Webster University senior political science major Jenna Hopkins will be spending next year as a part of an exclusive scholarship group.
Hopkins is one of 75 students in the U.S. to receive the scholarship to study in Germany and take part in an internship for the 2015-2016 year.
The scholarship is through the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange Program (CBYX). The year-long program consists of a two-month language study, four months at a German university improving upon language skills and a five-month internship for a German company.
The scholarship itself covers all airfare, all six months of language study, housing in the pre-internship phase, health insurance, program-related travel and a monthly stipend to cover basic living costs.
The application process
Hopkins was made aware of the CBYX program by her former employer Brendan Wehye and Webster German Professor Paula Hanssen.
Hopkins said both were supportive of her applying, and they knew it was something that she would like to do.
Hanssen said it was Hopkins’ mindset that fit best.
“I think she is very open to new things,” Hanssen said. “She is open to new ideas and new cultures. And even though Germany is a western culture like ours… there are some other big differences, and she is pretty open to that.”
Hopkins is also one of three students under Hanssen to have won the award.
No language barrier
Hopkins is no stranger to the German language. She took four years of German in high school, along with four semesters here at Webster University and in Vienna, where she studied abroad.
“I want to be able to take away a better understanding of the language and a better appreciation for different cultures,” Hopkins said.
Hopkins’ desire to learn about other countries’ cultures has taken her all over the world. Along with Vienna, she has travelled to southern France and participated in a backpacking trip through Ireland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. She has also traveled to Turkey and Israel for a spring break trip.
Leaving her mother
Despite Hopkins’ excitement after receiving the CBYX award, her family knew she would be leaving for a year.
Hopkins remembers the phone call she made to her mother after hearing the good news.
“I was so excited that I got an email back. I, of course, was just talking to her really fast and really happy, and her response back to me was so monotone. It was just like, ‘Oh, congratulations Jenna. That’s great,’” Hopkins said.
“I was like, mom, you just killed all of my excitement,” Hopkins said jokingly.
But because of her previous travels, Hopkins knows it will be hard.
Her mother, Bev Hopkins, remembers the phone call a little differently.
“I was like, ‘Ah, yeah, that’s so exciting!’ And then the tears came. I told her that they were tears of happiness and joy. I know how much it meant to her to have this,” Bev Hopkins said.