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Yay! Information Letters & Passport April 12, 2009

Posted by austinabroad in Uncategorized.

Last week I received my passport as well as the first 2 letters of a series of information letters ASSE exchange students receive. Yay! My passport photo looked like shit, but who really cares, I am going to Germany! When I got home from school Wednesday I quickly checked the mail, like I do everyday, opened it up and noticed I had 2 letters labeled “Official Government Mail”. When I get official mail from the government (It’s happened before) it is usually just some shit like a sumer camp or some sort of world leaders conference, so I usually toss it along with the letters from universities. Today was different though, I was semi interested in the advertisements I thought I was getting. Opened it up, and bada bing it was my passport in one, and my birth certifcate in the other letter. It was a joyous day indeed.

Now about my information letters. ASSE sent me a large folder with the following letters inside it:

  • An index of the information letters I will be recieving.
  • Info letters 1 and 2.
  • A 6 page packet about the history of Germany as well as some trivial facts.
  • A “fact sheet” about Germany.

The Index lists about 20 topics with the info letter number of the page on which the topis will be discussed. Not much to say about an index, but I will post a picture of it.

Info letters 1 and 2 were not country specific, they pertained more to the exchange student experience. They dived into the topics of Culture Shock, Language, Food, School, Studying In A Foreign Language, Curriculum, School Credit, as well as School Life and Sports. In the Culture section they mentioned the importance of being open minded and realizing that German culture is not better nor worse, it is different. In the Language section they mentioned that how well I become in German is all up to me and my perseverance and enthusiasm. They recommended to begin studying your language right away, which made me happy because I have been studying for a month now. A few of their tips include buying language materials such as tapes, programs, textbooks, etc; as well as seeking out people or films that speak German. In the Food section they talked about the different foods of course (Again not country specific) as well as different eating times and habits. I am not to worried about food for the most part. Regardless of how delcious German food is, I’ve always believed in the saying “Eat or go hungry”. The School section wasn’t too interesting but did mention that schools abroad tend to “pamper” students less, which results in you becoming more self reliant. Which, according to ASSE, means they will hassle me less, which is what “I’ve always wanted, isn’t it?” Haha. I thought that was funny. In the section titled Studying In A Foreign Language they once again mention the importance of getting a head start on German. They also let you know that private German lessons will most likely be available, but arranging them will be up to me. In the section titled Curriculum they mention that ASSE exchange students are required to take academic classes (i.e. Geometry not wood shop) and that we must take classes in our country’s language and government. (I have to? Noo please dont make me learn about Germany and German. Why would I want to do that? Haha). In the Credit section they let you know that credit transferring is arranged by you, and nothing is gauranteed. In the School Social Life and Sports section they mention that schools themselves have less arranged activities, but many clubs outside of school exist, especially sports ones. They also talk about discos being abundant and open to teenagers. Party. Whoo. I just got up and danced a little bit. This concludes my boring analysis of the info letters.

The 6 page packet included trivial stuff like German demographics (You know, like the stuff in the sidebar of Wikipedia articles? Yeah that stuff) but then went in to a detailed history of Germany. Well kind of detailed. I have already read most of the stuff in this page so I glanced it over and decided it useless. I’ll read it as a refresher sometime haha.

The fact sheet was actually pretty interesting. it is short and to the point so I won’t sum it up.

Alright since you begged here are the scanned images.

Index – http://img13.imageshack.us/img13/3683/index001l.jpg

Info Letter 1 –

Front: http://img12.imageshack.us/img12/1439/index002u.jpg

Back: http://img12.imageshack.us/img12/583/index003.jpg

Info Letter 2 –

Front: http://img23.imageshack.us/img23/2960/index004.jpg

Back: http://img16.imageshack.us/img16/211/index005.jpg

Fact Sheet – These are interesting, if anything read these!

Front: http://img14.imageshack.us/img14/6206/index006.jpg

Back: http://img14.imageshack.us/img14/8494/index007.jpg

Thats all volks.

– Austin Wäisänen


Yay! Acceptance! March 14, 2009

Posted by austinabroad in Uncategorized.
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So this is like 11 days to late, but I was accepted into the CBYX with ASSE! I had my interviews the 28th of February, and I was called by my ASSE Area Rep the night of March 3rd!

The interviews went pretty well. The guys who interviewed me were really cool, one of them was from Munich! they asked me all sorts of questions, from “What do you have to bring to Germany of America” to “Is your home quiet?”. I did pretty well I thought. I definitely tried to make them laugh, which I think helped a lot. Another girl from Rapid City, SD was accepted as well. She is pretty cool.

Anyway here is my acceptance letter that I received on Thursday the 5th of March.

Acceptance Letter 001

Acceptance Letter 002

Acceptance Letter 003










I’m anticipating the information letters mentioned in the letter very much! I’m so friggen excited; you have no idea. I have been waiting for this since like forever! Just yesterday my application was sent to ASSE Germany! Yay!

Applying to CBYX February 10, 2009

Posted by austinabroad in Uncategorized.
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So, I am not real sure why or how I want to start this. Although I think I am aiming for something along the lines of my experience applying to the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange with ASSE.

First off, what is the Congress Bundestag Youth Exchange?

The Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange is a federally funded exchange program, sponsored jointly by the United States Congress and the German Parliament- The Bundestag.

CBYX provides German and American young people a full scholarship for an academic year experience in the host country. The program is designed to strengthen ties between the younger generation, and by improving their career skills through formal study and work experience participants expand their perspectives and awareness of each other’s culture, society, history and politics.

More than 17,000 American and German students have participated in the program since its inception in 1983.

Second, what are the requirements to apply?

To apply for CBYX you must have a 3.0 on a 4.0 GPA Scale. You must also be inclusively between the ages of 15 and 18. One big thing to point out here is that prior knowledge of German is NOT a requirement. These are all the requirements.

Third, how do I apply?

Before I get too far into this I better explain some more about the CBYX. Like I mentioned the CBYX is federally sponsored, but it is not conducted by the feds. The funds allocated for the CBYX go to 5 organizations. Which organization you apply to is determined by your location in the US. More about those organizations can be found here usagermanyscholarship.org. I had planned for this to be a long great article about my application process, but I got quickly bored while writing it. That being so,  Any questions just ask!