Hi, Crunchy Mama!
By the way, I first had to look up what crunchy means. For similarly ignorant people like me, there's a rather good definition here:http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=crunchy
Well, can't judge how good it is actually, but at least it's very interesting...
If I may introduce myself - I'm a crunchy mama, too (now that I know what it means) and a German homebirth midwife. So I might be able to answer that question about training in Germany.
In Germany anybody who wants to become a midwife (whether she wants to work in a hospital, in a birth centre or attend homebirths in the future) has to go through the same training. The training lasts three years and takes place at special midwifery schools. Midwifery schools are attached to hospitals. So the theoretical part of the education (about 2/5 of the over all time) is done at the school and the practical part (about 3/5) is done mainly in the hospital. There is only a short duration of time allocated to shadowing/assisting an independent midwife, usually about 6 weeks. Both the practical and the theoretical part are full time and in addition to that the practical part is mostly shift work.
On completion of the three years and several examinations (oral, written and practical) one receives a midwifery certificate, which is NOT an academic degree. The German certificate is recognized in all other EU countries and usually recognized in New Zealand, Australia, Canada and many other countries as well. It is, however, as far as I know, not or not easily recognized in the U.S., just as U.S. midwives are not or not easily recognized in the EU. There might be ways around that, though, which I would advise to investigate beforehand.
I am not sure what the midwifery schools idea is on foreign applicants, but generally it should be possible to apply if you are fluent in German and if you can prove that you have got a school diploma that is equivalent to "Mittlere Reife" (=successfull completion of 10 grades in the German school system). A high school diploma should normally be deemed equivalent, I suppose.
It is best, however, that you enquire about the conditions directly at the school. Their address is:
Staatl. Berufsfachschule für Hebammen
am Klinikum der Universität München
Tel.: +49 89 5160 - 4261
Fax: +49 89 5160 - 4912
A little warning: There are usually about 50 or so applicants for each place at a midwifery school. It helps to distinguish oneself from others, e.g. if one has spent some time shadowing a midwife.
Another little warning: They are not usually enthusiastic about applicants with small kids.
One more little warning: Working as a student midwife in a German hospital is usually emotionally exhausting.
On the plus side: Despite of all, it can be done! I managed and thousands of others managed as well, so if you really want to, you'll manage, too!
And a very big bonus: Midwifery schools do not charge school fees. In fact, you will even get a modest little salary for the practical work you do in the hospital.
Hope that was of some help to you! If you want to know more, ask!