Imagine traveling halfway across the world to study hospitality management in the entertainment capital of the world. This is Sarah Jung’s reality.
An international student from Munich, Jung is attending the UNLV's William F. Harrah College of Hospitality through the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX) program. The program gives young people 18 to 24 years old the opportunity to be fully immersed in another language and culture by spending two semesters abroad.
Though CBYX students like Jung get to choose the country in which they want to study and work, the program is in charge of placement within that country. Jung never thought she would be placed in Las Vegas; but for her, being here is like a dream come true.
“It’s been amazing for me,” says Jung, whose passion happens to be the hospitality industry. “I get a totally different view of The Strip.”
Jung says she had always wanted to spend a year abroad, and after a friend recommended the program to her, she decided to apply. Her acceptance marks the first time in more than a decade that UNLV has hosted a student through CBYX.
Students enrolled in CBYX split their time between classes and work experience related to their field of interest. Jung is a part-time student, taking two courses while working part time at Caesars Entertainment as a special event coordinator (she also works with exhibition services).
“This is a great program for students who want to learn, gain work experience, and get paid,” Jung says. “You get to work in the field that you’re studying in a completely new environment.”
The hotel casino setting is a big change for Jung. As an event management student back in Germany, she worked at the Trade Fair Center in Munich and was also involved in coordinating trade show visits for politicians.
Jung’s experience at the Hospitality College has allowed her to both expand her knowledge about the inner workings of the hospitality industry and discover professional opportunities within the field.
“Every time you have class, you learn about 10 new jobs you didn’t know about before,” Jung says.
The native of Germany also has made it a point to get involved on campus, stating it’s “really easy to make friends and meet other international students here.” Jung’s favorite campus event so far has been Premier UNLV, which she attended with her host siblings who are UNLV students, as well.
During her time in the U.S., Jung has been living with an American host family, who both happen to work at UNLV. In her first month, the family took her on a road trip to the Grand Canyon, which Jung admitted was “one of the best things she's ever seen.” Living with her host and having authentic “American” experiences, such as celebrating Thanksgiving, has also been a highlight for the exchange student.
Besides work and study, the CBYX program requires community involvement — a component Jung also has thoroughly embraced. In addition to her host family’s church, she has become very involved with the local organization Goodie Two Shoes, helping more than 500 students from low-income schools receive brand new shoes.
“My favorite part is everything,” Jung says of her experience in Las Vegas.
Additionally, Jung received a congressional internship that allowed her to spend six weeks in Washington, D.C., working in the office of U.S. representative Juan Vargas. She then returned to UNLV for the spring semester.
The CBYX program is transferable both ways. Financial support for American students studying in Germany is fully provided, and there is no German language requirement.
UNLV students interested in studying in Germany should reach out to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org for information including application deadlines, scholarship information, and more. Anyone interested in becoming a host family should also reach out.