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.
The program consists of three phases:
- Two months of intensive German language training
- One semester of classes in one’s academic or career field at a university, technical or professional school
- Three-month internships in one’s career field
CBYX is open to candidates in all career fields who are interested in a year of academic, professional, and cultural exchange.
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This funded fellowship opportunity annually covers basic living costs for all 150 participants (75 Americans + 75 Germans), including:
- Round-trip international airfare from Washington, D.C. to Germany
- Language school costs for two months of intensive German language study
- Tuition costs for four months of study
- Housing costs for host family, apartment, or dormitory during the pre-internship phases
- Note: program funding during the internship depends on earnings
- Monthly stipend to cover basic costs of living
- Program-related travel within Germany
- Health insurance in Germany
CBYX is open to candidates in all career fields, and applicants from a broad range of backgrounds are selected for the program each year. In accordance with the public diplomacy goals of the CBYX program, the selection committee aims to select a diverse group of 75 American participants each year.
Participants are expected to act as “young ambassadors” of the United States in Germany, and to represent the diversity of the U.S. in factors including, but not limited to, career field, educational background, geographic location, disabilities, ethnicity, gender, race, religion and socio-economic status.
- U.S. citizenship
- Ages 18½–24 at the start of the program
- High school diploma
- Must exhibit clear career goals and relevant experience in their career field
- Experience can be in the form of work, internships, or volunteering
- Strong interest in German and world affairs
- Prior German language knowledge is not required, but is preferred
Please note that previous scholarship recipients of U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA)-funded programs with a duration greater than eight weeks, including CBYX high school fellowships, are not eligible for this program.
How to Apply
All applicants must complete an online application and submit all supplemental materials by November 1 for the program year beginning the following July. A complete application consists of:
- Online application form; requiring copies of the following documents to be uploaded with your submission
- Copy of official transcript showing at least the last two years of study
- Proof of U.S. citizenship: passport or birth certificate
- High school diploma or proof of graduation
- Two letters of recommendation to be submitted
U.S. Department of State’s International Exchange Alumni
All alumni of the CBYX for Young Professionals program receive exclusive membership to the U.S. Department of State’s global International Exchange Alumni community, a dynamic and interactive networking website for past and current participants of U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs.
CBYX for Young Professionals Alumni Network
The CBYX for Young Professionals program boasts an alumni network of over 1,600-plus American participants and over 2,100 German participants. With a 35 year history, the CBYX Alumni Network includes individuals with expertise in a wide range of career fields, representing all 50 U.S. states, all 16 German Bundesländer, and now living all over the world.
Alumni of the program are encouraged to stay connected with one another via the official CBYX / PPP LinkedIn and Facebook groups. Additional event and networking opportunities are available via the Cultural Vistas Alumni Network.
CBYX is sponsored in the U.S. by the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, under the authority of the Fulbright-Hays Act of 1961, as amended. Cultural Vistas has administered CBYX for Young Professionals for over 35 years, together with its German partner organization, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH.
Intensive Language Training (August-September)
CBYX participants spend eight weeks studying German at the Carl Duisberg Centrum language school in one of three locations: Cologne, Radolfzell, or Saarbrücken. Participants are placed at the appropriate level, based on their German language abilities coming into the program and on their previous level of instruction, and they undergo intensive language training with other international students from around the world.
This phase of the program is designed to improve participants’ spoken and written communication skills as rapidly as possible, to prepare them for the study phase and for being completely immersed in German for the remainder of the program.
Study Phase (October-February)
Following completion of the language school phase, participants relocate to their permanent placement location for the remainder of the program. There, they will immerse themselves in German daily life and culture through studying and (later) interning in their career field. Between October and February, most participants study at a German university or Hochschule, gaining an understanding of the higher education system with regard to their career field.
Participants are expected to take a majority of courses taught in German, to further develop their vocabulary and practical knowledge related to their career field, while applying to internships in the area of their placement. Depending on their field and how it is traditionally taught in Germany, some participants may attend a Berufsschule (vocational school), or be placed in a hands-on work environment during the study phase.
In addition to attending courses during this phase, participants seek out and complete community service projects in the area of their placement. This volunteer work helps them gain a deeper insight into and make contributions to German society, while establishing personal and professional connections.
Internship Phase (March-June)
With the support of their regional program representative during the study phase, participants seek and apply to internship positions in the area of their permanent placement, and secure an internship that is ideally directly related to their career fields. Beginning in March, they complete a three-month internship in a German-speaking work environment, ideally at a company or organization directly related to their career field.
