Personal Enrichment in Germany

Woman using a tablet and talking on the phone
Woman using a tablet and talking on the phone

Personal Enrichment in Germany

by Stripes Europe Staff
Stripes Europe

Moving abroad can be difficult for spouses who have left respected careers, business networks and emotional support of friends and family. Take control of your routine — learn about the new job market and seek employment, find volunteer opportunities and further your education.


On Installations

  • NAF Positions: NAF positions support installations through services in Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) and Force Support Squadrons (FSS). Hours range from regular, full-time to flexible part-time with varying employment benefits. Federal and NAF positions are listed on USAJOBS.
  • DoDEA-Europe: These schools offer full-time positions, substitute teachers, administrative staff and educational aids. 
  • Defense Contractors: Job opportunities in technology, management, accounting and administration are available with contracting firms. Your installation’s contracting office and A&FRC or ACS office will have information about vacancies.
  • Defense Commissary Agency (DECA): Jobs listed on USAJOBS.
  • Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES): Apply online or through local human resources offices.

Note: Check websites and offices for new openings frequently – a job can be posted one day and stay posted for only 48 hours.

Home-based Businesses

If you own a home-based business, you should:

  • Contact your installation’s Legal Office before establishing a business. The Legal Office cannot advise you on private business activities, they may provide guidance.
  • Check with your local German trade office, “Gewerbeamt,” to see if you need a German business license.
  • Find a German tax adviser (Steuerberater).
  • Even if you don’t need a German business license you will need a tax number.
  • Do not use military privileges such as APO, BX, Commissary or USAREUR-plated car to support your business.
  • If you live on-base, you will need permission from the installation commander.

On the Economy

The SOFA in Germany permits military spouses to work on the local economy. You will be subject to German laws and taxes.



While many may feel overqualified to hold a volunteer title, there is so much to take away

and learn as a volunteer. More often than not, this is the main avenue people take to eventually

land a great job. Volunteering can help you gain experience and network to land a paid position in the future.

Start making connections

  • Visit your installation’s A&FRC, ACS, FSS, MWR, the American Red Cross and the United Service Organizations (USO).
  • Reach out to various offices across your installation that align with the career field you’re interested in. You never know if they need volunteers or are willing to let people shadow them.


Taking the time to advance your education can help you excel in the future. Educational opportunities on installations in Germany come with a variety of programs at universities partnered with the DoD.

  • Central Texas College Europe: Primarily associate degrees and practical training. The Advanced Skills Education Program develops leadership qualities within non-commissioned and junior officers. Offers face-to-face and online courses.
  • Community College of the Air Force: Accredited degrees and courses for qualified personnel.
  • University of Maryland Global Campus: Undergraduate and graduate degrees as well as associate, bachelor’s, master's and doctoral programs. Offers face-to-face and online courses.
  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University: Certifications, undergraduate and graduate degrees. Offers face-to-face and online courses.
  • The University of Oklahoma: Online and independent study options for some classes. Face-to-face advanced degrees available.
  • Other schools: Many U.S.-based schools offer online courses or have European satellite locations. Some European universities offer programs for English speakers. For tuition assistance and financial aid information, visit or your Education Office.


  • Start DIY projects you’ve always wanted to do.
  • Spend time in the gym and establish healthy habits.
  • Travel, travel, travel! Living in Germany means traveling between other European countries is easier than ever.
  • Start a blog – whether it be travel, fitness, military living, etc. Contribute your articles to for a chance to get published online and in various magazines.

Find what works for your goals and dreams whether you land a great job, volunteer with an amazing organization, further your education or find other ways for personal enrichment. Utilize your time in Germany to benefit your future to the best of your ability.

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