Josephin Salewski, 24, is currently a student at COD, but is also a Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX) scholar. She has been here since August and is taking Spanish, French, and psychology classes.
The CBYX program was created to strengthen ties between Germany and the United States through citizen diplomacy. The program was founded in celebration of the 300th year anniversary of the first German immigration to the United States.
Salewski grew up in the capital of Germany, Berlin with her mother and father, where her mother is an elementary school teacher. Before deciding to apply for the program, Salewski had earned her Associates Degree as a multi-lingual assistant.
“I’ve always wanted to travel to America to study and see what it has to offer,” commented the exchange student.
1,300 German students applied this year and only 75 were chosen to participate. The application process starts over a year in advance and requires many tests and essays. The program kicks off with a four-day introduction in New York, then students are all sent to the state that was chosen for them. Salewski took an eight-hour train ride to arrive here where she met the host mother she would be living with in Carol Stream. CBYX requires scholars to work part-time and engage in a full load of classes their first semester, and only work full-time the second semester. Salewski is working part-time the COD Learning Commons and is looking for another part-time job.
Salewski’s journey has been full of new experiences such as celebrating a handful of American holidays. “I only knew what I saw in American movies. They turned out to be even better than the movies,” said Salewski about her first Thanksgiving and Christmas in the U.S.
As for New Years, Salewski was slightly disappointed.
“We have so many fireworks back in Germany for New Years Eve. It’s sad you guys can’t do that here,” she mentioned.
For fun during her stay here, she enjoys trying different restaurants, going to bars, movie theaters, and having relaxing wine nights with the friends she’s made at the college.
This weekend Salewski is excited to be visiting Wisconsin to go skiing with friends.
The exchange student will be returning to her hometown at the end of July this year, but before that the program allows the last three weeks for free time where the scholars don’t have to work or study. Salewski plans on taking a road trip all around America with friends to take advantage of the three weeks.
The program concludes with four days in Washington D.C. for a final seminar.
There are 75 Americans participating in the program currently studying in Germany. If you’re interested in applying, contact Bärbel Thoens-Masghati
2nd photo caption: Salewski hugging the Berlin bear back in Germany.
3rd photo caption: Salewski having fun in Chicago in the Willis Tower Skydeck. She enjoys experiencing all of what the city has to offer with the friends she’s made at the college.
Photos courtesy of Josephin Salewski