Fox Chapel Area senior sets sights on Germany
With five years studying German under his belt, Fox Chapel Area senior Aaron Bliss is ready to say “guten tag” to a new life in Europe's most populated region.
“I was just so excited to hear the news,” Bliss said. “I was at a track meet when my dad got the call and it blew me away.”
Bliss, 17, earned the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange Scholarship through which he will spend his senior year with a German family and attend a college prep high school.
“Aaron is a tremendous young man and I know he is going to represent his school and his country very well,” said German teacher Drew Richards.
Bliss is one of 250 students from across the country chosen for the award.
“I took German 5 in school last year which is the highest level you can go,” Bliss said. “I wondered what I was going to do with these abilities. I thought someday I'd like to go to Germany, and then I thought, why not now?”
Founded in 1983, the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange Scholarship was created to strengthen ties between Germany and the United States through citizen diplomacy.
Its inception coincided with the 300th anniversary of the first German immigration to the United States.
The program is funded by the U.S. Congress and the German Bundestag. Here, it is overseen by the federal Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
Bliss sees his year abroad as a foundation for success in an increasingly global world.
He was drawn to the German language after a mandatory foreign language class in middle school.
“I didn't really like that we had to take a language class but I thought of Germany as a business-y kind of place and thought knowing the language could be useful,” he said. “I didn't expect to start enjoying it, but I did.”
Now, the Indiana Township teen listens to German music in his spare time among other pastimes that include cross country, biking and playing Frisbee.
He's preparing to leave in early September for a program introduction in Washington, D.C., and then it's on to Germany for 11 months.
Part of the academic exchange requires Bill to travel to Berlin to address the German House of Parliament.
He hasn't spoken yet with his host family. In fact, Bliss isn't even sure which city or state he'll be living in.
It's part of the adventure, he said.
“It's going to be a big change,” he said. “I won't be with my family and friends but I'll make new ones. I really have no hesitations.”
The only downside, Bliss said, is that he'll miss graduation with his Fox Chapel Area classmates.
“The German school year is longer, so I'll be home a short bit after my American friends are out of school,” he said. “It's a sad thing but the rewards and opportunities far outweigh it.”
Bliss plans to study biology in college.
Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-782-2121, ext. 2 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- O’Hara’s Camp Guyasuta summer camps open to more than just scouts this summer
- Lawrenceville Family Health Center getting upgrade
- Educating is a passion, job, lifestyle for O’Hara woman
- New ministry could call Blawnox home
- Foxwall makes pitch to remain Blawnox emergency responder
- Proposal calls for improvements to baseball field at O’Hara’s Meadow Park
- Event aims to raise awareness about poverty in Lower Valley