Cultural Vistas Blog

Enriching Classrooms from Dresden to Honolulu | Teacher Profile: Verena Mellein

When most people think Hawaii, they think tropical paradise. The image that comes to their mind features stunning beaches, clear ocean, and beautiful skies.

That’s not the case for Verena Mellein, whose first thoughts of the Aloha State are of a classroom full of energetic and passionate 11th graders who are increasingly eager to learn about the world.

The Dresden, Germany native is currently in Honolulu teaching humanities at the Pacific Buddhist Academy as part of the Cultural Vistas’ Teach USA program, which affords experienced international educators opportunities to teach in accredited primary and secondary educational institutions in the United States for up to three years.

Dresden native Verena Mellein and fellow teachers at the Pacific Buddhist Academy in Honolulu.

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A Stronger Indo-Pacific, A Stronger World

Complex challenges require creative approaches. It is no surprise that when you bring bright minds and young leaders from diverse backgrounds together in one room, you will often walk out with stronger, more innovative, and sustainable solutions.

Knowing this, the Advancing Long-term Leadership Initiative (ALLI): Indo-Pacific Summit held recently in Tokyo united young leaders from the Indo-Pacific region to learn new skills and collaborate on common issues facing their countries.

This past December, 43 U.S. government exchange program alumni from Australia, India, Japan, South Korea, Timor-Leste, the United States and all ten Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states came together for a two-day workshop focused on strengthening the Indo-Pacific identity.

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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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