Briana Santiago, a fourth-year economics major and Africana studies minor, has been awarded the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals (CBYX) fellowship. Santiago will spend a year in Germany studying, interning, and living with hosts on a cultural immersion program.
The CBYX fellowship consists of three phases: two months of intensive German language training, four months of classes in the student’s academic or career field at a university, technical, or professional school, and a five-month internship in the student’s career field. Santiago was one of 75 students selected for the fellowship, out of a pool of nearly 600 applicants.
“The interview was intense, with tricks being thrown at the interviewees, as well as difficult questions regarding past experiences and German politics,” says Santiago. “It was quite intimidating, and I didn’t feel very confident leaving.”
Santiago began learning German at Oberlin “for fun,” wanting to take a course that she would be “excited to attend each day, and that would have a lasting impact after the class.” By her senior year, Santiago had realized that she was serious about studying the language. She applied for the CBYX fellowship as she was seeking opportunities to continue learning German, to spend time abroad, and to gain work experience after graduation.
As a varsity basketball player, Santiago was never able to study abroad during her time at Oberlin as her seasons took place in the fall and spring. With the CBYX fellowship, Santiago will live with a host family in either Cologne, Radolfzell, or Saarbrüken, attending both a language school and a university.
Santiago hopes that she will become fluent in German during her time abroad, and that the academic courses and internship will aid her in her eventual pursuit of an MBA. “Hopefully this fellowship will not only be a fantastic experience, but something that will be beneficial when I look to apply to business schools,” she says. “I also hope I can develop more of an idea as to what field in business I would like to pursue.”