Alexander Wills is participating in the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX), a student exchange program jointly sponsored by the US Congress and the German Bundestag. Name: Alexander Willers
Grade: 12th in the United States, 10th in Germany
Hometown: Hamburg, Germany.
Current location: I am living with my host family in Flint, Michigan.
What motivated you to apply to the CBYX program?
The CBYX program is an amazing opportunity to learn more about the culture of the United States and to meet new friends. The program allowed me to not only understand the culture and way of life in the US but to get in touch with interesting people from politics. I truly feel that within the program I can contribute to the understanding between Americans and Germans.
What reaction did you receive from friends and family when you decided to join CBYX?
We were all happy and sad at the same time. I was very proud and happy that I could join the program but I also felt sad because I was going to leave my family and friends soon for a full year. My family and my friends were also proud to hear that I have been elected for the CBYX program. Everybody is excited to learn about my experiences once I am back in Germany.
What was your first impression of the US?
The American people really impressed me because they welcomed me in such a nice and open way. From the new experience I understand now that moving your life with enthusiasm and emotion can really change how people feel about you. I am very thankful that my host family and my friends helped me to adapt to the American culture and have shown me alternative ways of living compared to what I know from Germany.
What was your first impression of your new American school?
I was surprised by the American school system because it was completely different. The focus and the spirit among all students is a very special experience for me. I really enjoyed the football games and I love how people support each other at sports events.
In your opinion, what are some of the major differences between living in the US and living in Germany?
Of course, there are many differences in the daily life like the school system, food, sports, and the political system. Another difference is that a lot of American students my age have their driving license already while most of the students in my region in Germany ride their bikes to school. It was an interesting experience to understand how Americans see Germany and Germans. It gives you a new perspective with respect to culture and behavior.
What has been your favorite moment living in the US?
My favorite moment living in The United States was the trip to Washington D.C. I did last November as part of the CBYX program. It was a trip with the other CBYX students from Germany and we met representatives and senators of the United States. Understanding the political system and opinions allowed me to deeply understand US thinking. I enjoyed seeing the many memorials and Capitol Hill.
What has been your biggest challenge about living in the US?
My biggest challenge is that I can not see my family and my German friends for ten months. But I am also very thankful for having such a nice host family and for all the friends I have made here.
How has CBYX helped you in your life?
The CBYX program helped me to learn more about the culture and the political system of the United States. I have made a lot of new friends in Germany (during the training course) and in America because of CBYX. We have even met privately with some friends I made during the training course in Berlin before the US trip.
What advice would you give someone who is thinking about applying to CBYX?
Everyone who is interested in learning more about the culture of the United States and in making fantastic friendships should definitely apply to CBYX. It is a unique opportunity and an experience you will never forget. I am convinced that this time will be in my heart throughout my whole future life.