Islander awarded prestigious exchange scholarship

Isabella Blankenship, a high school student from Vashon, is headed to Germany.

Isabella Blankenship, a high school student from Vashon, is one of 250 American high school students from across the United States to be awarded the prestigious Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX) scholarship for the 2022-2023 academic year.

Blankenship is also one of the youngest students in the program — she just finished ninth grade at Vashon High School and will be traveling to live in Germany from August 2022 to June 2023.

CBYX is a bi-lateral exchange program, founded in 1983 and co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and the German Bundestag, which is Germany’s national parliament. CBYX students are youth ambassadors of the United States, sharing their life and culture with their German hosts and building a greater understanding of the United States and its diversity.

For Blankenship, the program is a chance to further hone her German language skills — she began studying the language when she was eight years old, she said.

“I’m very excited to be able to use my German skills with native German speakers and improve my vocabulary,” Blankenship said. “One of the reasons I decided to do CBYX instead of another study abroad program was because I want to be able to really get to know the community.”

She is also eager to experience what life is like for German youth.

“Learning about how Germany teaches and empowers its younger generation sparks a lot of curiosity for me,” she said.

In Germany, Blankenship will live with a host family and attend a German high school. During the program, she and other students will also have the opportunity to meet with both U.S. Congressional Representatives and German Bundestag members.

And as Blankenship leaves for Germany this summer, there will also be a group of German CBYX scholarship students arriving to live with American host families while attending high school in the USA.

Students and families interested in receiving more information about hosting an exchange student from Germany should call 800-333-3802 or visit