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Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange

About

Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX) offers ambitious high school students the chance to join an exchange program in Germany for 10 months. Students will live with a host family, attend a German high school, and learn of the German language and culture, allowing for a full immersion experience. Sign up today to become a CBYX scholar!

Headquarters

United States

Reviews

Default avatar
Kailey
10/10

This was above and beyond the best year of my life. I’m almost positive that for the rest of my life, I will look back at this program and know that it is the turning point of my life. I grew up during this program and have since sought to get everything I can out of every experience. Pretty much everyone I keep in contact with from that program has also gone on to do incredible things. The support from the program was incredible, and the people they pair you up with are incredibly well-suited, which I think makes this program particularly unique. You also get to see the political side, and the organization strives to make sure you are educated on the culture and language so you are not simply ‘thrown to the dogs.’ That being said, they give you your space and independence, while still remaining in contact for support if you need it. I truly recommend this program to anyone looking to truly change their lives and that seek cultural enlightenment!

How can this program be improved?
What would make it better is simply something YOU, as the person studying abroad, can do: DROP THE SOCIAL MEDIA! Immerse yourself. If you don’t, you may have friends left that also studied abroad, but you won’t get to know the people there. To this day I am still close with friends I made while I was there, and it only happened because I wasn’t stuck on my computer and phone. We traveled places together and spent almost every night together. If you don’t get off the social media, you won’t get the true cultural immersion, and that’s the whole point of study abroad. Trust me, you’ll want to experience this, and CBYX is the best program to do it with, hands down.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Shawne
10/10

Absolutely the most rewarding, challenging, amazing experience of a lifetime!! I cannot say enough positive things about the year I spent living in Cologne, Germany. I never in a million years thought I would live in a non English speaking country, but doing so was more enriching than I could have ever imagined. I had constant support from the program, even through having to switch host families halfway through the year. Not only that, but I have built friendships that will certainly last a life time. My exchange year was 2001-2002 as a 17 year old girl, and I can honestly say that now, as a 31 year old woman, the experiences during this year sculpted me to be the person I am today in the most incredible ways. I would re live this year exactly the same a thousand times and never run out of wonderful things to say about the country, its people, or the memories I made while there

How can this program be improved?
I wish it was offered for college students too!
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Tyra
10/10

This program combined a whole bunch of elements that I have seen separately in other exchange programs--study, internship, homestay, volunteer work, and citizen diplomacy. The structure of the program really makes you be proactive in getting out to experience so many elements of Germany that I'm not sure many people get in their own countries. I was able to study at a German university, intern at a statistics company, volunteer with the German coast guard, meet members of the German parliament, attend some amazing festivals, and travel around the country to experience the other participants' lives in different parts of Germany. I was so busy living life that it can sometimes take a retrospective look to realize how incredible my opportunities were and how much I grew as a person and as a professional in my time spent on the CBYX fellowship in Germany.

How can this program be improved?
Some regions had advisers for the participants that were not necessarily invested in helping out unless the participants were in dire trouble. I know a lot of people learned a lot about how to figure out the German system on their own, but we were told that those people were there to help us--that was not always the case. Many of the regional advisers were fantastic, though, so that's not an all-around critique.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Kailey
10/10

Through the CBYX program, I had what was definitely the best year of my life. The people I met through the program - from America and in Germany - were some of the best people I've ever met. Most of them remain some of my best friends to this day, and have even come across the ocean to visit me! I never felt unsafe or out of contact with my program. The people managing the program were well-educated in their fields, helpful, extremely nice, patient and understanding. Germany itself is a fantastic country, with a colorful history and unimaginable beauty. The people there are genuinely nice and have respectable values, while still being able to have a very good time. You won't have to worry about finding a group of people to fit in with. Additionally, you will without a doubt find yourself growing and becoming a better, more mature person while you're there. Through my exchange I've gained a broader view of the world, an openness for cultural differences and a love for travel and language. This program has also opened many doors for me, boosted my résumé, and made me think about possibly studying (and even living!) in Europe someday. I'm convinced that my year abroad will remain one of the best years of my life, and I don't regret it for a minute.

How can this program be improved?
Though I understand that there are several safety concerns, there were many hoops to jump through to go somewhere with friends or school groups, and there was a lot of paperwork to fill out, some of which was very complicated and took quite some time to process.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
jraat
9/10

I was born in Germany, have family there, but grew up mostly in the United States. I wanted to spend a year in Germany after graduating from high school to improve my very basic German language skills. My 10 months abroad helped me do that and much more.

I was placed in Thüringen, Germany, in a town of about 5 thousand people. On hearing of my placement, I was disappointed I wasn't going to be living in a metropolis and a little nervous about being out in the middle of nowhere. In the end, though, my little town of Bad Klosterlausnitz became a second home.

I quickly felt myself at home mostly because of 1 important reason: my host family. My family was warm, welcoming, tolerant, and engaging. That last adjective can be explained well by the nearly weekly trips my family took me on to show me Germany (and even Austria twice!). We went to museums, festivals, concerts, river cruises, visited cities, countrysides, hiking and skiing in the mountains, castles, mines, Nazi concentration camps, palaces, churches...just about anything and everything.

I grew really close to with my host family. I continue to stay in contact by phone, email, facebook, and travel. I have since been back to visit for several days; I wasn't sure how things would have changed after a year, but things were unchanged.

Because I graduating from high school already, I didn't have to worry too much about my classes in German schools. I didn't get grades, but I did try to learn when I could. Some subjects where nearly impossible for me. Without either a strong background or the technical vocabulary, I basically ignored my biology and physics classes. I did really enjoy and/or get a lot out of my history, math, German, French, physical ed, and geography classes.

The orientations and support through AFS (provider of CBYX scholarship winner's programs in the northeast U.S.) were okay. Not great, because sometimes they were repetitive or unhelpful, but mid-stay and end-of-stay enrichment trips to Cologne & Bonn, and later Berlin were a blast. You'll love being with other CBYX students from the U.S. They are smart, engaged people who are on the same crazy adventure along with you. They were the best friends I made and stay in touch with them today.

Living in a new culture and trying to speaking a foreign language is never easy, but an experience like CBYX is a real privilege. It will push you in many ways. You'll grow personally, in your understanding of the world, and in your thinking. It may not happen until you return to the United States, but you will realize your time in Germany will have changed you forever. For one, you will from then on see the world as your oyster. You'll have a travel bug and will want to go everywhere on earth and try to experience everything this life has to offer. If you are thinking about going abroad to study, work, or live (whether with CYBX, a different program, or on your own), do it! It's one of the best decisions you can ever make.

Yes, I recommend this program

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