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"You get to live with a host family so that you’re really in the culture, not just viewing the culture from a tourist point of view."
– Fiona Oweke, CBYX Alumna
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Appreciating the Small Moments

CBYX 2015 – 2016 participant Noah A., reflects about what he's valued from his time with CBYX.

Looking back on my exchange so far, I think I've really done a good job of getting the most out of my time here. Without giving it a second thought, some people might think that means I've travelled all around Europe or taken a trip every other weekend. However, what that really means to me is that I have lived my life here in such a way that it doesn't feel like vacation, but instead, simply as if I am living my life in Germany instead of in the US.

This scholarship has given me this opportunity to live my life in Germany and it is an opportunity few people ever receive. I think one of the biggest lessons I've learned this year is how different it is to experience a country as a tourist, or even as a short term exchange student, and to experience a country as someone living there and taking part in day to day society.

A few months into the year, I thought that meant a country would slowly lose its charm. What used to be something new and exciting became typical as it transformed from a dream to real life. Now that my exchange year is entering its last quarter, I am starting to realize that everything being so real makes it even more beautiful, as I have the opportunity to appreciate the smaller things in life.

After having my view of Germany radically changed, I am finally starting to feel like it is home here and as if I was going to be spending the rest of my life here, instead of in the U.S. The next few months in this regard are offering a sort of dilemma. On the one hand, I have a great number of events planned from a sailing trip on the Baltic Sea, to a concert with one of my favorite German artists, but yet, despite all of these exciting events, I am a bit afraid for the next months to come, because I know that along with all these great times comes an ever nearing departure date.

In conclusion, I'd like to share a question my German math teacher asked me a few weeks back. He said: "Noah, are you looking forward to going back?" I responded, "No, but when the time comes, I think I'll be ready." Just like I tried not to dwell on my life in the U.S. when I first arrived here in Germany, I think it is important that wherever life sends me, whether I like it or not, that I focus on living in the moment and appreciate all the beauty around me that I possibly can.

Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange © Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange
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