German CBYX participant spends six weeks learning on Capitol Hill
Each year, the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX) for Young Professionals program selects five of its German participants to complete six-week congressional internships on Capitol Hill.
Below, 2010-2011 CBYX participant and native Oyten, Germany, Sarah-Christin Stech, reflects on her experience serving as an intern in the office of Kentucky Congressman Geoff Davis:
My days were long, especially when Congress was in session. The Congressman took me to the Speaker's balcony one day, “the best sight in D.C.”, he introduced me to Bob Kimmitt, former Deputy Secretary of the Treasury and U.S. ambassador to Germany, he let me attend a “Members only”-briefing so that I could meet with Ruprecht Polenz, Member of the German Parliament and Chairman for the Foreign Affairs Committee, and he would always take the time to talk with me.
I felt appreciated by him and his staff which was the best environment for my personal growth and learning.
When I had thought about government before, I thought more about the representative duties of Congressman and -women. By working in the Congressman's office, I understood that hearings, debates, votes would end up being a law. It was not the representative here, the big debates there, and some pleasant or unpleasant law somewhere else. Whatever Congress would do, it would have an impact. It would matter. Every amendment would matter for the people. For the constituents that called in each day. I answered phone calls and heard about people's concerns, their struggles and experiences.
In these six weeks, I probably learned a lot more about the American culture, society and politics as in the months before. I left my little bubble in Northern Kentucky and listened to people in need. I saw Congress working on those issues, debating, being passionate – eager not to lose what this country was build on: democracy, personal freedom, the Constitution. This environment was greatly stimulating.
The Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals is a full-year, reciprocal work-study scholarship program providing young American and German professionals with an understanding of everyday life, education, and professional training abroad. For more information about CBYX for Young Professionals, please visit: culturalvistas.org/cbyx