When I tell people that I’m going abroad to Germany for a year, they immediately assume I’m going through Rotary or some other independent program. I thought it would be a good idea to explain the program for those who are unfamiliar with it.
CBYX stands for Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange and it was founded in 1983 as a way to strengthen ties between Germany and the United States through youth. CBYX is a full ride scholarship and is jointly funded by the US Congress and the German Bundestag (German equivalent of Congress), and is overseen by the U.S Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Every year 250 teens are selected from around the U.S. and about the same number are brought here from Germany. While abroad, we learn about the culture and language and bring the knowledge back to share with our peers.
In Germany, I will be placed with a host family that is matched to me based on general interests, attend a German high school, and try my best to act like any other normal German teen. Before we leave the country, we will have orientation and training in Washington D.C. and get to meet with Government officials to talk about what it means to be an ambassador. After arriving in Germany, there will be an orientation program in Berlin and then a month long language camp with the other scholarship participants. Throughout the year, the program will take us on educational excursions to the Bundestag to learn about German government and experience a political environment outside of the one we are used to.
I am so excited to learn about a completely new language and culture through a full immersion experience. I hope to gain new perspectives on global current affairs and German social, economic, and political life. But above all, I am excited to gain new friends, a new family, and a new home.