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German youth exchange program offers live-work experience for Strategic Communications alumna

Kailyn Schmidt, a 2016 Strategic Communications graduate, has been spending the 2016-17 academic year studying, living, and working in Germany as part of the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals.

Kailyn Schmidt, a 2016 Strategic Communications graduate, has been spending the 2016-17 academic year studying, living, and working in Germany as part of the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals.

Schmidt was one of only 75 college graduates accepted into the highly competitive program, to which roughly 1,000 people apply. Travel expenses, a living stipend, and tuition are provided to each participant.

At the outset of the program, Schmidt attended an intensive language school in Cologne, building on the advanced German capacities she developed in multiple 300-level German courses at Elon. At the end of her time in Cologne, Schmidt was rated at the C1 (advanced-high) proficiency level, making her eligible for disciplinary university study in German.

In September, Schmidt enrolled in the Medienbildung program (Audiovisual Culture and Communications) at the Otto-von-Guericke Universität Magdeburg. She took coursework on TV series, Marshall McLuhan’s media theory, microblogging, and 2D game development. All courses were taught in German.

In February, Schmidt began a five-month full-time internship at the advertising agency Buff in Magdeburg, running social media campaigns and accounts in German. She also completed 40 hours of volunteer work, a requirement of the program.

Schmidt reports: “I am thoroughly enjoying my time in Germany and am fortunate to have been selected for this program. While I’m not convinced that anything can fully prepare a person to move to a new country, I can say that the German program at Elon provided me with a solid foundation. I came to Germany confident in my language skills and my understanding of German culture and history. That foundation has made all the difference.”

As part of the exchange year, Schmidt lives with a host family in Magdeburg. She arrived in time to attend a celebration festival for the Day of German Unity in early October, which celebrates German reunification in October 1990. The city is located in the former East Germany, and Schmidt reports lingering differences between the eastern and western halves of Germany.

“Kailyn’s successes are further evidence that knowing a second language benefits students’ careers as well as their intellectual development,” said Sophie Adamson, the chair of the Department of World Languages and Cultures. “Attaining strong proficiency in German created this wonderful opportunity for Kailyn.”

Scott Windham,
Faculty
4/4/2017 2:05 PM