Below is a letter from a Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange Scholarship (CBYX) student Bianca Todte. She recently met her congresswoman, Lynn Jenkins.
Bianca and Lynn
My name is Bianca Todte, I am 16 years old and I am from Germany. The idea of becoming a foreign exchange student started pretty early, in 8th grade. I told my parents about that but they said that I would be too young. But the idea never really faded.
Eventually, I decided to take the scholarship from the CBYX program after they told me after a long procedure and tests that I finally received the scholarship.
So I began preparing for my adventure and went also to the one week of preparation from Ayusa. Then finally the big day arrived and I found myself being in Topeka, Kansas.
The first time in the US was really exciting and interesting. I think there is no big difference between living with an American family and with a German family. But, pets are definitely more a member of the family than in Germany, and the meals are very different, too. Sport is a very big deal here! Almost everybody loves football and me and my family go to all the basketball games from the universities in Topeka. Also in high school sports are a big deal! But I just love the school spirit here. Everybody is proud of our school! The Americans are very nice and it didn't take me very long to get to know a lot of people. I noticed since I came here is that Americans are very friendly.
Today I met with the member of congress, Lynn Jenkins. She was much nicer than I expected. We just talked a little bit about me and what I think about the USA and Topeka. When you see somebody on TV then this person seems to be so unreachable and important. So I was really excited before meeting her, because I didn't know what to say and how she is going to be. But I was surprised. She was very friendly and we had a small talk about simple stuff and we laughed and she also hugged me. So she was just a human as you and I are.
I learned already a lot about myself here and I am much more open than I was before. I just enjoy experiencing another view and attitude from another culture and country and I think that will help me to see the world a lot different. For example, not to judge anything before you really get to know it and that there is a reason for all the actions that seems to be strange, but only because you didn't try to understand the reason.
I want to thank you for the opportunity to be here. I learn so much and make unforgettable experiences. Thank you so much!