She likes the english language. She is interested in politics. She likes to get involved in society. Maxime haag will soon be able to combine all this: in august, the young woman from marktsteft will go to the u.S. For a year as a scholarship holder of the parliamentary sponsorship program (PPP) of the bundestag.
In 1983, the congress of the united states of america and the german parliament agreed on a two-way youth exchange program. The goal: to create a network of people-to-people connections between young people in the u.S. And germany to reinforce shared political values and learn about different ways of life in the other country. More than 35 years have passed since then, numerous politicians from various parties have been at the helm of the two countries, and yet the idea has lost none of its relevance.
Maxime haag became aware of the program last summer. She was visiting the senior class of the high school when a flyer was distributed there. The note aroused her curiosity, especially since she had already thought about it: "going abroad for a while would be cool."She has already been to taize for a few days and spent a week in england with her school. The fact that an offer from the bundestag fell into her hands was particularly fitting, because the 17-year-old likes to get involved with others, was a school spokeswoman, is politically active. She is a member of the local CSU association in marktsteft and is a member of the executive committee of the JU district association in kitzingen.
Simply registering is not enough for the PPP. Like all other students and trainees who want to participate in the program, maxime applied in july last year. Applicants must not only demonstrate good school performance and english language skills, but also have social skills. They go through a two-stage selection process with speeches, a discussion round and a test of general political education. "The decisive factor in the selection process is the applicant’s overall personality and suitability to participate in the PPP as a junior ambassador," says the bundestag website.
When it was clear that maxime would be there, preparations began, including a week-long meeting with all the scholarship holders who will be leaving for overseas in august. It was held up by the youth exchange program "youth for understanding", which is behind the sponsorship program.
"We got a lot of tools for our year abroad," says the 17-year-old. It’s about settling in and homesickness, the differences between life in germany and the u.S., adjusting to life in the country, dealing with war veterans, the american electoral system and much more. It’s important to know your way around, maxime says. "Because every exchange student represents germany".
Which state she comes from, which family she comes from, what their political views are – the market stalwart doesn’t know all that yet. Because the location has not yet been determined, it is also still open whether she will go to school as a junior or senior – in the USA, the school system differs from state to state. Maxime’s year abroad, which she will take after her first year at the kitzingen technical high school, will not be counted as a year. Nevertheless, her mother katja agrees that it was not lost: "I’m sure she’ll take a lot away with her from this year."She speaks from her own experience, having spent several months abroad as a young woman. "It has really enriched my life."
The fact that school attendance is not counted in america even has a special attraction, maxime finds: "there aren’t many subjects prescribed, so i can try out what i want," she says happily.
And she will meet many people. Not only the host parents, the fellow students and teachers. The scholarship holders must also perform a certain number of community service hours, for example in a kindergarten or in a senior citizens’ facility. "You can expand that if you want to". It will be a valuable experience."
Each scholarship holder is also assigned a sponsor by the congress. During a one-week stay in washington, the young people can get a taste of everyday political life in the capital city. The fact that the presidential primaries are taking place while they are in the u.S. Adds a special touch to the experience.
"Cool", "great", "exciting", "wonderful" – anyone who talks to maxime can see how happy she is to be able to contribute to the understanding of the people. She has infected her parents, who have been positive about the exchange from the beginning, with her enthusiasm: in july, a young girl from the u.S. Is coming to the marktsteft family for five weeks and will go to school together with maxime, katja haag says. "Without youth for understanding we would not have come up with it."