Participants of the 2020-2021 Congress – Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX) program continue to build connections between the U.S. and Germany through a variety of virtual exchange activities.
As part of the CBYX virtual program, over 100 American and German High School, Vocational, and Young Professional participants engaged in an Alumni Career Connections Workshop. The Workshop offered participants the opportunity to learn about working in an international company, meet CBYX alumni who have found their niche in the global workplace, and gather ideas on how best to get international experience. As one CBYX Vocational participant put it, “I really enjoyed the workshop. It gave me a greater understanding about programs and organizations that I could potentially work with in the future. It also gave me an opportunity to reach out to alumni in the fields I’m interested in, so it felt a bit like what going to Germany would have helped me do. Overall, I found it helpful and informative!”
We are especially grateful that eighteen alumni from both the Vocational and Young Professional programs were available to present on various career areas in breakout rooms, often paired up two-by-two. Alumni ranged from current undergraduate and graduate students in a variety of fields to startup CEOs, nonprofit managers, media executives, midcareer engineers, and even a forester.
Virtual participants were able to attend two different sessions, thus ensuring they could hear from alumni in two different career areas. These areas were: College Knowledge; Arts and Humanities; Business; Communications, Marketing, and Journalism; Ecology, Conservation, and Sustainable Agriculture; Engineering (chemical, civil, electrical, mechanical) and Architecture; Hospitality and Culinary Arts; Medical Fields, Health Care, and Scientific Research; and Technology (IT, Graphic Arts, Video).
One High School participant stated, “I found it interesting how unique the presenters’ different career paths were and how they kept Germany a part of their lives.”
A Vocational program participant particularly appreciated gaining insights into their specific field. They reported, “The business section had a very informative presenter. I enjoyed listening to possible ways to get connected with CBYX alumni and learning about other programs that I could apply for in the future to help me and my career.”
A Young Professional participant who appreciated the diverse slate of presenters wrote, “I found it incredibly beneficial to hear from alumni of varying age ranges. The presentations given by alumni closest in age to me were particularly appealing because their resources and experiences in navigating the current job and educational markets were more applicable to myself. That being said, having alumni who could talk about their experiences in a more long-term context was also interesting. I was also very thankful for the resources that my presenters provided (including their contact information). While it was nice to hear about their experiences, I appreciate how some of the focus remained on helping us to move forward with our own ambitions.”
The same positive impression was shared by CBYX implementing organization staff, stating, “In addition to some fun Germany-specific nuggets, the alums provided insightful advice based on their CBYX experiences, which this year’s students can apply to their own lives and careers, whether they are here in the U.S., in Germany, or wherever their adventures may take them.”
The Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange is a joint program of the U.S. Government and the German Bundestag. The original version of this article can be found here.