The Start of My Journey

Authored by:
Sarah J.

Sarah J.


My name is Sarah and I’ll be in Germany in less than 10 days!

I’m incredibly excited as I have been dreaming of an exchange experience since my freshman year of high school. That was when I decided I wanted to learn German and attend university in Germany. We’ll see if that works out. 

Either way, it feels as though I’ve finally accomplished this goal over two application cycles. I applied last year and I was an alternate. Now I will be living in Germany through CBYX during my gap year. 

I will be living in one of the outer neighborhoods of Hamburg and going to school in the city center. I’m really excited to be able to take one of the well-developed bike paths to school or to take the train into the center. I know the public transportation will be incredible in Germany, especially in a city as big as Hamburg, so I will get to nerd out with my love for urban planning. 

I’m also excited to meet my host family! I've already had a zoom call with them and they are so kind. I feel very lucky with my placement. 

To prepare for this language-learning adventure, I have been taking free Deutsche Welle lessons (meaning I get to watch Nico’s Weg!) and reading a language learning book my peer advisor recommended to me called Short Stories in German for Beginners by Olly Richards. This is on top of the 4 years of German I took in school so the book might be better suited to learners with a bit more background. 

Now to learn a bit more about me other than my interest in city design. I am 18 years old and from northern Colorado. I love lots of sports including rock climbing, running, biking, and hiking. On my less active days, I enjoy binging books of all kinds, but especially historical fiction. After school in the US, I’m usually working on some sort of climate activism project so I’m intrigued to find out what this scene will be like in Germany. 

I’ve been fairly involved in State Department programs before and last fall I had the opportunity to be a part of a virtual NSLI-Y Arabic class. Unfortunately, I’ve forgotten most of the Arabic I learned as I turned my attention solely to German, but it’s definitely next on my list. During this program, I did, however, meet my best friends who I was able to visit this summer. I’m sure I will make equally good friends during the CBYX Program!

Till next time!




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