How does it feel to graduate?

Completed school: this is how you start your next adventure

School done! What's next?

If you are about to graduate from school or have it fresh in your pocket, you are about to enter a whole new phase of life. It is quite understandable that this experience not only brings with it pure anticipation of something new. On the one hand you have to struggle to leave your friends and your usual everyday life behind you, on the other hand you are plagued by indecision and fear of the future. If you are then confronted with the question “What are you doing after school?” From your circle of friends, you quickly feel pressured. It is not at all dramatic if you do not have a hard-as-steel plan for the future up your sleeve. According to a recent study, 59% of the students surveyed are not sure what they want to do after school *. Because before you start studying or training, there are a variety of options open to you that can be the first step into the adventure of your life. You can use the so-called “gap year” to find yourself, to grow beyond yourself, to move into the big wide world and to orientate yourself which profession interests you.

We show how you can turn your emotional roller coaster into the best time of your life and help you to find an answer to the question: "What do you do after school?".



#1. Stay abroad - out into the world


Work and travel

Would you like to travel to the land of your dreams without knocking your savings right on the head? Then Work and travel maybe the optimal solution for you, because with various odd jobs on site you can top up your travel budget and get to know the culture and people up close. However, you should be aware that this is a real adventure, which not only means chilling out on the beach and sipping cocktails. On the one hand, the trip requires you to break away from your plans and spontaneously embark on your next destination. On the other hand, you should be able to approach people in an open-minded manner and without prejudice, because especially when you are traveling alone, you do not want to be completely on your own and are grateful for any help. Under certain circumstances, the willingness to do physically demanding jobs is also part of it - being too picky usually doesn't get you anywhere. Popular travel destinations such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA require a “Working Holiday Visa” to enter the country. You also have the option of getting support from various agencies in the planning process.


AU Pair

If children are particularly important to you and you want to find friends for life, the option "AU Pair“A lot to offer. You will live with your host family abroad for 6 or 12 months and look after their children. For this you will be provided with accommodation and meals free of charge, you will also receive fair pocket money weekly or monthly and a second home with your "new" family. The basic requirements are: to be of legal age, to have a school leaving certificate as well as basic language skills and to have around 200 hours of experience in childcare. A driver's license isn't a must, but it definitely gives you an edge. In general, it is also advisable to work with a professional agency, as they accompany you every step of the way and are always at your side as a contact person on site. The experience as an au pair is not only a big step towards independence, you learn to take on responsibility, you quickly get a feel for the language and soon you won't want to leave. You can find more information here, for example.


Volunteering & volunteering

Would you like to get involved socially and work for people or nature? Then you also have the opportunity to do voluntary work, as a so-called "Volunteer“To be active abroad and to support various charitable projects around the world. Depending on what you are most passionate about, you can play a decisive role in a wide variety of areas, either on a social, medical, educational or environmental protection level. For example, you are in an animal shelter, orphanage, or in a school. You don't earn money doing this, but you gain the experience you have gained for your life. Programs such as “weltwärts” or “kulturweit” enable on-site support. Of course, you can also contact the project organizer abroad directly or even organize it yourself.


Language trip

Another alternative to using your time abroad, but also the most cost-intensive, is undisputedly Language tripthat can tear a hole in your account with an average of 2000 to 3000 euros for a month. However, the advantages are obvious: In the course, which lasts several weeks and is individually adapted to your language level, you will build up your language skills considerably in a relatively short period of time. At the end of the course you will also receive a language certificate, which can be a special eye-catcher on your résumé. For example, the DAAD platform provides you with information, experience reports and comparisons of the various countries and language schools, as well as possible financial support in the form of a scholarship.


