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3 posts categorized "Virginia Sun"

Applicants: Take the Leap!

You might be taking your third year of German and want to test those tongue twisters on real Germans. You might want to see if the bratwurst you tried at your German culture club is authentic.

Or you might not know a single word of German, or habe keine Ahnung (no idea) about the intricacies of German culture. You might have never stepped foot in Europe before! OK, I'll stop talking about myself and move on to what's important.


From those wonderful exchange magicians who made my dream of cultural exchange come true themselves:

As a Congress-Bundestag scholar, your exchange year will include:

  • Placement with a carefully selected German host family
  • Admission to a German high school
  • Pre-departure training in the United States and orientation programs in Germany
  • Meetings with government officials
  • Cultural excursions to the German Bundestag and select German cities
  • Supplementary language lessons upon arrival in your host community

My dear high school friends, get started on your application (due sometime in December or January)! The deadline varies by where you live in the US, so make sure you apply through your regional organization.

If you want to hear about how unbelievably great this program is from someone more official than an American teenager just livin' life and running her bike into trees in Berlin, take the leap and click here!

ALSO, check out what our current presidential candidate had to say about CBYX before she was our current presidential candidate:

"A testament to our relationship with Germany, and our mutual commitment to public diplomacy... CBYX has been so successful that we chose it as a model for other youth exchange programs." Former Secretary Clinton called exchanges like CBYX "an important tool of U.S. diplomacy. Few other experiences can substitute for seeing another country first-hand, learning more about its culture, meeting people face-to-face."

Cool, oder?

If you skimmed this and just want to watch a nice video about everything I said, I get that! Enjoy!

Check out my personal blog here:

Language Camp: Running in the Rain

21 Realizations for 21 Days of Friendship, Bonding, and Discovery

  1. My language camp friends sometimes roasted me (@Luke & Lucas), but there can also be moments late at night where we lie together on the grass under the glimmer of stars. We will go around the circle and give genuine, meaningful compliments to each other: about how America has indomitable work ethic, how Alexis really, truly listened to me talk about my Japan program, and how Sabrina played poker with rocks with me and meeting her was a turning point when I was feeling weird the first few days. That's a honey roast, and they are so, so sweet.
  2. Berries. berries.jpg
  3. You just always assumed everything in America is global market price. But there's good cheap chocolate here! And Haribo is like 50% more inexpensive. You just never questioned the prices. On the other hand, you went to the "America store" and Reese's are 15 euros, so I guess it balances out. Purchasing power parity is true as a general concept, but that doesn't mean all prices are the same
  4. Spiral staircases. I am pretty sure they are for construction or something but I still stop and take a picture at every one.
  5. Someone besides your mother will love you enough to hand-wash all your underwear and socks and dry them in the room and then buy chocolate and aforementioned berries while you are out having fun in town and you will come home and realize you just called your dorm in Schloß Wittgenstein "home". (I LOVE YOU SEAL AND SAV, YOU MADE IT HOME)!
  6. Language learning is for sure what you want to do for the rest of your life
  7. If you play music and yell words of encouragement when climbing through the woods from Bad Laaphse to the Schloss, it is more fun. Also, your step & stairs count on your fitness tracker will be so lit14369999_1182117898496525_2547614432790816006_n
  8. Running in rain that is pouring so hard you can't see anything with people you love so hard you want to stay out in it forever
  9. Döner kebab
  10. The supermarkets are different. You don't actually notice how, you are too blinded by the fact that you are in Germany and everything is in German, and all the people are (likely) German
  11. You can eat ice cream that looks like spaghetti or pizza and why did Americans never think of this?
  12. Ice cream flavors you never thought about before14329889_1182115178496797_6106741373139748046_n
  13. Sparkling water makes you feel alive, even though you thought it tasted gross in the US
  14. Stained glass windows
  15. Why are there no other youth in church except for the ones who need to get credit for confirmation?
  16. There's a city with Grimm's Brothers' Fairy Tales references14368657_1182115765163405_5882566805151770036_n
  17. A cool, chic second-hand bookstore will also have an old underground cave that you explore and which makes you whisper, "How lucky I am to be alive right now!" and your friends will understand the Hamilton reference 14333574_1182117605163221_1673205478720396255_n
  18. There's a reason people in town are confused when you say "Hallo!" to everyone you see. They didn't mean it literally when they say Germans always greet each other
  19. You thought you were an introvert, but now when you have free time you go look for other people to hang out with. Your Myers Briggs has changed from extroverted to introverted to back to extroverted oder...?
  20. You can go out into a new town in a new country accompanied only by the fearless Sav, who also speaks no German and not only survive, but have tons of fun
  21. You can be friends-best friends even-with people who are different from you. You will leave language camp yourself, but more, and with a fabulous, thrifted corduroy jacket from Luke, a teddy bear from Seal, Schultüten from Alexis and Sabrina with Sabrina's favorite Maomi candies, an origami heart from Nini, and overflowing handfuls of handwritten, heartfelt notes of friendship and love that you will put up in your room next month when you miss the people you ran in the rain with

Check out my personal blog here:

New Oceans: An Introduction


“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” -Andre Gide

There’s something both scary and beautiful about leaving everything and everyone you know to start a new life in a new country. In a few days, I will start the journey of a lifetime. To say I am excited is an understatement; my dream of integrating into a new community, learning a new language, and trying new things (from döner to speaking German) is coming true. For that, I am eternally grateful to the State Department and all my family and friends who have supported me on my quest for cross-cultural bridge building.

As a recent graduate, CBYX is my gap year between high school and university. Even though I joke that 4 years of high school wasn’t enough, I’m actually incredibly excited to start my life as a German high school student. I love learning, and I’ll have a chance to learn entirely for fun and take risks within the classroom. I’m excited to grow from making (and laughing at) my mistakes as I navigate my new life in Oranienburg, Germany, which is near Berlin.

In search for new oceans, I’m leaving behind a loving family, a beautiful community in Northern Virginia (near D.C.), and wonderful friends from a mix of high school, summer programs, church, and serendipitous friendships just meant to happen. Back home, I enjoy rollerblading, playing Settlers of Catan, reading, piano, language-learning, baking, and a lot more! However, I’m excited to start new activities; Hopefully I’ll come back from Germany with some cool knitting or ukelele skills.

Before I leave, I’m writing a letter to myself to remind myself of my goals when times are tough. I know this program is exactly what I want to be doing with my life (basically a dream come true), but I also recognize that at some point culture shock will hit me, which means I’ll experience feelings of isolation and dysphoria (I just learned this phrase today; It means dissatisfaction and disillusionment).

Here are some of my goals!

  1. Take risks
  2. Be vulnerable
  3. Say yes to everything

The next time I write I’ll be at language camp, making friends with people I have yet to meet and eating food in a continent I have never visited before. Wish me luck and the courage to leave the only shore I’ve ever known. Bis später!




Caption: I couldn’t resist befriending this globe statue in D.C, which is near my hometown!