Louise Mayer ’13 of Sparta, N.J., has been selected to participate in the 2013-14 Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX) for Young Professionals, a cultural exchange fellowship for which just 75 American students are chosen annually from among more than 600 applicants.
Funded by the United States Congress and the German Bundestag, the national parliament of the Federal Republic of Germany, CBYX provides 150 young professionals – 75 each from the United States and Germany – the opportunity to spend one year in each others’ countries, studying, interning, and living with hosts on a cultural immersion program. The program is open to candidates in all career fields who are interested in a year of cultural exchange.
Mayer, who graduated magna cum laude from Rider with a B.A. in Arts Administration in May, will begin her fellowship by attending an intensive, two-month German language course in one of three cities – Cologne, Saarbrücken or Radolfzell – followed by nine months in a paid internship aligned with her professional interests.
“It will be assigned based on my previous professional experience as well as ultimate career goals,” said Mayer, who minored in German and recently completed a public relations internship with the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark – an opportunity that suited her desire to work in marketing within the field of arts and entertainment industry.
“I love the performing arts and wish to work closely with this industry in the future,” Mayer explained. “The CBYX program is so wonderful because it allows students with many different types of career paths to experience Germany on a professional level. Germany is a country thriving with culture and artistic platforms so I know that this program will be a perfect blend of both my major and minor.”
The arts are neither new nor a novelty to Mayer, whose mother was an actor.
“I was always in the theater so I developed a love for the performing arts at a very young age. I began singing in choirs, playing violin in the orchestra, and later, dancing for the University dance team,” Mayer explained. “I love artistic environments, and because I am not attempting to become a performer myself, I want to be involved in the business side of it.”
While her fealty for the performing arts was established well before she enrolled at Rider, Mayer’s interest in public relations began more recently.
“I took a few public relations courses at Rider and after my internship at NJPAC, I really realized how much I loved it and wished to pursue this career path,” she said.
Mayer, who never formally studied abroad as a Rider student, is nevertheless familiar with the European nation, which she has visited since her childhood with her German father. She said she first learned of the CBYX program though a presentation in the class of Dr. Margaret Schleissner, professor of German, by a former student who had also participated in it.
“She handed out brochures to the class and discussed her personal experiences with the program and how it had a positive impact on her life,” Mayer recalled. “The opportunity to live, work and study in Germany for an entire year after graduation sounded absolutely amazing to me.”
Mayer began the application process shortly thereafter and was exultant after her acceptance.
“Being accepted into this program has been such a blessing for me and I am so excited to graduate and begin this journey. The CBYX program is extremely competitive and I know that my academic experience here at Rider really helped prepare me for both the application and interview process,” Mayer said. “This program is so personal to me because my father is German and I could not think of a better way to spend my year after graduation. I am so thankful to Dr. Schleissner for introducing this program into my life and cannot wait for the year ahead.”
The CBYX program is sponsored in the United States by the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, under the authority of the Fulbright-Hays Act of 1961, as amended. Since 1984, more than 1,650 Americans have been awarded this opportunity to gain cultural, theoretical and practical work experience in Germany.