Sunday, January 31, 2010



Finally done with the Elks scholarship- that's good.  I still have to write a halbzeitbericht soon, but I can worry about that later.

January went by fast!  Like, really fast!  New Years seems like just yesterday... I do not approve.  Why is everything so fast?

Today it snowed alot.  I read in the newspaper that this January was the coldest January in 13 years, and earlier this week I read that this winter was the coldest winter (so far) in 16 years.  Just my luck, right?  Cold cold cold... but like I said earlier, at least it's getting brighter!  Anke was telling me about how in the summer it will stay bright until 11 at night... that sounds just lovely.

I didn't do too much this weekend; I spent most of it applying for that Elks scholarship.  Friday, though, I went to Parkhaus, one of Luebeck's discos.  I've been there a few times before, but this time it seemed like everyone was there.  I know I've said it before, but Luebeck is cool like that- it's plenty big enough that there's always something to do, but it's small enough that you meet people coincidentally all the time.

In the Waldorfschule we just finished Projective Geometry, which is a kind of strange Waldorf math.  The focus was on predicting the image of an original shape or picture onto a perpendicular plane.  It kind of cool, actually.  I'm not sure how useful it is, but it's certainly a good exercise in mental imaging.  It forces thought.

Last week I also started carpentry, which is richtig geil.  I built a little display stand last week, and this week I want to start a similar one, but without right angles- a little more askew, a little more Waldorf.  We'll see how it works.  I'll post photos soon.


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  2. Hi Tim! still lurking around your sounds like you're having a pretty amazing time. This may be a silly question, but if at some point over the next month you could give me a general idea of what to expect at the CBYX selection committee, that would be awesome. Mine is at the end of February, and I'm pretty excited about it - just a bit nervous.
    Viel gluek mit dein Halbzeitbericht! (or something like that)

  3. Hey Mags. That's not a silly question! It's always good to be prepared.

    My CBYX interview had three parts, and none were intimidating- don't be nervous.

    1. Meet & greet, questions, discussion: I'm almost certain that nobody was actively observing us- it was only informative, not selective. In this section you just talk about CBYX, what it means, and the AFS system. Or not AFS, I'm not sure- CBYX is divided among five regional foreign exchange programs. MA is AFS, I would imagine NY is too.

    2. Individual interview: This was a little tricky. They started off with questions about my background, things I've done, examples of leadership, etc. Very normal interview type stuff. What was difficult were the next questions- they had a serious of hypothetical questions and situations, and asked how I would respond to them. Most of them were nothing special, but there were one or two that were really tricky. One that I remember was, "Your host brother introduces you to his friends, and after a few weeks you become good friends with them yourself. Eventually they stop hanging out with your host brother and only invite you along. Your host brother is disappointed, and you think he may me angry at you. What do you do? How do you react?"

    What's important to remember in the individual interview section is that you're essentially applying for an ambassadorial job. The CBYX scholarship is described as "payment in advance" for the job of representing the US. And, as an ambassador, you should demonstrate professionalism, leadership, and presence. For example- when you enter the room, walk straight up to all the people on the panel, shake their hands, and introduce yourself. Rather than sitting right down, this makes you stand out as somebody who has confidence and a solid mindset.

    It's really not too intimidating, though. My board were two twenty year olds, a late woman in her late thirties, and an older woman on the AFS board. I would imagine you will also have one or two younger people there, too, generally alumni from the CBYX program.

    (more to come)

  4. 3. The group interview: This isn't an interview in the traditional sense of the word. I'm sure it's always a little different, but we were broken into teams and each given a challenge. My challenge was to work together with three other applicants to build a tower out of of the materials in a bag: straws, tape, sticks, rubberbands, paper, etc. There was another team with the same challenge, too, and we were competing to see who could build higher. There was a catch, though: no verbal language whatsoever.

    It doesn't matter if your team wins or loses (my team lost... miserably. Our tower fell down a few seconds before schluss and ended up measuring a few centimeters; their tower was more than a meter). What's important is recognizing the point of the exercise, and showing that you're capable.

    My challenge, for instance, wasn't really about building a tower. It was about communication- the idea was to work with people on a common goal, with alternative communication. Yes, one person could have taken over and built a beastly tower, but that wasn't really what CBYX was looking for (in my opinion). If you can display leadership, though, in conjunction with teamwork, then you've set yourself up for success. Don't be afraid to take charge, just remain cognizant that it's a team challenge for a reason.

    Extra points, as always, for creativity and queerdenken. The other team used the bag that all the supplies came in in their design, the board liked that.

    Afterwards you will all discuss the challenge together. Definitely talk here- you could sit quietly, but that's not very impressive. There will be normal questions like, "What was hard? What did you learn? How did you overcome problems? What did you notice?". This part is just as important as the challenge, I think. Learning from an experience is just as important as living it. Remain optimistic, even if you miserably failed (like my group), and talk about specific things you learned.

    It's actually a pretty fun day, and you get to meet some other kids you may potentially go with. I met a friend of mine there, Rachel, and she lives in Hamburg now, and we meet up every once in a while. Get contact info if you can! These are always cool people- not everyone wants to study abroad, and only the cool kids get invited to the selection process in the first place.

    I want to stress one more time the importance of presence and professionalism- when everything is over, personally seek out every member on your selection committee and personally thank them for their time and consideration, and shake their hands again. Be sure that they leave with a strong, positive image as you as the girl who went one step further.

    Of course, I've only been to one CBYX selection process. I don't know if they're all like that, but most of what I've said holds true for any sort of interview.... auf jeden Falls, ich wuensche dir viel Glueck!