Host Family Experience: A host dad reports

Experiences from Germany

Donald Vogel is a member of the board of SAGE Net Germany and has a wealth of experience on the subject of “host families“. In the interview, he now reports on his impressions and talks about his own experiences as a host dad.

Interview with Donald Vogel

“As a guest dad, I was 40 years old. I still remember it fondly today, some 25 years later. As I myself was an exchange student for 1 year in the USA (as were my three children – one of them not in the USA, but in New Zealand), I think it is only right that we too have taken in an exchange student for 1 year. After all, exchange ideally involves mutual hospitality. 

Our guest daughter came from South Africa, was 19 years old at the time and intensified the already curious relationship we were beginning to develop with this country. She also contributed a little to my later involvement in volunteering for SAGE Net for many years and continues to do so. 

Since our time as host families in the student exchange program, we have hosted people who were previously strangers to us, mostly from South Africa, for shorter periods of time on at least a dozen occasions. We have experienced a lot of hospitality in South Africa. 

My conclusion so far about these diverse exchange experiences is clearly predominantly positive. I wanted to express this in the interview conducted with me by an exchange student.”

Voluntary service in Germany

A home away from home, the possibility for the volunteers to arrive and feel secure, even if the new environment, culture and mentality in Germany are unfamiliar at first. This is something that probably all Weltwärts South-North volunteers hope for. At SAGE Net e.V., the mentors, the office team and the contact persons at the volunteer sites work as hard as possible to ensure that these positive feelings can arise for the volunteers. However, none of this would be possible without our host families. 

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