Student selected from 600 applicants nationwide to study in Germany
From Hampton, New Hampshire to Iraq, and then to the German Bundestag: One Keene State student gets a worldly experience that will last a lifetime. One can say that senior James Lavimoniere is not your typical college student.
Lavimoniere has been accepted by the Congress-Budestag Youth Exchange Program (CBXY) to live in Germany for a year. For the first two months, Lavimoniere will attend a German language school. “After the language school I will move on to study at a German university for four or five months and then intern at a German company for the remainder of that time,” Lavimoniere said. Lavimonier did not start taking an interest in German till this current academic year. “I had a couple electives open for this semester and I find foreign languages interesting so I decided to take a German class. My professor told me about this program so I said ‘I might as well apply’,” Lavimoniere stated.
According to Beth Uding, the Program Director from CBXY, Lavimoniere is one out of seventy-five students nationwide that were selected for the program this year. Over 600 students applied. “We conducted in-person interviews with 150 finalists across the country in February. Interview panels generally include representatives from the local German American community, including German professors, German Consulate officers and staff,” Uding commented. Uding cited comments from the program’s assistant director after a panel interviewed Lavimoniere. “James was thoughtful and articulate. From his experience serving in the US National Guard, he also brings a unique perspective to the diverse group of CBYX fellows.”
Along with being a college student, Lavimoniere is an Airman 1st Class in the Air National Guard. “I joined the Air National Guard the summer after I graduated high school. I’ve been involved with them throughout college. I took a year off to deploy overseas to Iraq for a couple of months. When I was interviewing for the program they were really interested in my military background,” Lavimoniere said.
According to the Armed Forces News Service, Lavimoniere earned distinction as an Honor Graduate after basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. Gary Lavimoniere, James’ father, said that it is a testament to James’ character that he sacrificed his junior year to serve in Iraq. He stated that James has been working since he was foutreen years old and describes him as being a responsible and respected man. Gary Lavimoniere added that the fellowship is an amazing opportunity to get exposure to the German culture. He stated that James is still trying to find his way and that in everything James has done, he has excelled. Lavimoniere shared his thoughts about his fellowship. “I’m really excited about going to Germany and to live in another country for a year. I’m also excited to learn to speak German as a main language rather than English. It can be difficult living away from home for an extended period of time but, you find ways to work through it,” Lavimoniere said.
Lavimoniere also commented on the importance of being ambitious. “I think its important for people to put themselves out there, apply, and go after things even if they think they’re not going to get it. I never would have thought I would get into this program and if I would have not applied on that thought, I would not be going to Germany in a couple of months,” Lavimoniere added.
Before leaving for Germany at the end of July, Lavimoniere is graduating from KSC on Saturday with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science.
Matthew Schwartz can be contacted at