What it is
Do you fancy spending a few weeks helping out on a farm in Switzerland and improving your German, French or Italian? Concordia is working with Agriviva a not for profit to provide young people with the opportunity to do short-term volunteering on farms in Switzerland with the aim of helping our the farmer, learning more about how a farm is run – be that agricultural or a livestock farm and improving your basic language skills. You will be living on a farm with the farm family helping the day to day life of the farm run smoothly. You don’t need any previous experience just be keen to muck in and be motivated to take part and to learn about Swiss culture and food. In order to get the most out of your experience, you need to be able to lead a basic conversation in the language of the area you choose to be based in be that French, German or Italian.
You will be living on a farm with the host family, likely the only volunteer on the farm as our farms tend to be small family run businesses.
The minimum stay is 2 weeks and the maximum is 2 months, During your placements, you will be treated as part of the family and spend the weekends with your host family.
What you do
First of all, you will learn lots of new skills: you will be living with a family in a rural countryside area and discovering what they do on a day to day basis. The range of tasks to be done is vast, helping out in the stables, looking after the farmer’s children, helping out in the garden, picking fruit, helping with the harvest, weeding, making products for the farm shop, feeding the baby animals and lots more besides. Once you have requested your placement – by letting us know which language you would like to improve –we can send you the profile of the family and the type of work you are most likely to be doing.
The farms range from advanced and highly automated ones to simple farms with little mechanisation and alpine farms using only manual labour often without electricity and running water. The locations of the farms are equally varied, some are situated in urban areas and others are far away from the nearest neighbour. The farms run by host families are often small so it is quite possible that a member of the family may have a full or part-time job off the farm.
Who it is for
If you are a European citizen, aged between 16-25, want to gain more knowledge about Swiss life and want to embrace a new culture then this is for you. You need to be willing to immerse yourself in rural life and have a positive impact on a farm and their produce. If this is you – then you are already more than halfway to Switzerland.
What it costs
There is a small fee of £100 which is shared between the admin fees of Concordia and our Swiss partner Agriviva. They charge a fee of 45CHF which is included in the £100. You will need to pay for your travel and insurance to the farm however once you are there all your accommodation and food costs are covered and you even get 16-20 CHF pocket money a day depending on your age, for example if you are a 16 or 17-year-old you get 16CHF a day and an 18-year-old get 20CHF.
How to apply
Please send the completed application form to firstname.lastname@example.org
Once we have your form, we will check your suitability, match you with a farm and then run the details of your placement past you. If this isn’t quite the farm for you, then you can let us know and if we can’t find a suitable placement then you can cancel with no fees.
Anyone under the age of 18 must have their application form signed by a parent or garden.
Please read the conditions before booking.
Who our partner is:
Agriviva is a non-profit association, funded by the Swiss Government for whom volunteer welfare is key. They are in regular contact with the farming families, participants also complete a feedback form in which they report on how happy they were with their placement and participants can contact either Concordia or Agriviva if any problems arrive during their stay. For an internship/placement with Agriviva in Switzerland one must be over 16 and under 25 years old, have the citizenship of a EU-/EFTA-Member state and be able to lead a basic conversation in German or French or Italian (depending on the region/area where the chosen farm is located). There’s no specific language diploma requested – mandatory and important is the ability to have a conversation and a good understanding. In addition to free board and lodging, the participants are paid daily pocket money by the farmer, scaled according to their age (between 12.00 and 20.00 Swiss francs per day). Voluntary farm work has an educational value – an experience of nature is brought closer to the participant.
For more info about Agriviva