Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals (CBYX)?
This year-long program, funded by the German Bundestag and U.S. Congress through the U.S. Department of State, annually provides 75 young professionals with a strong interest in cultural exchange with the opportunity to study, work, and live with a host in Germany. The CBYX program consists of two months of German language school; four months of classes in your career field at a university, technical school, or professional school; and a five month internship in your career field. Participants are placed throughout Germany on this scholarship program. CBYX is primarily designed for business, engineering, technical, vocational, and agricultural fields, though applicants from all fields may apply. Applicants from community and technical colleges are especially encouraged to apply.

Do I need to speak German?
No. The program has two months of language school upon your arrival in Germany. We strongly recommend that applicants and participants have some German language skills prior to departure, but we always have a few participants every year who speak little or no German. Regardless of language proficiency, all participants complete language training.

What career fields are best suited for the Congress-Bundestag program?
The program is primarily designed for business, engineering, technical, vocational, and agricultural fields. Applicants from all fields may apply, though a background in one of these fields is ideal (also in combination with a more academic field such as German or political science).

What will I need to pay for?
Although this is a scholarship program, participants must pay for their transportation to the orientation seminar in Washington, D.C. and for all of their transportation from the evaluation seminar in New York City at the end of the year. Participants also need to bring spending money for the year—we suggest EUR 250–300 per month for the duration of the program. This money covers personal items, entertainment, and some food. It does not include large purchases or travel. It is possible that the participant will be required to use some of this personal money to cover basic living expenses during the internship phase, in the case that the salary or the stipend provided does not cover them.

Can I still receive financial aid while participating in the program?
Most organizations will not continue to provide financial aid as they require the name of the academic institution the participant will be attending. This information is generally not available until September of the program year; however, Cultural Vistas can assist in obtaining a loan deferral due to financial hardship. We will provide a letter confirming participation in the exchange and detailing the financial aspects of the program. While Cultural Vistas is not authorized to grant these deferrals itself, participants have been very successful in the past in obtaining a deferral on the basis of financial hardship, and Cultural Vistas can support applicants who hold a Bachelor’s Degree by completing an Education Related Deferment Request Form (following acceptance to the program).

What kind of assistance will I receive while in Germany?
Our partner organization, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH, is headquartered in Bonn and is responsible for placements and organizing the seminars in Germany. Additionally, each Bundesland has a regional representative who is responsible for finding host families, assisting with the participant’s internship search, and helping to resolve any issues that may arise.

Where would I live in Germany? Can I choose where I want to go?
Placements are made by our partner organization in Germany. Participants are placed in areas where there are educational possibilities comparable to field of study, where participants are likely to find internships in their field, and where suitable housing arrangements can be made. If a participant is able to set up an internship in Germany by a mid-Spring deadline (i.e., from the United States), they will take this into consideration. Otherwise they are not able to accommodate placement preferences.

Can I get college credit for the schooling part of the program?
Cultural Vistas cannot assist in seeking credit for the schooling portion of the program. Because the school placement is not finalized until September of each year, and because German course offerings often change at the last minute, no information can be provided to your college before your departure. It is also often the case that you will not finish the semester before the work phase of the program begins. Some participants do, however, negotiate with their registrar or professors at home and in Germany to complete special projects and earn grades in Germany or credit at home. This applies to both the language and professional study.

Is there a standard list of internships that participants choose from?
No. Participants must look for their own internships in their city and its immediate surroundings. Participants receive guidance from their regional representative in Germany but are expected to take the initiative in the internship search.

What are the internships usually like?
Internships vary depending on field, previous experience, skills, and German language proficiency. German employers typically see internships as more of a learning opportunity than a short-term job, so don’t be surprised if you observe more than you perform. It is up to each participant to be realistic about his or her capabilities while making the most of the opportunities which present themselves.

How much do internships usually pay?
Compensation ranges from unpaid to generous salaries plus housing allowances. If the internship pays less than a certain amount (determined anew each year) program stipends continue to cover basic living costs. If the internship pays very generously, living costs are usually covered by the salary. In some cases, however, participants will be required to supplement their salaries with personal funds in order to cover living expenses (see above).

What would my housing be like in Germany?
The program is designed to house participants with German hosts. In some cases, participants live in student dormitories or in shared apartments. Participants are expected to integrate into family life, including taking part in family activities and household life.

Do I need to keep medical insurance?
The program will cover you for sickness and accident insurance while you are in Germany. It is important to note that the insurance does not cover pre-existing medical conditions, and only covers participants while they are in EU countries. The program insurance therefore will not cover you in the United States, and you will need to make sure you have insurance immediately upon your return to the United States.

Can I stay in Germany upon completion of the program?
All participants are required to return to the United States for the evaluation seminar in New York City. This is a U.S. Department of State grant supported cultural exchange that is funded for the purpose of promoting German-American friendship and assumes that participants will return to their native country to share their experiences upon completion of the program.

Am I eligible for other Cultural Vistas programs after I return?
Again, it is the desire of the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) that all participants will return to the United States to share what they have learned in Germany. While there is no official policy against CBYX alumni taking part in other Cultural Vistas programs, it is discouraged until participants have remained in the United States for at least two years.

Does my family or college have to host a German as part of the "exchange"?
While CBYX is not a direct exchange between families or colleges, many participants are able to get their family or college involved in the reciprocal side of the program. For more information, visit CBYX Host Information.

Does the CBYX program have an active alumni network?
Since 1983, over 18,000 young people have participated in Congress-Bundestag exchanges for high school students, vocationalists, and young professionals. Over 3,000 alumni have participated in CBYX for Young Professionals. CBYX alumni can visit the CBYX Alumni Community on the Department of State’s Alumni Network to get in touch with one another. For information on getting involved in the program again, and to find out more about alumni meetups and reunions, CBYX alumni can email Will Maier. Alumni can also join the CBYX for Young Professionals group on LinkedIn.

Who administers the CBYX for Young Professionals fellowship?
CBYX for Young Professionals is administered by Cultural Vistas, Inc. (formerly known as CDS International and the Association for International Practical Training) in the United States, and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH in Germany. These organizations are awarded grants to administer the program by the U.S. Department of State and the Bundestag Administration.

Does the CBYX Program have an active alumni network?
Since 1983, over 18,000 young people have participated in Congress-Bundestag exchanges for high school students, vocationalists, and young professionals. Over 3,000 alumni have participated in CBYX for Young Professionals. CBYX alumni can visit the CBYX Alumni Community on the Department of State’s Alumni Network to get in touch with one another. For information on getting involved in the program again, and to find out more about alumni meetups and reunions, CBYX alumni can email Will Maier. Alumni can also join the CBYX for Young Professionals group on LinkedIn.