Alexander Locher 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 Locher
Hometown: Düsseldorf, Germany
Current location: Albuquerque, New Mexico / Cottonwood Classical Preparatory School
What motivated you to apply to the CBYX program?
After my teacher told me about the CBYX program, I was really excited. So I asked my parents what they think about the idea and even they liked it. For me personally I wanted to experience a new culture and a new environment and I wanted to get to know new people!
What reaction did you receive from friends and family when you decided to join CBYX?
My parents were really sad that I decided to join CBYX, but at the same time really supportive because they wanted me to have this experience. My friends nevertheless were really shocked about my decision, but after a couple of days they became very supportive too.
What was your first impression of the US? What was your first day like?
I was just impressed. Everything was new to me – even the little things excited me. However, I had an awesome first day because my host family made it really easy for me to integrate and they were really friendly and patient.
What was your first impression of your new American school?
I really liked my school. It is a relatively small school, so I wasn’t shocked by the size or anything. But I was really happy how people cared about me when I first arrived at my school and how easy it was to fit in!
In your opinion, what are some of the major differences between living in the US and living in Germany?
Everything in the US is big! It shocked me at the first moment, but after the first impression you get used to it and see the advantage of it!
What has been your favorite moment living in the US?
That is a hard question. I think I had several great moments in the US, but my favorite one was Christmas. The whole Christmas season was just amazing and it was great experience to celebrate in a new culture and with my host family!
What has been your biggest challenge about living in the US?
I think the culture shock. In the first days I struggled a little bit with the different cultures. But after the first week I got used to it!
How has CBYX helped you in your life?
CBYX really helped me in my life. Experiencing a new culture benefited my life in many ways – it gave me a broader worldview. Furthermore, the exchange changed my personality – I became more independent and open-minded.
What advice would you give someone who is thinking about applying to CBYX?
Don’t be afraid of doing it. It is an experience that you can only gain once in your life. And even if you are afraid of leaving your family and friends at home, you will be supported as much as at home in the US by your host family and your American friends!