Open Door International e.V.Programs in Germany

Exchange Year in Germany
Life-long friendships and partnership

Through our exchange programs in Germany we wish to help foreign young people, host families, host schools, etc. to develop life-long friendships and partnerships while they are broadening their own horizons. With our dense and experienced network of local representatives all over Germany you and your participants benefit from our bundled experience as well as from our permanent and close contact to the adolescents and their host families.

High School Programs Germany

Every year, Open Door International e.V. (ODI) welcomes many students between the ages of 14 and 18 who attend a German high school and live in a host family in a time span of one to ten months. Each student's needs and interests are different and specific and so is the choice of programs we offer.

The general idea stays the same: We at ODI will help you and your students to make their stay in Germany a most enriching experience, to provide them with a warm and welcoming ambiance and to smooth their way into our country, our language and our culture.

Program Details

Students who join the intercultural exchange of ODI in Germany live with a thoroughly selected German host family and share their everyday life. Attending the local high school is an essential part of this experience. In most cases, the student will go to school with the children of the host family, making new friends at school as well as in the family circle. 

It is the goal of our long-term programs that the exchange students feel at home in Germany. Our host families open their home not for a guest student, but for a new, temporary member of the family. Students attend the local public school, in most cases together with the children of their host family.
The program exceeds by far the improvement of linguistic skills. Once a student is fluent in the German language, they will start discovering the German culture and form friendships that may last a lifetime. The participants will begin to see Germany as their second home and might return to Germany to continue their education or professional career. This program combines the adventure of living in a foreign country with a safe and affectionate family life.

ODI is offering the following types of programs:

  • Academic Year Program (AYP)
  • Academic Semester Program (ASP)
  • Academic Trimester Program (ATP)

We at ODI are very flexible and offer individual homestay programs for students outside the time frame of our long-term programs. Currently stays between 2 and 10 weeks are possible. Contact us and we will offer you a tailored program which will meet your wishes and expectations.

  • Age: between 14 and 18 years at the start of program (other ages at request)
  • Language skills: We do require a minimum of 250 hours of German lessons. If the student has got less German knowledge, or if we have got the impression that the language skills are not sufficient, he or she has to attend the German course at the beginning of the program (four weeks).
  • An above average academic record

Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX)

The Congress Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX) was established by the German Bundestag and the US Congress in 1983 on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of German immigration to North America. It is the program’s goal to improve and intensify the relations and connections of Germany and the United States. This can be achieved best by expanding mutual youth exchange. 

Students who join the intercultural exchange of ODI in Germany live with a thoroughly selected German host family and share their everyday life. Attending the local high school is an essential part of this experience. In most cases, the student will go to school with the children of the host family, making new friends at school as well as in the family circle. 

All participants of the program are high school graduates and about 17-18 years old. Some of them have participated in vocational programs and thus already have work experience in a certain field which they want to expand through this program.

All participants take part in an intensive orientation seminar on Georgetown University campus, Washington DC. Upon their arrival in Germany, the program’s participants will spend two months studying German at a language academy in Bonn where they are living in German host families. They also participate in intensive intercultural training and regional studies.

After the intensive language training, the scholarship students will intern at German business and attend a German vocational school or high school, while living with a host family. Their school attendance and their internships are considered of great importance to German-American relations.

Since 1985, OPEN DOOR Students Exchange USA (now Nacel Open Door Inc.) has been commissioned with the task of choosing the vocational high school graduates and preparing them for their participation in this program. Since the year 93/94, OPEN DOOR Student Exchange e.V. (now Open Door International e.V.) has been supervising the students’ stay in Germany, in which members of the Bundestag serve as sponsors.

Visit our partner NOD’s website for further information: How do I apply for the CBYX program? 

Internships in Germany

ODI arranges short internships in Germany for undergraduates from all over the world. The participants are between 18 and 30 years old and carefully selected by our long-term partners abroad. They will gain their work experience in companies, organizations or institutions of different work areas in Cologne.

Overall, a stay in Germany for up to 3 months is possible. For participants with knowledge of the German language below the level B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, the internship is combined with a language course.

During their stay in Germany the young adults will be living with a selected host family and therefore get the opportunity to develop some personal friendships and contribute to cross-cultural understanding in the 21st century. Regardless of social, cultural and religious backgrounds, ODI provides the opportunity to plunge into the German working world and to gain practical experience in their subject of choice.

The participants acquire both knowledge of a foreign language and useful cultural skills and furthermore learn to overcome prejudices, limitations and conflicts. Thus, the interns as well as the host families and the host company contribute to the German welcoming culture and cross-cultural understanding around the world.

  • Assistance in creating the necessary application documents
  • Assistance in applying for a work permit / visa
  • Organization of a 4- or 8-week language course (if required)
  • Internship placement of choice in Cologne
  • Accommodation with a selected host family (half board)
  • Insurance and supervision during the entire stay
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