In Austria, every Boy turning 18 will get a call by the military for an extended health examination. During that examination, they determine how fit everyone is. Based on that result you can choose to go six months to the military or nine months "community service".
The whole process is regulated by law. Every boy has to go through the examination. Also, every boy has to fulfill the following six or nine months unless you got some serious health issues.
Of course, most of the boys don't like the procedure and some try to cheat the system. In my opinion, it's not that bad, as you're getting a general overview of your health and fitness level.
I chose "community service" and applied for a place at the Austria Red Cross.
The Red Cross in Austria does something completely different than in other Countries. In Austria, they are organizing the medical rescue system. I will get into detail on another post how this works exactly, as it's a little bit complex. :)
Going forward, after the examination I worked at a company for about half a year before my duty started. Two of the nine months are paramedic training (theory and practice). Also a Topic for another post :)
After the initial two months, you are a paramedic according to Austrian laws. The following months consist of hours and hours of ambulance and rescue operations.
When you're finished you can choose to stay as voluntary. And as you might guess, I chose so.
I did this decision about five years ago now and I'm grateful I chose this path.
To close this, a few statistics (because who doesn't like them :)):
Every year I do about 1200 hours and about 7000 kilometers. Mainly on Monday and Wednesday nights.
Why I'm doing that is also a topic for another day :)