Cal State Long Beach (CSULB) senior Justin Schafer has been awarded the prestigious International Parliamentary Scholarship (IPS), which includes serving a 15-week internship with a member of the German Bundestag or German National Parliament.
Offered in 25 countries, the IPS program is aimed at highly qualified young people interested in politics who wish to play a role in shaping the democratic future of their countries. Those selected for the program must have a university degree, citizenship from a participating country and be younger than 30 years.
Schafer, who graduated from CSULB in December with a bachelor’s degree in international studies (and minors in German, geography, political science and Russian), will leave for his five-month IPS experience in March.
“Just the thought of working in their parliament with so many other young people from around the world is an exciting prospect. It all still seems a little surreal,” said Schafer, who expects to join 120 other scholars from Eastern and Southern Europe, France, Israel and the United States.
The German Bundestag offers program participants the opportunity to get to know the German parliamentary system and political decision-making processes as well as the chance to gain practical experience through parliamentary work.
As an International Parliamentary Scholar, Schafer will receive 450 euros a month, free accommodations, health and accident insurance and a travel reimbursement. Combined with a supplementary academic program organized by three participating Berlin universities, the program engages students with a wide variety of tasks carried out in a parliament member’s office such as drafting speeches or doing preparatory work for plenary sittings.
If he seems confident about serving in the German parliament, one reason may be that he has similar professional experience already. Schafer served as a congressional intern in the summer of 2009 when he joined the district office of 2nd District Congressman Wally Herger in Schafer’s hometown of Redding. He came to CSULB as a President’s Scholar after graduating as a valedictorian at West Valley High School in Cottonwood, Calif. in 2006.