Public Diplomacy Fellowship
Funded by the U.S. Congress
& German Bundestag


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals (CBYX)?

CBYX for Young Professionals is a yearlong fellowship, funded by the German Bundestag and U.S. Congress through the U.S. Department of State. The program annually gives 75 American young professionals the opportunity to study, work, and live with a host in Germany. The CBYX program consists of three phases: two months of German language school; four months of classes in your career field at a university, technical school, or professional school; and a five-month internship in your career field. Participants are placed throughout Germany. CBYX is primarily designed for participants in business, engineering, technical, vocational, and agricultural fields, though applicants in all fields are encouraged to apply.

Do I need to speak German?

No. The program includes two months of intensive language training upon your arrival in Germany. We strongly recommend that applicants and participants have some German language skills prior to departure, but there are a number of participants every year who speak little or no German at the beginning of the program. All participants complete language training, and are placed in a class level appropriate to their proficiency in German.

What career fields are best suited for the CBYX program?

The program is primarily designed for business, engineering, technical, vocational, and agricultural fields, though applicants from all fields are encouraged to apply. A background in one of the fields listed is especially ideal in combination with previous German language instruction, and a strong interest in cultural immersion. Please see Participant Profiles for more information.

What will I need to pay for?

Although this is a funded fellowship program, participants must pay for their transportation to the orientation seminar in Washington, D.C. and for all of their transportation from the evaluation seminar in New York City at the end of the year. Participants also need to bring spending money for the year—we suggest € 250–300 per month for the duration of the program. This money covers personal items, entertainment, and some food. It does not include large purchases or travel. It is possible that the participant will be required to use some of this money to cover basic living expenses during the internship phase, in the case that the salary or the stipend provided does not cover them.

Who administers the CBYX for Young Professionals fellowship?

CBYX for Young Professionals is administered by Cultural Vistas, Inc. in the United States, and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH in Germany. These organizations are awarded grants to administer the program by the U.S. Department of State and the Bundestag Administration (WI4), respectively.

Can I still receive financial aid while participating in the program?

Most organizations will not continue to provide financial aid as they require the name of the academic institution the participant will be attending. This information is generally not available until September of the program year; however, Cultural Vistas can assist in obtaining a loan deferral due to financial hardship. We will provide a letter confirming participation in the exchange and detailing the financial aspects of the program. While Cultural Vistas is not authorized to grant these deferrals itself, participants have been successful in the past in obtaining a deferral on the basis of financial hardship, as well as through an Education Related Deferment Request.

What kind of assistance will I receive while in Germany?

Although this is a funded fellowship program, participants must pay for their transportation to the orientation seminar in Washington, D.C. and for all of their transportation from the evaluation seminar in New York City at the end of the year. Participants also need to bring spending money for the year—we suggest € 250–300 per month for the duration of the program. This money covers personal items, entertainment, and some food. It does not include large purchases or travel. It is possible that the participant will be required to use some of this money to cover basic living expenses during the internship phase, in the case that the salary or the stipend provided does not cover them.

Where would I live in Germany? Can I choose where I want to go?

In accordance with the public diplomacy goals of the CBYX program, participants are placed in communities throughout Germany. Placements are made by our partner organization, and take into account such factors as compararble educational and internship opportunities relevant to a participant's field, availability of suitable housing arrangements, and geographic diversity. If a participant is able to set up an internship in Germany prior to the start of the program by a given deadline, it will be taken into consideration in the placement process. Otherwise, placement preferences cannot be accommodated.

Can I get college credit for the schooling part of the program?

Cultural Vistas does not issue credits, nor can we guarantee transfer of credits for participants. Because the details of the study phase are in most cases not finalized until September of each year, and because German course offerings often change at the last minute, no information can be provided to your college before your departure regarding your program of study in Germany. It is also often the case that you will not finish the semester before the internship phase of the program begins. Some participants do, however, negotiate with their registrar or professors at their home institution to be able to receive credit. This applies to both the language school and study phases.

Is there a standard list of internships that participants choose from?

No. Participants must actively look for and apply to their own internships in their city and its immediate surroundings. Participants receive guidance from their regional representative in Germany, but are expected to take the initiative in the internship search.

What are the internships usually like?

Internships vary depending on field, previous experience, skills, and German language proficiency. German employers typically see internships as more of a learning opportunity than a short-term job, so don’t be surprised if you observe more than you perform. It is up to each participant to be realistic about his or her capabilities while making the most of the opportunities that present themselves.

How much do internships usually pay?

Compensation ranges from unpaid to generous salaries plus housing allowances. If the internship pays less than a certain amount (determined each year by the administering organizations) participants will continue to receive program stipends to cover basic living costs. If the internship pays very generously, living costs during the internship phase are usually covered by the salary. In some cases, however, participants will be required to supplement their salaries with personal funds in order to cover living expenses (see above).

What would my housing be like in Germany?

The program is designed to house participants with German hosts, to provide a cultural immersion experience. In some cases, participants live in student dormitories or in shared apartments. Participants are expected to integrate into family life, including taking part in family activities and household life.

Do I need to purchase medical insurance?

The program insurance will cover you for sickness and accidents while you are in Germany. It is important to note that the insurance does not cover pre-existing medical conditions, and only covers participants while they are in EU countries. The program insurance therefore will not cover you in the United States, and you will need to make sure you have insurance coverage prior to departing and upon your return to the United States. If a participant has a medical condition deemd to potentially have a significantly negative impact on the administration of their program, thr administering organizations may require that they purchase a supplemental insurance policy to cover the condition.

Can I stay in Germany upon completion of the program?

All participants are required to return to the United States for the evaluation seminar in New York City. This is a U.S. Department of State grant-supported cultural exchange that is funded for the purpose of promoting German-American relations, and assumes that participants will return to their native country to share their experiences upon completion of the program.

Am I eligible for other Cultural Vistas programs after I return?

While it is the desire of the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) that all participants will return to the United States to share what they have learned in Germany, there is no official policy against CBYX alumni taking part in other Cultural Vistas programs.

Does my family or college have to host a German as part of the "exchange"?

While CBYX is not a direct exchange between families or colleges, many participants are able to involve their family or college in the reciprocal side of the program. For more information, visit CBYX for Germans in the U.S.

Does the CBYX program have an active alumni network?

Since 1983, over 18,000 young people have participated in Congress-Bundestag exchanges for high school students, vocationalists, and young professionals. Over 3,000 American alumni have completed the CBYX for Young Professionals fellowship. Alumni can find resources on the Alumni portion of this website, as well as visit CBYX Alumni Community on the Department of State’s Alumni Network.

Ready to apply? Please review the CBYX Application Process.