We are pleased to announce Alyssa Boos as the March 2023 CBYX U.S. Participant of the Month! Alyssa, a Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX) High School participant recruited by CIEE, is hosted by the Bock family in Krefeld, North Rhine-Westphalia.
Alyssa was accepted to the program for the 2020-2021 school year but was delayed in participating due to the pandemic. She participated in virtual programming including German language courses and cultural exchange with German peers, which further cemented her interest in the in-person exchange year.
Now in Germany, Alyssa is enjoying getting to know her new home through her host family. Her host family is rooted in German, Chinese, and Danish backgrounds, which gives insight into several cultures during her exchange. She enjoys attending her host brother’s handball games, introducing her host siblings to macaroni and cheese (among other American delicacies), and learning to make German foods. The Family has regular movie and game nights, which is also helping Alyssa explore some classic American movies like Grease. When not with her host family, Alyssa tries new things in her host community, including participating in a hip-hop dancing group, which is helping to expand her German language skills in a fun environment.
Alyssa enjoys sharing U.S. culture with Germans in her host community. She spent the week leading up to Thanksgiving preparing traditional dishes for her host family and some of her school friends. Alyssa then showed her host family and friends some of her Thanksgiving traditions, like watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade and playing the card game Spoons.
In February, Alyssa and fellow CBYX participants Darren and Tasha hosted a Super Bowl party. They made hot dogs and chili con queso and brought Cheez-Its and other American snacks. They had everyone wear “eye black” in the colors of the two teams playing and explained the rules of American football. Since Alyssa was a cheerleader in the United States, she talked about her experiences and showed them some photos of her time as a cheerleader. She feels that this was a great opportunity for cultural exchange.
Alyssa notes that “Exchanges open you to a new variety of people you would’ve never met before and opens your mind to see a different side of the same story.” In fact, the program is changing her life. Prior to leaving for her exchange year, she thought she would return to Kansas but her experiences on the CBYX program made her realize she could have a different path. Inspired by her experience as editor-in-chief for the school newspaper at her U.S. high school, Alyssa wants to help give a voice to the people who don’t have one. The cultural awareness and cross-cultural communication skills she is gaining on the CBYX program will help her thrive in her chosen path.