Alumna wins prestigious fellowship in Germany

Yordanos Refu of Boise, a 2012 graduate of The College of Idaho, has been selected to participate in the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals (CBYX), a year-long, federally-funded fellowship for study and work in Germany.

Refu, who earned her bachelor’s degree in international political economy at the C of I, was selected as one of 75 participants (from more than 600 applicants) for this unique fellowship program. 

“I was drawn to the CBYX fellowship because their program was a great extension of my interests and future plans,” Refu said. “I look forward to my year in Germany as I learn about the country’s integration systems for immigrants and refugees, along with my first responsibility as a young ambassador.”

While in Germany on CBYX, Refu will attend a two-month intensive German language course, study at a German university or professional school for four months, and complete a five-month internship with a German company in her career field (immigrant integration). Participants are placed throughout Germany, and have the opportunity to learn about everyday German life from a variety of perspectives.

Refu, a refugee from Ethiopia, aims to eventually open a center “for refugees, by refugees” that will work to improve integration of refugees in host countries.

“As a refugee myself, this is a cause that is near and dear to my heart,” Refu said. “My year in Germany will help me develop a global perspective about refugee issues. I hope to utilize these lessons to strengthen and improve my idea for the center.” 

Refu said that seeing fellow C of I students, staff and faculty who were driven to succeed in their respective fields helped her win the CBYX fellowship.

“In the end, being able to identify and articulate who I am helped me stand out, and ultimately become a participant,” Refu said. “I want to say thank you to my C of I family for this.”

Conceived and supported by members of the United States Congress and the German Parliament (Bundestag), the CBYX program is financially supported by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State under the authority of the Fulbright-Hays Act, and by the Bundestag.  Participants come from nearly every career field, and from all over the United States.

Founded in 1891, The College of Idaho is the state’s oldest private liberal arts college. It has a century-old tradition of educating some of the most accomplished graduates in Idaho, including seven Rhodes Scholars, three Marshall Scholars, and another 11 Truman and Goldwater Scholars. The College is located on a beautiful campus in Caldwell, Idaho. Its distinctive PEAK curriculum challenges students to attain competencies in the four knowledge peaks of the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field, enabling them to graduate with an academic major and three minors in four years. For more information on The College of Idaho, visit