UWA partnering with CBYX for German Exchange Student opportunity
The University of West Alabama is partnering with an exchange program to bring two students from Germany to study at UWA. The program seeks families within a one hour driving distance of UWA’s campus in Livingston who wish to host a German student for the 2019-2020 school year. Anyone who is interested in serving as a host should sign up for the opportunity by June 28.
The program gives hosts an opportunity to learn a new culture while also sharing local culture. Through the exchange, communities benefit from exposure to international perspectives.
“The Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals (CBYX) is funded by the U.S. Department of State and is administered by Cultural Vistas,” explained Ingrid Galinat, assistant director of International Programs at UWA. “The reciprocal fellowship gives 75 German young professionals the opportunity to live with an American host, study at a local college, and complete a six-month paid internship in their career fields.”
Host may receive a monthly stipend to help enrich the experience and provide opportunities or amenities. Hosts are expected to provide two meals a day and a private bedroom for the student while welcoming him or her into their family and sharing their culture.
“A wide variety of hosts are invited to participate, including single adults, families, empty nesters, young couples, and more,” Galinat said. “The participant is expected to be active in the family life with the host and to be responsible for household chores and other practical needs. The participants pay for their own personal expenses, such as cell phones, vehicles, and insurance.”
Participants in this year’s cycle will arrive in Alabama in August 2019 to begin studying at UWA for the fall 2019 semester. They will begin paid internships in January 2020, continuing through June 2020, and they will travel in July 2020.
Exchange participants range in age from 18 to 24. They are selected by a German member of Parliament to be a cultural ambassador to the United States. They represent many different backgrounds and fields across Germany.
Those who have served as hosts for German exchange students studying at UWA say that they have enjoyed the experience and learning more about other cultures, while also gaining a new perspective and insight on the local culture as seen through a new perspective in their home.
Stefan, a 21-year-old student who plans to study at UWA and is looking for a host family, is in the third and final training year for an IT program. He plans to enhance his abilities and education because the basic occupation in his field seems restrictive to him.
“I am lucky to get the chance to take part in this wonderful exchange, and I am really looking forward to this great experience,” Stefan said. He enjoys gathering with his family for birthdays and holidays, and he says he looks forward to taking part in his host family’s activities.
Stefan said that he looks forward to learning more about American culture, including cooking and finding balance between foods he enjoys and foods that are healthy. He enjoys sports, outdoors, cooking, and he even says he’s looking forward to helping with household tasks and chores. He places emphasis on being neatly-groomed and taking care of his physical health.
Lukas will be 23 when he arrives in the U.S., and he currently works at the Bavarian Agency of Taxes, overseeing the agency library of tax literature. He started attending evening school after work four years ago to be able to study, and now that he has been chosen, he can hardly wait for the new experience.
“The political aspect of the program is very interesting for me,” Lukas said. “I will be able to broaden my horizons and learn about the differences and similarities of America and Europe. This is a priceless advantage that I will live with a host family because I can experience life in the USA firsthand.”
Lukas enjoys cycling, hiking and swimming, as well as theatre, movies, museums and road trips. He has been a volunteer for the Lutheran Church as a youth leader for many years. Lukas describes himself as a healthy, tidy non-smoker who is happy to help around the house, although he says he isn’t good at crafts. He would prefer to be at a home without a dog inside.
The deadline to sign up for becoming a host is June 28. To know more about UWA’s partnership with CBYX and hosting a German exchange student in your home, contact Ingrid Galinat at email@example.com or 205-652-5509. More information is available at CulturalVistas.org/CBYX/Host.