Mission Statement of Open Door International e.V.


Open Door International e.V. (ODI) is a non-profit association dedicated to the organization of long-term and education-oriented exchange programs. For more than 35 years we have been opening doors for intercultural encounters. 

It is our firm conviction to foster and strengthen international understanding by intercultural exchange. With our exchange programs we want to contribute towards eliminating prejudice, misunderstandings and conflicts and support tolerance between people. We therefore organize numerous intercultural encounters and programs for adolescents and adults regardless of their social, cultural and religious background. It is our personal endeavor to enable as many people as possible to participate in an exchange program. 

We deeply believe that our work contributes strongly towards an open and diverse society. Those participating in the ODI programs are enabled to take an active part in a democratic discourse. Our exchange programs, both at home and abroad, are supported by volunteers and play an important role in an active civil society. These programs help to combat xenophobia, racism and exclusion worldwide. Mutual knowledge of various cultures and experiencing those cultures are an enrichment for all our participants and their personal surroundings. Moreover, they promote the development of a tolerant attitude within our society.

As a non-profit organization, we strive to achieve our goals in a joint effort with staff members and volunteers, who are highly committed and enable intercultural exchange all across Germany. This network has existed for many years and it supports all participants during their exchange to achieve successful integration and the exchange experience. Individual counselling of all the exchange participants is the primary prerequisite for a successful exchange. The provision of continuous high-quality counselling is guaranteed by regular professional development training sessions for our staff members and volunteers. Transparent and honest communication within our organization as well as with our partners and institutions supporting our intercultural encounters is of great importance to us. 

The participants in our exchange programs experience the culture of their host country and carry out the role of ambassadors of their own country. Equally important is the role of our host families. They welcome international participants and let them be a part of their family. In this way, the host families support an authentic and unique intercultural experience.

We also wish to go beyond the realm of student exchange in order to make an understanding of other cultures possible. That is why we generally consider voluntary work as a personal challenge and an opportunity to broaden one’s horizon. Furthermore, this represents the opportunity for immersion into a foreign culture and gaining an intimate insight and appreciation of the intricacies and differences.

The acquisition of intercultural competences, the reflection upon one’s own and foreign cultures as well as the ability to find responsible-minded solutions to conflicts are central pillars of the exchange experience. Acquiring these sustainable competences enables access to other cultures – both today and in the future.

This intercultural understanding thus achieved also leads to the reduction of prejudice against other cultures and contributes towards a civil society commitment. This involvement in voluntary work encourages active participation in social life and with the values it imparts promotes tolerance and a deep understanding of our democratic values. 

As of January 2019

Please contact:


Open Door International e.V.
Thürmchenswall 69
50668 Cologne

Phone: +49 221 60 60 855 0
Fax: +49 221 60 60 855 19
Email: info@opendoorinternational.de
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