CIEE, a nonprofit study abroad and intercultural exchange organization, announced on July 11th that Heidi Braun, a 16-year old gap year student at Weber High School, is one of 250 American high school students to be awarded the esteemed Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX) Scholarship for the 2022-2023 academic year.
CBYX is a fully funded bilateral exchange program co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and German Bundestag (Parliament). Among its alumni are over one million people around the world, including more than 50 Nobel Laureates and more than 350 current or former heads of state and government.
As a CBYX scholar, Heidi will spend the academic year living with a host family, attending a German high school, and participating in a language and cultural training program to gain a better understanding of German culture, language, and everyday life.
Additionally, she’ll also have the opportunity to visit the German Bundestag, meet with American and German government officials, participate in intercultural seminars, and explore the country through excursions to nearby cities and historical sites. Sounds fun, right? It is also highly impressive.
North Ogden Connection was able to connect with Heidi for a brief interview on the day she was flying to Germany, and this is what she had to say.
How does it feel to have achieved the win for a CBYX?
It honestly feels surreal that I am one of the participants of the CBYX program. It is an extremely rigorous scholarship, so the fact that I have the opportunity to be in the program is super exciting and quite an accomplishment.
What specific accomplishments of yours earned you this prestigious global citizenry scholarship?
Accomplishments include being Secretary of the Environmental Science Club and my videography done on behalf of the Hope Squad for the past two years. I am also the founder, president, and videographer of Weber’s Empowering Women, and I was chosen to be North Ogden Connection’s Student of the Month. I’m also graduating at age sixteen: a year early.
Will this be your first visit to Germany?
Yes, this will be my first time flying anywhere outside of the USA, and I’ve wanted to visit Germany for a long time, so I am super stoked!
What does being a global citizen mean to you?
To me, a global citizen is a person who is aware of world perspectives and understands their purpose globally. A global citizen advocates for world peace and a more sustainable and fairer global community.
What was the application process like?
It was long. You have to answer five essay questions, in addition to writing a host letter. The announcement process is also long. Getting past the first round of cuts for the scholarship lasted from October to February. From there, I had to submit a second application before the final recipients were announced.
What are your personal aspirations after you’re done with secondary school?
After the program, I would love to major in environmental studies with a minor in film. I’d like to mix the two and film global environmental issues as a career abroad.
From everyone here at North Ogden Connection, congratulations, Heidi!