At very heart of Europe and surrounded by nine other countries, the fairy tale Germany of lederhosen and beer steins today exists side by side with forward-thinking, 21st-century cities such as Berlin, Munich, and Frankfurt. Away from the towns and cities, the countryside has a spectacular natural beauty; you can explore the vast Black Forest in Bavaria, walk in the Mosel Valley, ski in the Alps, or cruise down the Danube, Elbe, and Rhine rivers. Despite its reputation as one of the world’s economic powerhouses and its advanced educational, welfare, and healthcare systems, Germany is not without its social problems. It is an ethnic melting pot with an increasingly aged population added to by swathes of refugees from conflict in the Middle East and North Africa, all stretching social services to capacity. You’ll find that there are many volunteering opportunities in Germany, from working with immigrant families to leading summer activity programs for disadvantaged youngsters.