Hallo Deutschland!

Kent Rapp, a 2014 graduate of Ridgefield High School, will be studying abroad in Germany during the 2017-2018 school year with the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals.

Rapp, a rising senior at Rensselaer Polytechnic, was one of 75 Americans selected out of a pool of 500 applicants.  

“I decided to apply because I had taken German all the way from ERMS up to the AP level at the high school,” Rapp told The Press.

“My college doesn’t offer German, so it has been hard to keep up with the language since I left RHS.”

Despite the academic break, he considers himself proficient in the language.

“If you put me in the middle of Germany, I could easily get around,” he said.

Nonetheless, for the first two months of the 11-month exchange, Rapp will take part in an extensive language training program meant to raise participants to a level close to fluency.  During this time, he will live with a host family in the city of Rostock, on the Northern coast of Germany.

The next four months revolve around taking classes at a German University. Finally, for the rest of the program, Rapp will intern at a German company that specializes in chemical and biological engineering — his chosen career field.

Funding

The program is funded by the U.S. Department of State and the German Bundestag, which together conceived the exchange in 1983 to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the first German settlers’ arrival in America.

As for Rapp, he is one of 2,000-plus Americans who have participated in the program since its inauguration.

“I was incredibly excited when I found out I was accepted,” Rapp said. “I know other students who have said the time they spent in Germany was the best year of their life.”

Rapp said he’s looking forward to “connecting with a different culture in an intimate way [and] building cultural intelligence is increasingly important in a globalized world.”