Internships and the companies in which participants complete them are as varied as the career fields represented by the group of 75 participants.
CBYX for Young Professionals is especially suited to participants in business, engineering, technical, vocational, and agricultural fields, though applicants from all career fields who have some relevant experience in their field are encouraged to apply.
Housing During the Program
CBYX was created by the U.S. Congress and German Bundestag as a public diplomacy program, to promote understanding between the people of the United States and Germany. As such, participants are expected to immerse themselves in German daily life, and to cultivate a deep understanding of Germany from an educational, professional, linguistic, and cultural standpoint.
To this end, participants are placed with a German host, in a German shared-apartment, or in a student dormitory, and are expected to take part in the daily life of the people with whom they live.
All placements (language school, permanent placement city, institution of study, and housing arrangements) are determined by the administering organizations. Placement decisions involve a number of factors, including fit with potential living arrangements, participants’ career fields, and the goal of this public diplomacy program to give a diverse group of Americans exposure to all regions throughout Germany.
Inside the CBYX Experience
CBYX Participant Profiles
- Aerospace Engineering
- Arts Administration
- Automotive Design and Production
- Automotive Engineering
- Baking and Pastry Arts
- Banking and Finance
- Brewing / Fermentation Science
- Chemical Engineering
- Civil Engineering
- Culinary Arts
- Electromechanical Engineering
- Environmental Engineering
- Fashion Design
- Film Production
- Food Science
- Graphic Design
- Industrial Engineering
- Information Technology
- International Business
- International Education
- Mechanical Engineering
- Neurological Research
- NGO / Non-profit
- Public Health
- Public Policy
- Renewable Energy Technology
- Software Engineering
- Sustainable Agriculture
- Technical Theater
- Trade & Logistics
- Urban Planning
Dr. Daniel Villanueva, Program Director
As Program Director, Dr. Daniel Villanueva coordinates the Cultural Vistas team selecting and preparing American participants for their year abroad in Germany as well as the services provided to German participants in the USA. He has long engaged in citizen diplomacy beginning in high school with the German American Partnership Program (GAPP) and has returned often for study, research, and internships over the years.
Daniel joined Cultural Vistas after two decades in Nevada higher education as German professor, Honors administrator, and grants coordinator at UNLV, then UNR and the Nevada Board of Regents. He has mentored countless “citizen-diplomats” as CBYX college coordinator and scholarships advisor, receiving a German-American Friendship Award for this and related transatlantic activities over the years.
Daniel earned a B.A. in German and International Relations from American University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in German Studies from Duke University. He is author and translator of several scholarly works in his research fields of language pedagogy and German Studies.
Professional affiliations include the National Collegiate Honors Council, National Association of Fellowships Advisors, Goethe Institute, and American Association of Teachers of German. He also volunteers with the World Affairs Councils of America and currently serves as Chair of the American Bundestag Network.
Max Flescher, Senior Program Officer
Max serves as Senior Program Officer for the Global Programs for Young Professionals department at Cultural Vistas, overseeing the inbound side of the Congress Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals.
Max began working at Cultural Vistas in 2013 as CBYX Program Assistant. Since then he has come to have primary responsibility for the entire inbound side of the program. He is responsible for placing all 75 German CBYX participants at colleges and with host families around the U.S. every year. Max also helps to plan and run CBYX orientation and evaluation seminars in New York City, Washington D.C., and in Germany as well as the annual Civic Education Workshop in Washington, D.C.
Max is an Alternate Responsible Officer (ARO) for the Student Exchange and Visitor Information System (SEVIS) in charge of maintaining the CBYX participants’ profiles. He is also in charge of running the Congressional Internship Program each year, which places five CBYX participants with congressional internships on Capitol Hill.
Max graduated from Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and German Studies. During his junior year, Max studied abroad for eight months in Regensburg, Germany. Max is originally from Raleigh, North Carolina.
Rachael Agnello, Program Officer
Rachael Agnello is Program Officer on the CBYX team. She is the primary Cultural Vistas point of contact for the outbound American participants from application through selection and beyond, as well as being the primary staff member facilitating development and expansion of the CBYX Alumni Association.
Rachael is herself a proud alumna of the CBYX for Young Professionals program in 2015-16, the 32nd program year, and was hosted in Mainz, Germany. Other international experience includes a year in Norway with Rotary International at age 15, living with host families in Norway (Jessheim, just north of Oslo.)
