One of my most profound life experiences took place while participating in the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange Program (CBYX) from 1999 – 2000.
Fresh out of college, I spent one year in Germany participating in this exchange program for young professionals. I spoke German, but it is not a requirement for participation. I grew up; I learned a lot about myself; and I developed a love for the German language, culture and my own heritage.
Last week, my experience came full circle as I sat on a panel interviewing this year’s candidates. Wow, are they qualified. I found myself both excited and nervous for these kids about to embarque on this life-changing journey.
The Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals (CBYX) is a fellowship funded by the German Bundestag and U.S. Department of State, that annually provides 75 American and 75 German young professionals, between the ages of 18-24, the opportunity to spend one year in each other’s countries, studying, interning, and living with hosts on a cultural immersion program.
The program consists of three phases:
- Two months of intensive German language training
- Four months of classes in one’s academic or career field at a university, technical or professional school
- Five-month internships in one’s career field
CBYX is open to candidates in all career fields who are interested in a year of academic, professional, and cultural exchange.