Hi everyone! My name is Jamauri Bryan. I am currently a member of the 38th cohort of the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals (or CBYX for short!) I am originally from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science in Family, Youth, & Community Sciences. I had never been to Germany or studied German before CBYX, but I became interested in the country back in 2019.
During my senior year of college, I became good friends with a German exchange student from Aachen. Towards the end of the semester, he encouraged me to consider visiting Germany in the future. Shortly after, I found out about CBYX after searching for international fellowships online. As a first-generation and low-income college student, I initially did not think I had the credentials or the experience to participate in a program like CBYX. However, with a bit of encouragement from my family and friends, I decided to throw my hat into the ring. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, after all!
After what seemed like an eternity of waiting after interviewing, I finally got my acceptance email! To this day, I thank God for allowing me to be in such an amazing country!
Becoming a Young Ambassador in Saarbrücken
In normal circumstances, CBYX cohorts meet in DC for orientation. However, due to Covid, the 38th cohort of CBYX had a virtual orientation, and we all met in DC several hours before heading to Germany. As young ambassadors, we are increasingly reminded of what it meant to represent the US and how our identities might shape our experiences abroad.
During the first two months of the program, I spent my time with 12 other CBYXers in Saarbrücken, the capital city of Saarland state. From 8:30 AM – 2:00 PM, we were enrolled in intensive German language courses to prepare us for life in Deutschland for the next year.
I think that that Saarbrücken was a great introduction to Germany as a whole. It’s a bit larger than a village but smaller than a larger city such as Stuttgart. My host family has lived in Saarland for most of their lives, and it was really fascinating to hear how much Saarland has changed since Germany’s reunification.
The greatest thing about being in Saarbrücken were some of the people I met. Students, young professionals, retirees, and many more! Some of the German students that I have met are very knowledgeable about global events, and we spent hours talking about the similarities between Germany and the United States.
Onward to Cologne!
After spending two months here already, I found it hard to say goodbye to Saarbrücken. During the last week, my classmates and I were treated to a German/Swiss Raclette Dinner by one of the host families. It was a great way to wrap up our experience in Saarbrücken.
Moving forward, I am excited to live with a host family and experience life in a big city like Cologne. I will be attending the University of Cologne and taking classes in Information Systems. Armed with my German knowledge, I am ready to continue my adventures in the North Rhine-Westphalia region!