# 2. Practical experience - first professional steps and social commitmentnt


Voluntary social year

Are you a very socially oriented person and attach great importance to interpersonal relationships? Then now is the time to do your part and participate in a voluntary social year (in short: FSJ) to use for society. You must be at least 15 years old and have completed compulsory schooling, but not more than 27 years old - no further qualifications are required. You can do your voluntary auxiliary activity in a variety of fields, such as in child and youth work, in health and care for the elderly or in the areas of sport, culture, politics and school. FSJ students work on a voluntary basis, but are entitled to monthly pocket money, which averages 150 € (varies depending on the institution), as well as many other discounts. With 6, 12 or 18 months full-time, you are relatively flexible in terms of time in the voluntary service and it is a great way to bridge the gap until the start of your apprenticeship or semester.


Voluntary ecological year

The same key data apply to the voluntary ecological year (short: FÖJ), which is an education and orientation year with a focus on nature and the environment. A great thing to get involved in sustainable development and to better understand ecological and environmental-political relationships in their social context. In the various locations, such as farms, nurseries, ecological educational institutions, national parks and environmental authorities, you can actively participate in the protection of an environment worth living in.


Federal Voluntary Service

TheFederal Voluntary Service (short: BFD or Bufdi) is a supplementary option to the FSJ and the FÖJ and was offered as a replacement for military service and thus also for community service. In contrast to the two previous options, the BFD is very attractive not only for young people, but also for older people, as most voluntary services do not have an age limit. "It should create a new culture of voluntariness in Germany and make it possible for as many people as possible to become involved in the general public." This is the aim of the There is a huge range of places of work in institutions geared to the common good - these include, for example: member institutions of charities, hospitals, children's homes, youth and disabled facilities, multigenerational houses, self-help groups, sports clubs, cultural institutions and civil protection and disaster control institutions.



After your long school career, do you want to finally get a breath of fresh air and put your skills to the test? - A few weeks internship enables you to focus more decisively on a special occupation and therefore to be able to make a solid decision when choosing your training or course of study. It is no secret that practical experience in the sense of an internship can be a big plus on a CV. However, it is also important that the relationship to the desired job is clearly recognizable. For you this means: Do not apply to the hairdresser if you are aiming for an apprenticeship as a mechatronics technician in the future, just because the position can be easily combined with a new hair color ... You have to negotiate the internship salary individually with your company. In general, the law of the minimum wage of € 9.19 per hour to be observed applies from January this year, to which you are not, however, entitled without exception - compulsory and short-term internships are excluded from the rule.

For example, you can find internship offers in your area here.


# 3: Further learning: Perfectly prepared for study and training



The range of courses at colleges and universities is immense and does not necessarily make it easy for high school graduates to make a final decision. For those who are undecided, however, there is a good way to find out which course is the right one: As part of the Studium Generale you can gain professional impressions through an orientation year, which is divided into three trimesters, or through a specially offered branch within a degree program, which should help you to choose your degree. Further elementary key competencies, the so-called "soft skills", are also taught. Prospective students should be encouraged to think outside the box. Accordingly, your general education, your ability to reflect and your judgment will be trained in such a program. Certain previous knowledge is not required, but be aware that the orientation year can cost you between 4000 and 6000 euros.


Vocational training

The normal course of study after school is popular, but it is certainly not the right one for everyone. If independent drumming is out of the question for you, then the path of vocational training is a varied alternative. The dual training is the most common form of vocational training in Germany. But what is the difference to standard training? You work in a training company where you can gain practical experience and earn money. In addition, you will visit the vocational school and learn the theoretical specialist knowledge. Today's apprentices are released into the world of work as diversely trained specialists and with their qualifications they have a good chance of asserting themselves on the job market.


Vocational training measure

The Vocational training measure (short: BvB) of the Employment Agency supports you if you have not yet found the right apprenticeship position or if you have already abandoned one and want to reorient yourself. In addition to the lessons, you will complete several company internships, which will give you an insight into the different working worlds and establish contact with a potential training company - you are already standing with one foot in the door, if you then do your job well, you have good chances to be taken become! It is also possible for you to catch up on a general school leaving certificate with a standard funding period of 12 months and thus create a promising career basis as a prospective young professional.





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