Gering sophomore, Olivia Longmore, was recently selected to travel abroad to Germany as a foreign exchange student. She will be there from August of 2019 to June 2020.
“I’ve always been interested in traveling and speaking to other people about different cultures,” said Longmore. “It’s interesting to get to know people that are unlike ourselves.”
Counselor David Lashley sent out an email regarding the the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange, or CBYX program, which allows students to study abroad in Germany. This was something that peaked Longmore’s interest.
“I started in August. It was a seven or ten page long application where I had to do six short essays based on questions. I had to write a potential letter to host families, which will be the people hosting me in Germany. I also had to fill out where I was from, what grade I am and get transcripts from my previous years [at Gering].” Longmore said that this took roughly a month-and-a-half.
She received an email in December that told her she was a semifinalist and would have to visit either Texas, West Virginia, or Georgia to be interviewed. She chose to attend the interview in West Virginia.
“It was a very interesting process. They take 50 [students] from the Midwest and southern portions of the United States and 50 from the east.”
Longmore found out towards the end of March that she was selected.
“It was very surreal. I had been working towards this for such a long time, and I understood that the rates were not very good and it wasn’t in my favor and I am only a sophomore, so it was just very surreal that all of my accomplishments up until now had finally paid off and that I would actually be leaving this high school for a full year.”
One person that inspired her was Gering graduate and German foreign exchange student, Liesa Perlberg.
“Liesa last year was a German foreign exchange student here. I thought it was such an amazing opportunity that no one else would experience. She talked about how she connected with people and this was just a totally different unique experience.”
Longmore is currently in the process of filling out an application to determine who her host family would be. She also has to earn her remaining school credits through online courses so she will graduate with her class. Aside from that, she will ask Gering German teacher, Andy Stobel, for his help in learning more German.
Before she goes to Germany, she will attend an immersion camp through the CBYX program, where she will given a test about how much German she knows. They will take those results and further her education on the language as well as the culture and any other information necessary that will be beneficial to her while she is in the country..
“The process is very intimidating, but just being able to go and interview with people who are so amazing and talented, it’s just a very unique experience.