Cultural Vistas Blog

On the Ground with CBYX: Will Finds an Internship and Mentor in Germany

FiFrohes neues Jahr – Happy New Year to all of you!

My name is Will Thomas. I am a current 2019-2020 program participant with the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals, a yearlong exchange fellowship in Germany sponsored by the German Bundestag (Parliament) and the U.S. Congress and funded by U.S. Department of State and the German Parliamentary administration.

This is my third post providing on-the-ground perspectives from the program. If you don’t know much about CBYX yet, make sure to read my first impressions from the program here as well as my perspectives on the language training phase here.

In this post, I’ll be sharing my adventures and challenges from the internship phase of CBYX program to Germany. Starting a new internship and beginning the new year 2020 in Tübingen has been a new chapter in my time here. It’s been a big relief too because at the beginning of my program, landing an internship in Germany seemed the scariest and most challenging part of it.

Finding internships in the United States can be hard but finding one in an entirely different country where you don’t even speak their language seemed near impossible. Luckily, I had countless people helping me out along the way.

Will Thomas, pictured here on a visit to Stuttgart, is currently interning in Germany as part of the 2019/20 Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals.

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All Fake?! Why We Need to Talk About Disinformation

In May 2019, the Journalism in the Era of Disinformation (JED) Fellowship brought together eight aspiring journalists from the U.S. and eight aspiring journalists from Germany to discuss disinformation and ways to combat it during a week long study tour in the U.S.

As one of the eight journalists, there were many important lessons that I learned along the way, the most important one being how crucial it is to talk openly and critically about the challenges in today’s media landscape.

First Stop – the U.S. Capital

Our first stop of the journey in the U.S. was Washington, D.C., where the fellows connected, learned about each other’s respective backgrounds and discovered interesting insights about journalism in Germany and the U.S.

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Will Gets His Ducks in a Row During CBYX Study Phase in Tübingen

Hey! I’m Will Thomas, a current Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals participant in Germany.

Frohe Weihnachten und ein glückliches Neues Jahr! Merry Christmas and a happy New Year to everyone! We’re not quite there yet, but it’s coming soon, and Germany is certainly already in the mood, but I might be getting ahead of myself…

My name is Will Thomas. I am a current 2019-2020 program participant with the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals, a yearlong  fellowship in Germany funded by the German Bundestag and U.S. Department of State. This is my third post providing on-the-ground perspectives from the program. If you don’t know much about CBYX yet, make sure to read my first impressions from the program here as well as my perspectives on the language training phase here.

In this post, I wanted to share my experiences from the study phase of the CBYX program to Germany—where participants complete coursework at local universities and are required to take part in volunteering.

If you enjoy reading about my experience, consider applying for the next program! The annual CBYX program application deadline is on December 1.

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Eight Ways We Fulfilled Our Mission in 2019

It has been a busy year for our team and for all Cultural Vistans—what we view as our larger global community of exchange alumni, hosts, partners, and supporters throughout the world.

As I reflect on 2019, I am filled with immense pride for the impact we continue to make on the lives and careers of thousands of individuals and sincere gratitude for all those who make this impact possible.

This year, we have made incredible strides and successfully laid a deep and strong foundation that will allow us to expand and extend our global influence in 2020 and beyond.

Below I am pleased to share a glimpse into the thousands of lives we influenced and what we accomplished together with your support throughout 2019:

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Alumni Profile: Lela Akiashvili ’18 – From #MuskieIntern to Human Rights Leader

She now runs intricate multi-component programs at the Georgian Human Rights Secretariat, but Lela Akiashvili’s first project at the age of eight was to take care of her siblings. While other kids her age watched cartoons and played games, Lela learned valuable lessons of compassion and care by supporting her siblings while their parents were away.

It’s not surprising that she grew up to be kind and caring, developing a career working on establishing and managing social justice and equality programs for Georgian women and children. From learning life lessons with her siblings, to starting a nonprofit human rights organization at her university, to working at Save the Children and the UN—Lela’s thoughtfulness and empathy have inspired her career choices throughout her life.

Celebrating International Children’s Day with national minority and IDP communities in Georgia.

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