From Cranes to Congress and Capitol
Daniela Vogel Reports a Very Special Internship Experience
Before I started school at the Friedrich-Fischer-Schule (BOS) Schweinfurt, I took part in the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals Program (CBYX or Parlamentarisches Patenschafts-Programm PPP). This is an exchange program between the German Bundestag and the U.S.-American Congress, which was founded to strengthen the transatlantic ties through personal connections. Every year 75 young Germans are sent to the United States with this scholarship and 75 young Americans come to Germany in return. There are several parts of the CBYX program: attending a quarter turn at a college or university, working in an American company as well as doing voluntary work.
I was placed in Washington State, about an hour south of Seattle. I attended Clover Park Technical College and took some classes in Mechatronics and Digital Imaging. During the year I stayed with a host family which consisted of a 70-year old woman and a Chinese exchange student. Thus, I experienced the multicultural part of the US.
The working part of the year I spent in an American steel bar company, operating machines and cranes. This was a lot of fun but also hard work. I wasn’t surprised that I was the only woman working there. I was also one of five participants, who were chosen to take part in the Congressional Internship Program (CIP). This was a special honor, because I had the chance to do a six-week internship at the office of a Representative of the House of Representatives, Dave Reichert (Republican). This offered me a special view behind the scenes of politics in the U.S.
This internship was in Washington D.C. from January until February 2017. I got a variety of tasks such as: welcoming guests at the office, doing running errands, analyzing polls, reading and sorting mail and mainly answering phone calls. Especially due to controversial statements of the new president, the phone hardly ever kept still and we had days with about 700 callers. So it was a very busy time, but it was such a special time.
I also had the opportunity to attend the Inauguration of Donald Trump. So I was there when he gave his speech in front of the Capitol in D.C. This was kind of crazy, because normally even American citizens have a low chance to get a ticket to this event. The next day I was also out there, attending the Women’s March on Washington with millions of people on the streets, which was very inspiring.
Another interesting experience was running errands in the Capitol, walking by famous politicians whom I normally just knew from watching TV (Maxine Waters, Pramila Jayapal, Dennis Heck, Jim Risch, Rand Paul, Richard Burr, Patty Murray,…). I also got a personal tour around the Capitol, to learn about all the historical facts about the statues and building. I also attended some presentations about Health Care etc. and had to give a report to the office. This and the conversations with hundreds of people on the phone gave me such special perspectives of politics in the U.S.A. that changed and influenced me in my way of thinking.
Daniela Vogel, BT12a
If you want to learn more about the program: http://www.bundestag.de/ppp
If you like to read more of my personal experiences: http://33ppp.de/danielavogel/