Symmes named Congress-Bundestag Scholar

Saskia+Slykermann+and+Clara+Symmes

Photos courtesy of Clara Symmes

Katy Hochberg

Many seniors have college on their minds this time of year with high school graduation just weeks away.
But Clara Symmes, Class of ’14, won’t be going to college this fall. She’ll be traveling Germany with Congress Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX) and working at an internship.
“I had originally planned to study in Sweden next year, but was looking around for other opportunities as well,” said Symmes. “My German teacher, Frau Ernst, introduced me to the program and I was so excited about it. I applied on a whim and was shocked and so excited to hear that they were accepting me.”
CBYX is a U.S. State Department-funded program “for motivated high school students who want to fully immerse themselves in German culture by living with a host family and attending a local high school,” according to the program’s website.
Symmes’ first stop in Germany as a Congress-Bundestag Scholar will be Bonn, a town near the western border. There she will go through intensive language and culture training for seven weeks.
Afterwards she will go to a volunteer host family somewhere in the country, though at this point in time she doesn’t know who that host family will be, or where they live.
Symmes has become friends with many other students awarded scholarships in the program. They keep in contact through Facebook pages and group chats.
She met one fellow participant when she went for her interview in Boston; since then they have become close friends.
Everybody in the program will meet in Bonn for language and culture training, then go separate ways for their internships.
Clara SymmesSymmes hopes that her assigned internship may relate somehow to her existing hobbies, which include dance, photography, and videography.
“I really want to work with ballet companies on publicity through videography. Hopefully, I will also be able to join a dance school and participate in performances as well,” she said.

Symmes has danced at Petit Papillon School of Ballet in downtown Concord for 14 years.

Symmes leaves for Germany  July 8 and will remain abroad for a total of 11 months. Upon her return she’ll get a summer job and then begin studies at Goucher College in the fall of 2015.