Rachael originally hails from Pittsburgh, PA. Before working at Cultural Vistas, she was employed by the American Council on Germany where she worked on national outreach programming. She graduated with a double major from George Mason University where she was an Honors College student and a University Scholar, in Economics and Conflict Analysis and Resolution.
Fiona Laux, Program Officer
Fiona currently serves as a Program Officer for the CBYX Young Professionals program. In this role, she works on elements of both the outbound program for American participants and the inbound program for German participants.
She began at Cultural Vistas in 2019 and has previously worked as part of the Program Development team as both an Assistant Program Officer and Administrative Assistant.
Fiona has a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Affairs and Political Science from Northeastern University. While at Northeastern, she completed six-month internships in Boston, Berlin and Mexico City as part of the co-op program. She also studied for a semester in Lima, Peru. In Boston, she worked on the implementation of job training programs for immigrants and refugees at the International Institute of Boston. At Ashoka in Mexico City, she worked to maintain and grow the network of over 250 Ashoka Fellows in the region.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals (CBYX)?
CBYX for Young Professionals is a yearlong fellowship for Americans and Germans, ages 18½–24, that is funded by the German Bundestag and the U.S. Congress through the U.S. Department of State, under the authority of the Fulbright-Hays Act of 1961, as amended.
The program annually gives 75 American and German young professionals, ages 18½–24, the opportunity to study, work, and live with a host in Germany. The CBYX program consists of three phases: two months of German language school; one semester of classes in one’s career field at a university, technical school, or professional school; and a three-month internship in your career field. Participants are placed throughout Germany.
Cultural Vistas has administered CBYX for Young Professionals for over 35 years, together with its German partner organization, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH.
Do I need to speak German?
No. The program includes two months of intensive language training upon your arrival in Germany. We strongly recommend that applicants and participants have some German language skills prior to departure, but there are a number of participants every year who speak little or no German at the beginning of the program. All participants complete language training, and are placed in a class level appropriate to their proficiency in German.
Who administers the CBYX for Young Professionals fellowship?
CBYX for Young Professionals is administered by Cultural Vistas 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 (WI4), respectively.
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 successful in the past in obtaining a deferral on the basis of financial hardship, as well as through an Education Related Deferment Request.
What kind of assistance will I receive while in Germany?
Although this is a funded fellowship 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 Washington, D.C. at the end of the year. Participants also need to bring spending money for the year—we suggest 400 – 500 EUR 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 money to cover basic living expenses during the internship phase, in the case that the salary or the stipend provided does not cover them.
Where would I live in Germany? Can I choose where I want to go?
In accordance with the public diplomacy goals of the CBYX program, participants are placed in communities throughout Germany. Placements are made by our partner organization, and take into account such factors as comparable educational and internship opportunities relevant to a participant’s field, availability of suitable housing arrangements, and geographic diversity. If a participant is able to set up an internship in Germany prior to the start of the program by a given deadline, it will be taken into consideration in the placement process. Otherwise, placement preferences cannot be accommodated.
Can I get college credit for the schooling part of the program?
Cultural Vistas does not issue credits, nor can we guarantee transfer of credits for participants. Because the details of the study phase are in most cases 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 regarding your program of study in Germany. It is also often the case that you will not finish the semester before the internship phase of the program begins. Some participants do, however, negotiate with their registrar or professors at their home institution to be able to receive credit. This applies to both the language school and study phases.
Is there a standard list of internships that participants choose from?
No. Participants must actively look for and apply to 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 that 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 each year by the administering organizations) participants will continue to receive program stipends to cover basic living costs. If the internship pays very generously, living costs during the internship phase 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, to provide a cultural immersion experience. 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 purchase medical insurance?
The program insurance will cover you for sickness and accidents 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 coverage prior to departing and upon your return to the United States. If a participant has a medical condition deemed to potentially have a significantly negative impact on the administration of their program, their administering organizations may require that they purchase a supplemental insurance policy to cover the condition.
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 Washington, D.C. This is a U.S. Department of State grant-supported cultural exchange that is funded for the purpose of promoting German-American relations, 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?
While 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, there is no official policy against CBYX alumni taking part in other Cultural Vistas programs.
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 involve their family or college in the reciprocal side of the program. For more information, visit CBYX for Germans in the U.S.
What will I need to pay for?
Although this is a funded fellowship 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 Washington, D.C. at the end of the year. Participants also need to bring spending money for the year—we suggest 400 – 500 EUR 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 money to cover basic living expenses during the internship phase, in the case that the salary or the stipend provided does not cover them.