An astrobiology major goes abroad

by Brian Silver, B.S Astrobiology ‘12

The Congress Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals (CBYX) is an exchange program designed to build positive business relationships between young Americans and Germans.  CBYX is administered by Cultural Vistas (a nonprofit organization headquartered in New York with strong ties to Germany).  Every year since 1983, this program sends 75 students studying technical or vocational fields from the U.S. to Germany and 75 students from Germany to the U.S.  CBYX is a yearlong exchange program that begins with two months of intensive German language education, four months of study at a German university and concludes with a six month internship in Germany.  The program officially starts with an orientation seminar July 29, 2012 in Washington D.C., and then all participants fly to Germany on July 31.

I first learned about this program from the Director of Study Abroad at Florida Tech.  I had been interested in visiting Germany since high school, when I first started studying the German language.   I wanted to eventually become proficient in German, but later realized that this would require intensive exposure to the language, so I was very excited to learn that the CBYX program existed, and am extremely grateful to have been accepted.  This program also fits in well with my major and interests.  I am a senior and majoring in astrobiology, an interdisciplinary program where I get to study physics, space science, chemistry, and biology.

Germany is a major center of scientific achievement, and the German language appears frequently in science.  Learning to communicate in German in my career field will enable me to meet friends, professors, and researchers in Germany and broaden my contacts and career options.  Having lived in Florida my entire life, I realize this experience will be challenging, but I enjoy adventure and am excited to adapt to a completely different climate and experience German culture firsthand.

I am greatly appreciative of the research experience I have gained at Florida Tech and for the support and advice from my professors, mentors and academic advisors for making this experience possible.  I plan to learn as much as I can while overseas and look forward to sharing my experiences with you through blogging.

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