First Views

So, like many of you, I have never actually been to Germany. The only images that I have of where I'm going to stay I've gotten in emails or through Google Images. So I thought I'd share a few images with you of some of the places I'll be next year. The first is a view of the private school where the three-week orientation at the beginning will be held. Note the castle in the bottom right and the rolling vineyards.

The next picture is a park in my new town, Rheda-Wiedenbrück. The park is called Flora Westfalica. The picture more or less speaks for itself.


So, this is my general area for next year. I'm bringing my camera over, so hopefully I will be able to update with pictures often.



Welcome to my blog! Here I will document some of my experiences during my year in Germany. If you're confused as to what this is all about, head on over to the FAQ.

The idea of this blog is not only to keep people updated on me while I'm out of the country for a year, but also to tell everyone what it's like over there. Hopefully some of these posts will make you laugh, but I hope some of them will make you think, too.

So, I'm starting to prepare for my trip, working out issues like money, internet, phone, etc. I've emailed back and forth with my host family and they seem very nice. I've got a brother, Fabian, who is my age and goes to the same school that I will.

I'll keep you guys updated on how the preparations for Germany go. Until next time!

***Feel free to comment on anything, email me about anything at kevinpuj at gmail dot com, no matter how well I know you or how long it's been since we last talked. I am happy to discuss my experiences but even happier to catch up with anyone.***


I'm Kevin, an 18 year-old from Fairfax County, Virginia. I went to Thomas Jefferson HSST in Alexandria, and I will be going to UVA after my exchange year.

I'm spending a year in Germany.

Rheda-Wiedenbrück. It's in the state of Nordrhein-Westfalen in the Western part of Germany.

Starting July 19th, 2007. I'll be back sometime in July of 2008.

To learn the German language and culture, to challenge myself, and to have a good time.

I'm doing this exchange through the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange Program (Official Site, Wiki) I encourage all of you to check out this program either for during high school or the year after high school. Otherwise, you can check out the Young Professionals Program on that same page, which is for anyone between the ages of 18 and 24.

What are you doing for college?
University of Virginia Class of 2012.

I'm going to try to get into the McIntire School of Commerce. I'd like to major in some sort of business (probably finance or management) and German.

Is your college ok with this year off?
Yes! Many colleges love when their students take years off. In fact, a Yale rep said "We wish we could require it of all of our students."

What are you going to be doing while you're there?
I'll be starting with a 3 week language/culture course at a rented out boarding school in the Hansenberg Castle in Hesse, Germany. Since I already know a pretty good amount of German, I'll probably be taking more advanced language stuff.

After that, I will move in with my host family in Rheda-Wiedenbrück. I'll stay with them while I'm attending the Janusz-Korczak-Gesamtschule. At home, in all of my classes, and when I'm hanging out with friends, everything will be in German.

Once I'm done with the school year in Germany, I have basically a travel voucher to catch a plane back to the US, so I can travel around Europe for several weeks before returning.