Frequently Asked Questions

Who administers the CBYX High School Program?

CBYX’s high school program is administered regionally by the four well-established international exchange organizations listed below. All implementing organizations have long histories of experience in international education, as well as strong support networks in both the U.S. and Germany.

Your regional implementing organization is determined by your U.S. home state. Select your state on the Apply Today page for further details, including how to start an application.

AFS-USA Logo

AFS-USA implements the program for Americans from the states of CT, DE, MA, MD, ME, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, and VT

Attn: CBYX
120 Wall Street, 4th Floor
New York, NY 10005
1-800-AFS-INFO x2161
[email protected]
More info: www.afsusa.org/cbyx

AFS-USA Logo

ASSE implements the program for Americans from the states of AK, CA, HI, ID, MT, ND, NV, OR, SD, and WA

228 North Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
(800) 333-3802 ext. 280
[email protected]
www.asse.com

AFS-USA Logo

CIEE implements the program for Americans from the states of AZ, CO, DC, FL, GA, KS, KY, MN, NC, NE, NM, OH, OK, Puerto Rico, SC, TX, UT, VA, WV, and WY

Attn: CBYX
300 Fore Street
Portland, ME 04101
1-800-448-9944
[email protected]
www.ciee.org/cbyx

AFS-USA Logo

YFU implements the program for Americans from the states of AL, AR, IA, IL, IN, LA, MI, MO, MS, TN, and WI

6856 Eastern Ave., NW
Suite 310
Washington, DC 20012
1-800-TEENAGE
[email protected]
www.yfuusa.org

What are the travel dates?

You will depart in late summer (July, August or September) and return in June or July of the following year. Dates vary year-to-year, and according to your local organization; please see the How to Apply page for a sample timeline.

Where will I live?

All CBYX high school participants live with host families who have been carefully screened and selected by local in-country staff and volunteers. Host families come in every shape and size, much like the natural families of our participants, and receive orientation and training to introduce them to cultural differences and to prepare them for the hosting experience. Participants may share a room with a host sibling of the same gender. Our host families may be located anywhere throughout Germany, including in urban, suburban, and rural communities, and may nor may not speak English.

Where will I go to school?

All high school participants will be assigned a locally-accredited high school, where most or all classes will be taught in German. You will be expected to attend classes, engage actively, and give your very best effort at academic achievement in your assigned class.

As the classes vary from one school and region to the next, it’s likely that participants won’t know which classes they’ll take until they arrive, and are not able to select preferred classes. Participants, including those recently graduated, may be enrolled in classes with local students one or two years younger than they are.

What costs are covered by the CBYX scholarship?

The CBYX high school scholarship covers costs to participate in program activities, including:

  • Round-trip international transportation between the U.S. gateway city and your host community in Germany
  • Medical benefits
  • Lodging and meals provided by a volunteer host family
  • Approximately one-month of language training upon arrival in Germany
  • Tuition and academic materials, if required for your host school
  • Costs associated with obtaining a German residence permit/visa (participants should follow implementing organization instructions and timelines for this process)
  • In-country support
  • Transportation (while in Germany), lodging, and meals for participation in required program activities, such as the mid-year seminar and program-wide end of year activities in Berlin and Washington, D.C.

Please see the About page for information about the scholarship, program components, and common costs.

What common costs are not covered by the CBYX scholarship?

Participants will be responsible for some costs, including:

  • Transportation to and from the U.S. city of international departure/return
  • Spending money for personal use
  • Required medical examinations and immunizations; costs for management of pre-existing medical conditions (such as medications)
  • Costs associated with obtaining a U.S. passport in a timely manner

For individuals who demonstrate financial need, additional financial support is available for these expenses and can be applied for after an individual is informed of their selection for the program.

Please see the About page for information about the scholarship, program components, and common costs.

Who should I contact in Germany if I have a question while on program?

Upon arrival, you will be provided the name and contact details of a contact person available to you throughout your stay in Germany for assistance with any questions you may have. Program staff and volunteers both in the U.S. and Germany are available by phone or email to answer questions and provide support throughout the program. All U.S. and German program offices additionally provide 24/7 emergency hotlines.

Participants are enrolled in the U.S. Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive emergency notifications from the U.S. Embassy. U.S. citizen services are available to all participants, including emergency contact (U.S. Embassy Berlin emergency contact: 030 8305-0).

May I return home during the program?

As the aim of the program is to provide an immersive experience, participants remain on the program for the duration of the program. You will not be permitted to return home for any reason, including for important events and activities, such as holidays, birthdays, graduations, family weddings, etc. Exceptions are only considered for family emergency situations, which are handled on a case-by-case basis together with your parent/guardian, implementing organization, and the U.S. Department of State.

Will I receive high school or college credit for the courses I take in Germany?

We strongly encourage applicants to be in touch with their U.S. high school administration as soon as possible to discuss credit and to begin to plan accordingly. Our program implementers are not credit-granting institutions and only the U.S. institution where you seek credit can make credit determinations.

Participants should not expect that academic work performed during the program will transfer home. Many participants prefer to complete the courses required for graduation during the summer before departure or after their return from Germany. Some participants receive college credit for the German language skills acquired on the program.

All participants are discouraged from completing U.S.-based coursework while in Germany.

When will I find out if I am selected?

Scholarship selection announcements are typically made in March through May in the year of program departure. Please see the How to Apply page for a sample timeline.

How can I learn more about Germany and the CBYX program?

See the “who administers the CBYX high school program” question within this FAQ for the contact details of the program’s implementer in your home state.
Learn more about Germany, U.S. and German relations, and stay up to date with the following additional resources.

Is Germany diverse?

According to the Facts about Germany website, a service of FAZIT Communication GmbH and the German Federal Foreign Office in Berlin, approximately 19 million Germans have a migratory background. That’s more than 1 in 5 people! Germany is a well-developed country with a high standard of freedom of expression, ranking fourth on the United Nations’ 2016 Human Development Index (HDI) amongst 188 countries. Find additional up-to-date statistics, facts, and information about Germany on the Facts about Germany website.

Safety is our top priority and program implementers adhere carefully to policies and best-practices that promote the well-being of the participant and their host family. Prior to arriving at their host families, all participants attend orientation sessions, including information about travel safety, cultural and social norms, and daily health and safety matters. In Germany, program implementers provide each participant with guidance and support from both a local implementing organization representative and a national office with emergency contact procedures.

How does CBYX support diversity?

CBYX welcomes applications from all eligible U.S. citizens regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, geographic location, socioeconomic status, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity. We want American CBYX participants to represent the diversity of the United States to our German host families and host communities. We also want the American families who host German CBYX participants to represent the diversity of the United States so that all communities across the United States have the opportunity to learn about Germany and teach Germans about their unique experience as Americans.

CBYX understands that all participants can benefit from support that is tailored to their needs. For example, Americans of color abroad may need someone to talk to who understands what it is like to be in a population who may not be as familiar with their ethnic/racial identification. Americans with disabilities may find that they need extra support in settling in with a host family and getting oriented to their new community. Americans who are from urban areas and are placed in rural areas may need support in adjusting to the different types of socialization opportunities in rural areas. These are just a few examples of the types of support that the CBYX program tries to provide to participants.

Over the past several years we have made significant progress on increasing the diversity of American CBYXers, but much work and learning remains to be done. We appreciate your feedback on how we can do better. Please email us at [email protected] with your feedback.

How does CBYX place diverse students with host families?

Implementing organization staff in Germany work to select host families and place students. We encourage you to express information important to your identity with your American implementing organization as soon as possible, so that our German partners can review this information early in the host family placement process. Information you provide will be used to place you in the most well-suited placement available. We respect your privacy and will share the information provided only as necessary to facilitate your exchange experience.

Once in Germany, all exchange students can expect a period of adjustment as they work to adapt to their new surroundings, using the tools provided during pre-departure preparations. All students are provided with a support network, available throughout the exchange, including a local representative and a national office with emergency contact procedures.

I Identify as a student of color, is Germany and CBYX right for me?

Yes! CBYX has many alumni of color who have had amazing exchange experiences. Of course, like any year in your life there will be challenges, but most of our alumni have reported that their experience was overwhelmingly positive. While the application is open, many of our CBYX partners organize virtual events where applicants can talk directly with alumni about their experiences and we encourage you to participate in one of those sessions.

Generally speaking, German policy supports multiculturalism and so do many Germans, which makes the country generally welcoming to travelers from diverse backgrounds. Resources for students of color are shared with participants before departing for Germany and can be made available upon request during the application process.

How do I answer questions about my ethnicity while abroad?

Just as in the U.S. there is no “one size fits all” method to approaching a question about your ethnicity or heritage. Pre-departure orientations include tips for handling conversations with people who are not familiar with the racial diversity of the United States. As citizen diplomats, CBYX participants are encouraged to share their personal life experiences and perspectives with their hosts. Many Germans are already aware of the diversity of the U.S., but sharing your own story will help your host community to better understand the diverse cultures of the U.S.. Sharing questions and concerns with your implementing organization and learning about your host community can help you consider how to respond to questions while you’re abroad. Ultimately, each participant will need to decide how much and at what time they are comfortable sharing their life experiences with others, just as you would in the United States.

I identify as LGBTQ+, is Germany and CBYX right for me?

Yes! CBYX has many alumni who identify as LGBTQ+ who have had amazing exchange years. Of course, like any year in your life there will be challenges, but most of our alumni have reported that their experience was overwhelmingly positive. While the application is open, many of our CBYX partners organize virtual events where applicants can talk directly with alumni about their experiences and we encourage you to participate in one of those sessions.

Germany is a popular study abroad destination for LGBTQ+ students and is, overall, progressive when it comes to LGBTQ+ issues. Additional resources for LGBTQ+ students are shared with participants before departing for Germany and can be made available upon request during the application process.

How do I answer questions about my gender and/or sexuality while abroad?

There is no “one size fits all” method to approaching a question about your gender or sexuality in Germany. Pre-departure orientations include tips for handling conversations with people who are not as accepting as you may wish. As citizen diplomats, CBYX participants are encouraged to share their personal life experiences and perspectives with their hosts. Sharing questions and concerns with your implementing organization and learning about your host community can help you consider how you want to respond to questions while you’re abroad. Ultimately, just as in the U.S., each participant will need to decide how much and at what time they are comfortable sharing information about their sexuality.

Can I host a student from Germany?

Yes! The CBYX program is a reciprocal exchange; in addition to the 250 American CBYX high school students studying in Germany, a similar number of German students also come to the U.S. to live with volunteer host families and attend high school!

As a reciprocal exchange program, CBYX encourages the sharing of cultures and development of international friendships. While hosting a German exchange student is absolutely not a prerequisite for program participation, we encourage your family to consider this rewarding international opportunity. German students come with their own spending money and medical insurance. Volunteer host families provide them with a place to sleep, a place to study, meals, and support and encouragement throughout their year in the U.S.

Please visit the website of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to learn more!