School and youth exchanges

German schools abroad

German schools abroad are a mainstay of our cultural relations and education policy, having a major long-term impact on their host countries. The schools are run by private associations and cater for the needs of German as well as foreign children interested in an education geared to German norms. Contacts with the host country are fostered not only through the schools' educational but also through their many cultural and social activities.

In the 2003 fiscal year some 117 schools abroad are receiving funding in the order of EUR 179.9 million. In this area the Federal Foreign Office is supported by the Länder (federal states), which are responsible for providing teachers and issuing German school leaving certificates. For further information on individual schools see

International school exchanges

School exchanges play a valuable role in fostering contacts between students, teachers and schools from different countries. The Educational Exchange Service (Pädagogischer Austauschdienst - PAD) of the Standing Conference of German Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs (Kultusministerkonferenz), which is responsible for running the various exchange programmes, is jointly funded by the Foreign Office, the Länder and the European Union.

The main programmes receiving Foreign Office funding in this area are:

  • Partnerships with schools in the USA, Israel, Central and Eastern European countries and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
  • The German language award programme, under which the winners of German language competitions held in over 90 countries across the world are invited to visit Germany.
  • Courses for foreign students in German studies and language held in schools in Germany.
  • The teaching assistants programme providing one-year placements in schools abroad for our own student teachers training to teach foreign languages and conversely in German schools for student teachers from abroad.

For the second time programmes were organized in 2003 under the auspices of the dialogue between Europe and the Islamic world that were specifically designed for students and teachers from countries with a large Muslim population.

International youth policy

Youth exchanges and cooperation among experts help to develop young people's intercultural and international communication skills. The Federal Government has earmarked some EUR 30 million from its cultural relations budget to fund youth exchanges. The main partner organizations are the Franco-German Youth Office, the Polish-German Youth Office, the Tandem office coordinating youth exchanges with the Czech Republic, the Centre for the Coordination of German-Israeli Youth Exchanges ConAct and the Baltic Sea Secretariat for Youth Affairs in Kiel. The Foreign Office also provides subsidies for trilateral projects of the Deutsch-Französisches Jugendwerk and projects of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions as well as innovative individual projects.


In 2003 the Federal Foreign Office has earmarked EUR 2.7 million to promote cooperation in the field of sport with Third World countries, countries in Central and Eastern Europe and members of the Commonwealth of Independent States as well as the People's Republic of China and Mongolia. It has also allocated funds from the Stability Pact for Afghanistan to support projects there in the field of sport. Funding is provided mainly for training coaches (particularly football and athletics coaches). All projects receiving support have broad public appeal and serve both to foster international contacts and promote the development of sport in partner countries through the introduction of modern training methods and organizational structures. The Foreign Office is also increasingly supporting sports projects for people with disabilities. All these activities bring Germany enduring gains in terms of good will.

Germany's National Olympic Committee, the Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ), leading German sports federations - notably the German Football Association and German Athletics Federation - and the University of Leipzig currently run the following programmes funded by the Foreign Office:

  • short (2-4 week) and long-term (2-4 years) coach training projects abroad,
  • coach training courses in Germany,
  • international encounters in the field of sport.

In addition sports equipment (including balls and sportswear) is donated to schools and associations via our missions abroad.

The Foreign Office also supports offers by German sports federations to host large-scale international competitions, including the bid to host the Olympic Games in summer 2012. It is also helping with the preparations for the Football World Cup to be held in Germany in 2006.

Last updated 06.01.2006

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