MCC Student-veteran in Germany on Fellowship
Patrick Flynn never imagined when he enrolled at Middlesex Community College that he would find himself in Germany, immersed in a new language and culture as part of a highly selective U.S. State Department fellowship.
But in late July, Flynn settled into a host family’s home in Saarbrücken, Germany, a little city on the Saar River, where he attended an intensive German-language school for eight hours a day. At night, he would teach his three new German “little brothers” how to play Frisbee and American football.
This school year, Flynn is a fellow in the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals, or CBYX, program. Each year, 75 Americans and 75 Germans, ages 18-24, are given the opportunity to spend one year in each other’s countries, studying, interning and living with hosts through the fellowship program, which is funded by the German Bundestag and U.S. Department of State.
CBYX includes two months of intensive German-language training; four months of classes in one’s academic or career field at a university, technical or professional school; and five-month internships in one’s career field; plus transatlantic airfare, health insurance and monthly living-expense stipends.
“As the first MCC student to be selected for this prestigious fellowship, Patrick leads the way for other Middlesex students to apply and be selected,” said Dona Cady, professor of Humanities and former dean of Global Education. “In fact, the CBYX program managers have asked us to send more community-college students like Patrick to the program.”
Flynn, 24, a native of Rowley, enrolled at MCC in 2016 after serving four years as an Army infantry medic. Interested in becoming a civil engineer after seeing the majesty of the Golden Gate Bridge, Flynn chose Middlesex because of its Civil Engineering Transfer Program, offered in partnership with UMass Lowell.
He discovered the fellowship through an MCC campus-news email.
“I figured it sounded like a challenge,” Flynn said. “Worst-case scenario, I don’t get it and I keep doing what I’m doing. Best-case scenario, I get to be part of a prestigious program, learn a new language, and travel for free.”
In late September, Flynn moved into a second host family’s home in Münster, where he is taking classes for four months at Fachhochschule Münster, a university of applied sciences. He is also doing volunteer work with refugees.
In February, he will begin an internship, likely at an engineering firm in Münster, and will return to the U.S. in July.
Through the program, Flynn has had the opportunity to visit the EU Parliament in Strasbourg, France. He has also taken trips to Luxembourg and Trier, the oldest town in Germany.
“I’ve already gotten so much from this experience -- life-long friends, a stronger appreciation for language and different cultures, travel to places I never thought I could go, free education -- and in the future, I will also be getting applicable career experience,” Flynn said.
For more information about the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals Fellowship, visit: https://culturalvistas.org/programs/abroad/congress-bundestag-youth-exchange-young-professionals . The deadline to apply for the 2018-2019 program is Dec. 1.