Studying abroad is a prospect many college students are intrigued by. As many students who call any of GHC’s campuses home prepare to fulfill that dream later in the academic year, one GHC student is getting her first taste of life in the USA.
Germany’s Lena Walter-Helk is a 19-year-old participant in the CBYX program, a joint venture of the U.S. and German governments meant to provide young adults with the opportunity to experience life abroad.
CBYX, short for Congress Bundestag Youth Exchange, requires those selected to take college courses for six months before spending another six months in the work force.
“I haven’t heard from them,” Walter-Helk said about the jobs for which she has applied. Her ideal job would be “an office job, or front desk in a hotel.”
Walter-Helk is enjoying classes at GHC, particularly history. “It’s interesting to see where it all came from,” says the Schweinfurt, Germany, native. She is excited about local history and a planned trip to the Chickamauga Battlefield.
Having a longtime fascination with American culture through movies and television, Walter-Helk said, “I haven’t experienced culture shock.” She added that she loves American candy, saying, “I want to try all the candy, I love candy.”
She couldn’t wait to experience well-known American chain restaurants. “One of the first things I wanted to do was go to Panera Bread,” she said.
A singer in worship bands, both in Rome and her hometown in Germany, Walter-Helk looks forward to her first holiday season in the United States.
She particularly looks forward to Halloween because of her love of “pumpkin everything,” as well as the excitement of getting to dress in costume for the very first time. Her ideal costume? “Disney Princess. I love Disney,” she said.
When it comes to traveling, Walter-Helk said, “I want to encourage everyone to travel. This country has so many faces, life isn’t about material things. It’s about memories.”