessings into their lives, as they transition to new places.

Life Outside the Center

A typical day–besides ministry at the center–includes meeting at the team house for breakfast and having devotions before going to the center. The team also has cooking, devotions, and cleaning schedules for each week.

After cleanup at the center every evening, the team heads back to the team house to talk over the day and make dinner. Evening team activities may also include games, tennis, or going out for ice cream. It’s also a good time to chat with people back in the US.

Saturdays are the team’s day off, which may include touring a nearby city, eating out, playing spike-ball, or doing other activities in Giessen. Giessen hosts many bakeries, ice cream shops, parks, and other cool things, so there’s an endless supply of things to do.

Every Sunday, there is team church at 2:30 pm. Before that, volunteers can visit a local church or have the morning off.

So there you have it – a bit of day-to-day life as a volunteer in Germany. Is this something that catches your interest? We are in need of more volunteers–singles, couples, and families!

Interested in volunteering? Please click the link to sign-up today. Volunteer With Us
Do you have any other questions? Ask us here.