"I went to Germany because I wanted to see the culture myself through fully immersing myself in it, rather than simply believing what I’ve heard and read. It was only through really getting to know the people so well that I was able to break down any stereotypes that I had about Germany, and vice versa. It’s very different coming to live with a host family than coming as a tourist. You feel like a real piece of the society. You’re directly in the culture, in the everyday life. My host family helped me get to know deeper aspects of the culture and really improve my German. They also instilled in me a Bavarian pride that I can’t let go of!"
"The influence of my exchange year can be observed from the classroom to the dorm room. I now plan to minor in German Language and Area Studies and concentrate my major, International Studies, in Europe and Eurasia. Though I've been back for over a year, I still see Germany as my second home. Therefore, I try to bring the German perspective into the discussion in many of my college courses, serving as a sort of ambassador for German culture in the United States.
My exchange year has also made a great impact on my adjustment to college socially. I'm thankful for my extra year in age and maturity, as my year abroad taught me to look not for the differences between me and my classmates, but the similarities. After having begun one school year abroad with complete strangers and ended it with several best friends, I have faith in my ability and the ability of humans to form even the most unlikely of relationships."
"I spent the academic year in Salzgitter, Germany with CBYX. When I returned, I decided to major in German with a concentration in Pre-Healing Arts at my college. After being back for two years, I had a strong desire to return to Germany and so applied for and received a grant to study Global Public Health. My host father, who is a doctor, helped me arrange an internship in a children’s hospital. Because I am already fluent in German from my year on CBYX, I was able to understand conversation in the hospital very well, and learned a lot by looking at the experience through a multicultural lens. This fall, I will be studying in Germany yet again, this time in Freiburg, where I hope to learn even more about Medical Policy, multiculturalism and globalization.
Traveling to Germany with CBYX in high school helped me so much in my transition to college. I was more mature than my fellow students and knew a lot more about my strengths and weakness. I would not have missed this experience for the world – it has helped me so much in becoming who I am today."
"Upon my return to the U.S., I have found my new German language skills indispensable at my University. The head German language professor had been in search of a language tutor before I enrolled, so now, even though I'm only a freshman, I now lead two German tutoring sessions per week at my University. I structure these tutoring sessions to not only teach the language using traditional methods, but also to apply the techniques I learned through immerson. When I was in Germany, I found that watching German TV shows, reading German comic books, and looking at German websites were the most helpful and successful methods for me. So I now use these methods to motivate and educate my students. My sessions attract the majority of the higher-level German language students at my University, and the German professor here has commended me on how much improvement he sees in the students. This volunteer service that I provide for the students was catalyzed by my time with CBYX in Germany."
"I have studied Spanish in school since second grade (10 years now) and still would not consider myself fluent in the language. On the other hand, I arrived in Germany with absolutely no experience with the German language. Nichts. By the time I left 10 months later, my German was about a hundred times better than my Spanish had ever been, all while completing my junior year in high school. In German there is a saying 'ich verstehe nur Bahnhof,' which translates directly as 'I only understand train station.' Before embarking on my CBYX exchange I didn't even understand ‘train station.’ Now I can successfully communicate with friends, teachers and family and my German language abilities are proficient if not fluent!"
"All the time, I’m asked what my favorite part of being an exchange student is. There are endless possible answers that jump to the front of my mind, but one sticks out just a little bit more than the others. I know, without a doubt, that the people I’ve met who’ve become such integral parts of my life, are the absolute best part of my year as an exchange student. From the friends I’ve made to the entire new family that I’ve been blessed with, I’ve met countless people who’ve taught me more about the world, myself, and different cultures than I ever could have hoped to learn. The people who I’ve made these lifelong connections with have taught me, without even knowing it, how to be a better friend, daughter, sister, and improve myself in all of my relationships. I’m confident that meeting these people has made me a better person and they will continue to be a part of my life for years to come. I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to meet such amazing people and I hope I’ve been able to make as positive of an impact on their lives as they have on mine."