A Junior in Germany

Authored by:
Tiernan G.

Tiernan G.


My name is Tiernan, and (it’s still so surreal to say this) I will be spending my junior year in Germany on the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange Scholarship! Almost a year ago, I found out about the program, and not a day has gone by that I haven’t thought about it. It’s crazy that now, I’m in the middle of preparation for one of the biggest things to happen in my life- and I couldn’t be more ecstatic!

The Reader’s Digest summary of me: I’m fifteen, I love calligraphy and hand lettering, traveling, play cello, snuggling my cats while they try to run away, Model UN conferences, and learning languages! I want to major in Linguistics in college and eventually work as an interpreter for the EU, although I have a feeling that a year in a foreign country is going to result in me learning more about myself and what I want to do.

I’ve noticed that sometimes life has a way of giving you what you need, even when it’s what you least expect. I discovered CBYX by chance, and even though I haven’t left America yet, I haven’t even finished taking finals at school, it has already changed my life. I have talked to almost 50 new CBYXers, and I feel like they understand me in a way my friends can’t. They understand the nerves and anxiety, but also, and most importantly, they understand the excitement. We are all equally thrilled to be taking this journey, and I’m so lucky to have fallen in to this year’s pool of exchange students.

When people find out that I’m doing an exchange year, the number one thing I get asked (right after, “Where will you be living?” and, “So, are you fluent in German?”) is, “Aren’t you going to miss your friends and family?” The answer is, of course. As excited as I am for the program, it’s scary to think about not seeing the things I’m familiar with for nearly a year. But I have an amazing support system in both CIEE and my hometown, and having their support makes it that much easier.

I don’t know where in Germany my host family is (Maybe they’re reading this! Probably not.) and the anticipation is killing me! I’m a little bit of an impatient person, so I have been checking my email more often than I should. Oh well, I keep reminding myself that it’s because they want to make sure my placement is a good fit, and it’ll be worth it in the end.

To prepare for next year, there’s a lot that needs to be done. I’ve gotten luggage, talked about credit transfer with my school counselor, made tons of new CBYX friends, and started thinking about what to bring with me! My to do list seems a little daunting right now, especially in the middle of AP exam season, but it’s for such a great thing that I don’t mind too much.  

I’m so glad that I get to share my journey with you all on this blog. There is a lot of uncertainty ahead, but that just means there is so much to discover over the next year!

Until next time,


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