Hey, by the way...Ich wohne in Saarbrücken, Germany!
Thought I’d Kick things off here on the new blog with a quick update and explanation of what I’m up to.
I suppose if you aren’t one of my mom’s friends or don’t care about what I’m doing, you can just click on by, but I promised a lot of nice Idaho women I’d keep them updated so here we are…
I moved to Germany on August 1st as a member of the 38th cohort of the Congress Bundestag Youth Exchange or CBYX (I’m never writing out that whole name again). CBYX is an exchange program funded by the US State Department that offers study and internship opportunities to students and young professionals in the US and in Germany.
I have only just begun my time here in Germany but I am already having a wonderful time and learning so much! I will hopefully be sharing lots of stories and photos here in the future, but in the interest of getting a lot of information out quickly, here is a little Q and A about the program!
How did you learn about this program?
I found this program through my own study abroad research, however it has been around for a long time, so it is really reputable and is supported by many other organizations. I will link to the program website below if you are really interested in how the program was started or functions currently!
What was the application like?
There are usually around 700 people who apply for the young professionals program. The application involves general paperwork and a series of essays. They hold around 150 interviews. We did all interviews over zoom this year. Then, they offer 75 students spots in the program. From deciding to apply to finding out we were accepted was a 5 month process.
What do you do while you are there?
Great question, me. The program is a year long and is divided into three portions. The first is an intensive language school portion. Two months long, all german all the time. ;) Next we will complete a semester at a German University or Hochschule. When our studies are complete, we will find an internship in our field for 3-5 months.
One of the things that drew me to CBYX is that it encourages diversity of study and has participants in a large variety of fields. For my time here, I applied as an arts administration candidate. This means I will be studying arts and arts business and I will look for internships at museums and theatres and other arts and culture institutions.
Where will you be?
This has been my favorite question because it is by far the trickiest to answer. For much of the program we have not known where we were going to be placed. We found out about our language school locations about a month before we left for Germany. We found out what apartments or houses we would be in about a week before we left. And as far as the year long placement…. Well, we still don’t know. They have started to let us know where we will likely be, however, they still expect it to be a couple more weeks before anything is finalized.
But to give you more information about where I am now…. I am currently in Saarbrücken. It is the capital city of Saarland which is the smallest of the sixteen Bundeslandes of Germany. It has a population of around 180,000 people and is very close to the border of France. The town is really beautiful and so far the people have been incredibly kind. I am with a host family who have been just so wonderful and welcoming. They have 8 kids and 2 grandkids in the house/neighborhood, so it is an exciting change of pace from the quiet house I’m used to in Twin Falls. I can already tell I will be quite sad to leave.
It is really exciting to be a part of a program like this one which really stresses cultural exchange and diplomacy. It is thrilling to get to be so immersed in another culture and learning another language while still being a representative of my own country. I am really looking forward to all the phases of the program and learning and developing as I complete each one.
My goal for this blog is to post every week or two with stories, pictures, and things I learn. This way my mom has something to show her friends instead of just trying to abstractly explain why I fled the country for a year. And, as an added bonus, I will have a year's worth of memories to look back on in the end. If you are interested in following along please feel free to check back, or even subscribe below, and if not, there's always instagram :)
More to come….
Johannes Kirche in Saarbrücken ^
Day 1 of Language School ^
Bye Bye USA ^