Julianna L. Roche, a Wildwood Catholic High School Class of 2018 graduate from Cape May Court House has been selected for the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange scholarship, which funds an academic year of high school study and cultural immersion in Germany for a select group of American students.

The program is funded jointly by the U.S. Congress and the German Bundestag as a symbol of the special economic and political relationship between America and Germany.

Roche is one of only 250 students nationwide to receive the scholarship. She will spend the 2018-19 academic year living with a German host family and attending a local high school in Germany.

Roche was selected for the program for having demonstrated academic qualifications, cultural open-mindedness, and outstanding motivation. Roche will serve as a youth ambassador, representing the United States, while participating in educational, cultural and civic events while overseas. Past participants have had opportunities to meet with the president of the German Bundestag, as well as leaders of the Bundestag and members of the U.S. Congress.

Created in 1983 during the Reagan Administration, the program strengthens U.S.-German relations by forging lasting ties of deeper understanding. Over the past 33 years, the program has reinforced ties between Americans and Germans who engage in the program both as participants and hosts. U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., says exchanges such as the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange “are of particular importance in today’s global economy.

"These programs provide an unequaled understanding of world cultures — one that can translate into the success of American businesses, growth of the U.S. economy, and increased global and national security.”

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs administers the U.S. program through several implementing partners. In the Northeast, the program is implemented by AFS-USA, an international nonprofit student exchange organization.

To learn more about the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange, including information about eligibility and how to apply for the 2019-2020 academic year, see www.usagermanyscholarship.org.

Prospective host families and schools can learn more about hosting an exchange student or bringing intercultural learning into their classroom with AFS-USA at afsusa.org.