We are happy to announce Isabelle Dik, a Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX) young professional participant, as the October 2019 CBYX German Participant of the Month.
Isabelle is placed by Cultural Vistas and hosted by the Morris family in Illinois, where she attends Knox College. Isabelle’s exchange year is off to a great start! Not only has she settled in with her host family and become involved in her host community and school, she has also learned a lot about American history. Knox was the site of one of the original Lincoln Douglas debates in 1858 and was where Lincoln made his famous “appeal for the soul of the nation” which has helped Isabelle learn much about this period of U.S. history. To further her knowledge of Abraham Lincoln, she has even traveled to Springfield to see Lincoln’s home and Presidential Museum.
Isabelle has already been helping her local community learn more about Germany! She attends German classes at Knox College to help students learn more about Germany and improve their language skills. Isabelle has also joined two Stammtisches (regular, informal meetings or get-togethers) with local high school students and community members, to contribute her experience with German culture and language. She has introduced the students to CBYX and has encouraged them to apply. At school, Isabelle joined the Super Smash Bros Club where members meet every Thursday to provide a healthy atmosphere for gamers of all skill levels and to organize charity gaming tournaments.
In her host community, Isabelle has begun volunteering as a reading buddy at the local elementary school, a science and German tutor at the local high school, and as an associate member at Best Buddies, spending time with persons with disabilities. In addition, she has been volunteering at Blessings in a Backpack, where one weekend she helped back over 300 backpacks with weekend meals for children in need.
Isabelle’s host family has welcomed her with open arms and warm hearts. Her favorite moment so far this year was when her host family included her in the celebrations of the birth of their newest family member. Isabelle says, “Since I never had so much contact to babies in general, I felt really overwhelmed of all the warm feelings that overcome me, while holding 2-3 hours old Leo. This was the moment I really felt being a part of my new American family.”
U.S. Department of State
Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs