My name is Aishna and I will be spending my senior year/ gap year/ I don’t know what this year actually is in Germany on the CBYX scholarship. I am a second-time applicant and have been dreaming of going on this program since I found out about it about two years ago. Even so, the idea of going hasn’t hit me yet with all the hustle of high school life.
To SparkNotes my whole personality (I’ll update you with a No Fear Shakespeare version later), I am a seventeen-year-old North Carolinian busybody with a love of soccer, robotics, Netflix, and inherited perfectionism. I’ve played various instruments and sports and have a strange habit of picking up random hobbies. To go on the exchange, I am graduating a year early, going to Germany, and then going to college (if any admissions officers are reading this just go ahead and let me in). I currently plan to major in mechanical engineering and minor in international/global studies, but I also plan on using my year in Germany to explore opportunities I may have not considered.
Coming across this exchange was an accident in itself. I was looking for exchange programs because of a German homework assignment which asked me to do exactly that and happened to run across the program during their application period. I applied, got denied, applied again because of my mom, and here I am! I haven’t even left the country and I can see the significance of the opportunity that CIEE and CBYX have provided me.
My dream for a future always included a life that would let me travel internationally and live in various countries for a few years at a time. I was always a mediocre tourist, as I could never spend my time on the landmarks, white tennis shoes, and sweaty families, instead of seeking a chance to meet the people behind the counter of a café, speak their language, and live in the natural, unamericanized home of various people. This didn’t seem like a possibility for many years, if ever, until I found out about this program. The program was a perfect chance for me to learn about and live with the German people, speak their language, eat their food, and watch the beautiful game in the home of international superstars. As a future engineer, I saw Germany as the opportunity to learn about effective, efficient public transportation, the best cars in the world (I see you Audi, BMW, Mercedes, and Porsche), and the beauty of world-renowned German engineering. Beyond engineering, as a food lover, nature lover, architecture lover, soccer lover, and Earth lover, I could only dream of living in Germany.
As I wait (im)patiently to find out about my host family, I cannot stop imagining what the next year will hold for me and how much it will change me. The wonderful exchange students who are coming to Germany along with me have been the most entertaining and amazing friends that I could ask for, and I expect them to become lifelong friends in the near future.
For all the unanswered questions: No, I don’t know where I am going yet. No, I do not know what type of high school I am going to yet. No, I have not decided whether to be a Bayern or Dortmund fan. Yes, I am graduating before I go. Yes, I am going to an American college after (my parents want me back). Yes, I will miss my friends and family. No, I will not miss high school. No, I am nowhere near fluent in German, but Ich hoffe, dass ich nächstes Jahr diesmal sein werde (shoutout to Google Translate).
For a lifelong procrastinator, I think I am doing just about average in preparing to leave in two months. Which means I have a lot left to do. After graduation in two weeks, my summer will consist of packing, relearning and learning German, starting some college applications, and preparing myself for the adventure I am about to set off on.
I am honored to share my soul with you during this exchange year. Germans, be glad I am not allowed to drive. Get ready!