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Exchange Students Reflect on Time in St. Louis

Bianca Diaz, Celina Korzer, Florian Kempinger and Hannah FlockGerman exchange students Hannah Flock, Florian Kempinger and Celina Korzer soon will complete their internships and thus their study abroad opportunity at St. Louis Community College.

In the final days of stay in St. Louis, the three students reflect on their time in America and share what they will be doing upon their return home.

Q.: Where you are serving your internships?

Flock: Currently I am doing my internship at Aldi Maplewood. I learned to be a tax clerk and got my degree back in Germany. Because of the different tax law, it was hard to find a job as a tax clerk here in America. That’s why I decided to get a job close to my host family’s house. 

Kempinger: I am currently serving my internship at Hydromat Inc, which is an engineering company. Hydromat builds precision transfer machines, which are used to produce high volume metal parts for the automotive industry as an example.

Korzer: I served my internship, at a software company called OBERD. The company has about 55 employees and it is located Columbia, Missouri. Most of the time I worked on templates and designed a few forms.

Q.: What has been most challenging during your stay?

Flock: I think the most challenging thing in this year were the first few days/weeks. Being in a foreign country, with a new family and a language, you are not 100% mature in, made a few things pretty challenging. For example, buying a car, getting a social security number or opening a bank account. I am certain that another challenging thing will be to say goodbye to my hosts, new friends and the dream life I could live here for almost a whole year.

Hannah Flock and Celina KorzerKempinger: It's been challenging to set up everything for our travel back to Germany. After such a long time overseas, it feels like St. Louis became a home and saying goodbye won’t be easy. It also does not help that our bucket list for America is still way too long.

Korzer: I think the most challenging part for me, was the first month in the U.S. We had so much important things to get done, like the driver’s license, buying a car, getting an appointment for the Social Security Office. Unfortunately, it was harder than I thought, and things didn’t work out as they should. But hey, it’s fine, with the help of my incredible host family, we got it all done.

Q.: What you have enjoyed the most during your stay in St. Louis?

Flock: I enjoyed every single moment here. The best time of the year, though, was around Christmas. Being part of all those amazing and for me new traditions was breathtaking. All the Christmas light trails, the unique ornaments, and meeting the relatives of my host family was wonderful. Another thing about St. Louis, what I really enjoy, is Forest Park. This huge park offers so many things to do during the whole year. It is the perfect balance to living in a big city. The view up or down the Art Hill is incredible!

Kempinger: What I most enjoyed was the St. Louis Blues games, the Christmas light, and most importantly, the generosity and kindness of so many people I’ve met throughout the entire program.

Korzer: I enjoy it so much, because it´s a big city with the flair of a small, familiar city. When I am sitting in my backyard, you would never realize you’re living in St. Louis. Within 20 minutes you can be everywhere. All the streets with little bars, were always so much fun. I also really enjoyed Cardinals and Blues games. And of course, all the time I could spend together with host family and my friends. I will miss it so, so much. I had the best time of my life and would immediately do it again – hopefully I am back ASAP.

Q.: What you plan to do when you arrive back home? 

Flock: I will go back to school/college in Germany, which starts in September. I am planning on getting the degree for teaching accounting and tax law at a vocational school. I definitely will try to participate in a semester abroad during the college time. 

Kempinger: After going back to Germany, I will go to another two-year technical school, for continuing my education in the field of mechatronics. To do so, I plan on moving from Murnau, my small city in southern Germany, to Munich. And I will eat a lot of German bread, that is soft inside with a crunchy crust.

Florian Kempinger and his host familyKorzer: Back in Germany, I’ll continue my study in electronical engineering and information technology. But before that starts in October, I can’t wait to see family and friends again and tell them about the amazing year I had.

Host Families Needed
St. Louis Community College is seeking host families for German students participating in the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals.

CBYX is a reciprocal scholarship program that has been funded by the United States Congress and German Parliament (Bundestag) for the past 31 years. The program annually brings 75 young German professionals to study at colleges across the U.S. Participants live with a host family, study at a local college and complete a six-month paid internship in their career field.

While these programs are a cultural experience for the students, they are also an exciting opportunity for hosts. Hosts range from couples and families with children to single individuals and grandparents.

A host should be interested in having a young student in their home for a year and excited about an opportunity to learn and share with the student. The student should be integrated into your daily life, help in the household and participate in family activities and celebrations.

The students will arrive in St. Louis in August 2022 and stay with their hosts through July 2023. Interested host families should apply before Friday, July 1.

If you are interested in hosting, contact Chris Sulincevski, district coordinator for international education, at 314-644-9671.

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