Decatur High student receives prestigious scholarship for German exchange program

Posted by June 29, 2017

The front steps of Decatur High School. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

By Ellie Ritter, contributor 

Decatur High School student Zoe Geiger has been selected as a recipient of the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX) Scholarship for the 2017-2018 academic year, according to a press release from the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE).

CBYX is a student exchange program co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and German Bundestag (Parliament).

According to the release, Geiger, a rising senior at Decatur High School, is one of only 50 students from the southeastern U.S. and Puerto Rico to be awarded the scholarship.

In her year abroad, Geiger will be fully immersed in German culture and education. She will spend the school year in Germany living with a host family, attending a German high school and participating in a four-week immersion camp to gain a better understanding of German culture, the release said. She will also visit the German Bundestag, meet with American and German government officials, participate in intercultural seminars and explore the country’s historical sites and cities.

Geiger applied for the program because she wanted to explore a new culture completely different from her own.

“It’s been really great growing up in Decatur and becoming familiar with the town and the people, but it has also made me a bit restless,” she said. “I’m really excited to experience a whole new life that I’ve never been able to before.”

Geiger applied last year, but didn’t make it in, so she applied again for the upcoming school year. Now, she’ll spend her senior year apart from her friends and family. While she’s a little bit “terrified” by that thought, she says it’s also “thrilling to think that in just a month, [her] life is going to change completely.”

The exchange program runs in both directions. Not only do American students go abroad to Germany, but German students also come to live and study in the U.S., the release said, adding that many of these participants “go on to study at top colleges and universities,” too.

Students who would like more information about CBYX and the 2018-2019 application process should visit their website or contact CIEE at 800-448-9944. Previous German language skills are not required to apply. To learn more about hosting an international high school exchange student coming to the Decatur area for the 2017-2018 academic year, please click here.

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