The Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals (CBYX) is a fellowship funded by the German Bundestag and U.S. Department of State that annually provides 75 American and 75 German young professionals between the ages of 18½–24 the opportunity to spend one year in each other’s countries, studying, interning, and living with hosts on a cultural immersion program. Separate CBYX programs not administered by Cultural Vistas include similar programming for high school and vocational students.
CBYX has weathered many challenges in its 37 years, but nothing like the one on March 12, 2020. Ironically, the same day Cultural Vistas held an organization-wide remote work trial, the U.S. State Department and German Parliament made the difficult decision to curtail the 2019-20 CBYX program due to the emerging pandemic. Each of our 150 participants on both sides of the Atlantic had to return home immediately. As the global pandemic worsened, the 2020-21 CBYX program would pivot to a fully virtual format.
Cultural Vistas Senior Director Dr. Daniel Villanueva and member of the CBYX for Young Professionals College Coordinators Council and merit scholarships advisor, Dr. Lori A. Felton (American University, Washington DC), here take stock and share key lessons learned a year on.