Hallo! My name is Emily Grandstaff, I’m a 5’3 curly headed blonde with a love for meeting new people and hanging out with dogs. As a 17 year old from North Carolina, I have no idea what to expect for this upcoming year as far as how much I’ll learn or how much I’m going to change. I do know, however, that there are 80 days until I leave for Germany and I have never been so excited! I am currently a junior and I will be spending my senior year of high school in Germany with the CBYX program. But, I hope to graduate online this summer before I depart! Taking the classes needed to graduate online sounded like a better alternative to trying to transfer over credits from Germany after returning to the US.
Well, here's a little about me! I have a passion for learning languages and even more so, the culture behind them. Even though I currently know no German, hopefully I will come back almost fluent! I’m a huge animal person and when I’m not spending time with my three dogs and three cats, I’m usually volunteering at the animal shelter in my town. I try my best to be active and enjoy hiking and camping. But, you’ll also find me binge watching netflix on the couch! Most of the times these shows include Friends, The Fosters, or The WAlking Dead. Though, I have seen my fair share of America’s Next Top Model too. I also really enjoy writing, which is probably why I’ve decided to devote time to write this blog! When I was looking to apply, I read countless CBYX blogs (and still do)! I loved learning about the lives of the students who were on the program, but I never thought that would too be me!
I didn't know much about Germany when I first heard about CBYX. After learning about the program, I starting researching German culture, language, and traditions, and became more interested in Germany than I had ever been in any other country. I want to go to Germany not only because traveling is my passion, but I want to experience another culture by immersing myself in it. I want to teach English as a second language in the future and the CBYX program will help me get a feel for what immersing myself will feel like.
When I got the call that I was a finalist, I was standing in the hallway right as school got out. Hearing that I was going to Germany was a moment that I will never forget. I started crying and jumping up and down, hugging random people in the hallway! Sure I got lots of strange looks, but I didn't care, I was going to Germany! All I can say regarding the application process is to be yourself. I know this is a cliche, but try to think of things personal to you and include those! The interview weekend is so much fun and I met a lot of amazing people. The most important thing to remember in regards to the interview to to relax. I promise you that once you do this, the interview will be a breeze!
Since finding out that I was a finalist, the amount of questions have been overwhelming! Here are the most common questions that I’ve received and my most common answers.
Where in Germany will you be staying?
I haven't received a host family yet and might not receive one until language camp in August. I could be placed anywhere in Germany! I am super excited to find out who my host family is though and I know whoever they are, they will be great!
Will you be going to a regular German high school?
Yes! I will be placed in the local high school in my German town.
How will you do college?
I plan on starting college applications this summer and continuing to do them while in Germany. Once I return in June 2019, I will go straight into college come August.
Are you parents letting you go?
I think that my mom is more excited than I am! I have been lucky to have parents that are so supportive in this entire process and although nervous, they have encouraged me more than anyone else to go to Germany.
Do you know any german?
This is probably the most common question. Fortunately for me, part of the program is that you aren't required to know any German when you apply. Since finding out that I am a finalist, I have been non-stop learning german. I have been using (and highly recommend) Deutsche Welle, Rosetta Stone, Duolingo, and have set my Netflix to German audio and subtitles.
Aren't you going to miss your family and friends?
Of course I will miss my family and friends, but that’s one of the best parts of the program for me. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love everyone, but this is a chance for me to develop more independence and a chance to find a version of myself that’s not being influenced by family and friends. I plan on skying them occasionally to update them on my year and writing some letters!
How are you preparing?
Well, I just bought my suitcase today! Besides learning German, I am working on setting up an international bank account, unlocking my phone, completely my online classes, making memories and taking tons of pictures, and trying to figure out what to pack for an entire year!
I can honestly say that I am so excited for Germany and I have no idea what to expect. This is going to be the journey of a lifetime and I am beyond ecstatic to share it with you all!
Until next time, Bis bald!