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From German Wanderjahr(journeyman’s year), from wandern(wander, trek) + Jahr(year).


  • IPA(key): /ˈvɑn.də(ɹ)ˌjɑː/, IPA(key): /ˈwɑn.də(ɹ)ˌjɑː/


wanderjahr (plural wanderjahrs or wanderjahre)

  1. A year-long period of travel; especially succeeding one’s education and prior unto seeking employment.
  2. (historical) A year spent by an apprentice travelling and honing his skills prior unto the professional practice of his trade.


  • 1927, Harold Speakman, Mostly Mississippi, page 271
    “…In Europe, after college they have a Wanderjahr. Well, this is a Wanderjahr. It’s … wonderful!”
  • 2003, John Allen, Homelessness in American Literature: Romanticism, Realism and Testimony, page 3:
    [W]ith wandering blind Homers, peripatetic Cynics, homeless rhapsodists, drifting jongleurs, mendicant goliards, rhyming beggars, fluent picaros, itinerant preachers imitating Christ, literary students on a wanderjahr, restless romantic poets, footloose folk singers, exiled revolutionary memorialists, artistic mariners, professional literary hobos and aspiring hitchhiker novelists – among others! – large parts of our significant literature have found the muse on the road, if not down-and-out in the streets. (77)
  • 2005, Gore Vidal et alios, Conversations with Gore Vidal, page 3:
    The Judgment of Paris is an account of a young American’s wanderjahr in Europe, crowded with amusing characters and incidents.