Friday Harbor High School junior Sheya Welty is headed to Germany to study abroad this year. Welty has been awarded a prestigious scholarship to spend her junior year abroad, living with a host family and attending a German high school.
According to ASSE International in their press release Welty, a high school student from Friday Harbor, is one of 50 American high school students from across the United States to be awarded the prestigious Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange scholarship for the 2022 – 2023 academic year. Scholarship students will be traveling from August 2022 to June 2023. CBYX is a bi-lateral exchange program co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and the German Bundestag (Parliament).
While Welty does not yet know her host family, she is excited about the opportunity to travel abroad and immerse herself in a foreign country. “I’ve always wanted to travel abroad,” says Welty, “so I applied.” According to Welty, a teammate of hers on the basketball team was in the program a couple of years ago, so she looked it up. “I went through an eight-month difficult process, making calls and submitting essays,” says Welty, “with multiple interviews before I finally made it to the finals, and they told me I was going to Germany. I was so excited when I got the news.”
Before Welty leaves for Germany she is attending a soccer camp tournament off-island, then meets with the other 49 American students before flying to Germany Aug. 10. When Welty arrives in Germany she and the other students in the program will attend a four-week language camp before being placed with their host families. “This will give every one of us a little taste of Germany before the school year begins,” says Welty.
Welty is a multi-generational islander. Both she and her parents were born on Orcas Island before moving to San Juan Island when she was in second grade. “I’ve always wanted to be in the medical field,” says Welty, “and I’m looking forward to the opportunities I’m going to have during my academic year. Germany has very progressive environmental policies,” adds Welty, “with high living conditions for all citizens, not just the wealthy. I’m really excited to see how they live sustainably.”
To her fellow students and friends on the island, Welty encourages them to participate in travel abroad opportunities. “I know it’s really hard to step out of your comfort zone,” says Welty, “but I’d like to encourage students to take advantage. It’s going to be such a great experience and so worth it!”
Since 1983, the U.S. Congress and German Bundestag have funded the prestigious Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange Scholarship Program to help prepare ambitious young people for a global future. The CBYX program has enabled more than 27,000 students to expand their global perspectives and make new friends. CBYX students are youth ambassadors of the United States, sharing their life and culture with their German hosts and building a greater understanding of the United States and its diversity.
Each year, as a U.S. Department of State partner, ASSE International awards the fully funded CBYX scholarship to 50 high-achieving high school students from 10 states, allowing youth from a diverse array of communities to participate in a full cultural immersion experience.
When Welty leaves for Germany there will also be a group of German CBYX scholarship students arriving to live with American host families while attending high school in the USA. Students and families interested in receiving more information about hosting a German Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange Scholarship winner from Germany should call 1-800-333-3802 or visit ASSE’s website at www.asse.com or Become an ASSE host family.
The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs promotes international mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries through a wide range of academic, cultural, private-sector, professional, and sports exchange programs. The Bureau’s exchanges engage youth, students, educators, artists, athletes, and emerging leaders in many fields in the United States and in more than 160 countries. Alumni of State Department exchanges comprise one million people around the world, including more than 75 Nobel Laureates and more than 450 current or former heads of state and government. Visit eca.state.gov to learn more.