AYF Alumni & Friends
Alumni association of the Academic Year in Freiburg program (formerly Junior Year in Freiburg)

Sadly, the Corona pandemic necessitated the double cancellation of the big anniversary and reunion, originally planned for July 2020. We are hoping that three’s a charm and that we can finally meet and celebrate the re-start and amazing history of the Freiburg program in July 2022.

AYF and JYF Alumni are cordially invited to join us in Freiburg for the 60+2-Year Anniversary of the program! To celebrate, the Academic Year in Freiburg and AYF Alumni & Friends e.V. are planning to host a reunion. Come celebrate a memorable series of events with us from July 7 to 10, 2022.

Beginning with a congenial welcome from the President of the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität, Freiburg, you will have the chance to re-experience the charms of Freiburg in the company of former and current students, teachers, and program leaders.

We are aiming at four to five days of events, including:

Please fill out this brief survey with your expression of interest in receiving additional information about this event as soon as possible.

If you already joined the 2020 Reunion mailing list you do not need to fill out the survey again (unless, of course, your contact information has changed in the interim). Thank you!

Dear JYF and AYF Alumni, dear Friends of the Academic Year in Freiburg,

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted the lives of just about everyone on Earth, and this global health crisis has especially shaken the stability of the AYF class of 2019-20.

Thursday two weeks ago saw one of the saddest AYF meetings ever as Program Director Ulli Struve and Academic Director Peter McIsaac briefed students to plan for their sudden departure back to the United States. The intensifying COVID-19 pandemic had made the suspension of the AYF program inevitable.

The meeting was a very different parting than anyone of us experienced as AYFers, but even with their time cut short now, the AYF class of 2019-20 will always be AYF alumni!

As program alumni, we are committed to relieving the financial burden these students are unexpectedly facing as their academic year in Freiburg abruptly comes to an end.

Are you willing to support our fellow AYFers by giving to the AYF Alumni Emergency Fund?

Then please donate to the AYF Alumni Emergency Fund.

AYF is hard at work seeking to reduce the financial fallout by working with local partners.

But virtually all AYF 2019-20 students are still facing up to five months of additional rent payments for their student housing in Freiburg, hastily arranged high-cost local transportation, expensive, last-minute flight purchases,  and quite possibly additional tuition expenses as their path to graduation has become more uncertain.

Your financial support is critical in order to relieve this unprecedented financial stress on AYF 2019-20 students caused by the suspension of the AYF program.

Please give what you can ($5, $50, $500, or $5,000) to support our fellow AYFers now.

Here is what some AYF students have to say about the financial challenges they’re unexpectedly facing:

“This has set me back a semester in school; I’m financially devastated.”

“I have already paid about $7,000 for the spring semester, which has not started in Germany.”

“I had to buy pretty expensive tickets to get home on such short notice and I’m worried about more expensive housing costs when I go home. I’ll get a job, so I know I’ll be okay, but with student debt and tuition refunds still up in the air it’s just a lot.”

We are also immensely grateful for everything the home universities are doing to mitigate the impact of this grave disruption on our fellow AYFers. But as alumni we are uniquely positioned to help quickly – while looking toward the future! Since many 2019-20 AYF students have indicated a desire to return to Freiburg to complete the experience, any excess funds not needed for immediate emergency assistance will be slated for future distribution as travel grants and scholarships.

As an international community of AYF alumni, our strength is each other during good times and bad.

Thank you so very much for your generosity during this financial crisis.

From all of us at AYFAA and AYF Alumni & Friends, the US and German Chapters of the AYF Alumni Club, we are wishing you and your loved ones much health and safety as we all navigate these uncharted waters together.

For the combined Alumni Club Boards,

Kimberly Mueller
President, AYF Alumni & Friends (AAAF)

Elizabeth Kunze
Membership Committee Chair
Academic Year Freiburg Alumni Association (AYFAA)

Alumni in Germany, please go to https://www.ayf-alumni.de/support-us/ to make your contributions tax deductible in Germany.

Alumni wishing to support the Club’s Fundraising Initiative in the United States will find details on https://ayf-alumni.com/donate/

AYF and JYF Alumni are cordially invited to join us in Freiburg for the 60-Year Anniversary of the program! To celebrate, the Academic Year in Freiburg and AYF Alumni & Friends e.V. are hosting a reunion concurrently with the 900-Year Anniversary of the City of Freiburg. Come celebrate a memorable series of events with us from July 9 to 13, 2020.

Beginning with a congenial welcome from the President of the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität, Freiburg, you will have the chance to re-experience the charms of Freiburg in the company of former and current students, teachers, and program leaders.

We are organizing five days of events, including:

Please fill out this brief survey with your expression of interest in receiving additional information about this event as soon as possible.

Accommodations and Public Transportation: For anyone considering joining us in Freiburg, we strongly encourage you to begin looking for accommodations as soon as possible as space will begin filling quickly. 

Information on Accommodations and Public Transportation Options is available here.

If you have already registered for the 2020 Reunion and are looking for payment information, please go here!

Hello, my name is Kimberly Mueller. I am the chair of the AYF Alumni-Club in Freiburg. We are the European Chapter of YOUR Alumni-Club, and we are very excited about our hopefully many future members and supporters. We are also very excited that 16 of you have joined our American Club Chapter. I would like to offer a very warm welcome in particular to the six new members of our Freiburg Club Chapter „AYF Alumni & Friends“:  Eva, Tim, Maggie, Zoe, Laura, and Courtney. Welcome friends!

The purpose of this post, however, is to discuss the „AYF Alumni & Friends Achievement Award 2019“.

This is the fourth time that we are giving this annual award. For the selection process, we have relied on the trusted advice and nominations given by Ulli and Kerstin, who have both accompanied all of you throughout the entire year and witnessed your incredible progress. I must say that it was extremely difficult to decide on a single recipient for this award. You all learned and progressed in so many different ways that you all should be very proud of yourself.

This year we received the following written nomination from Kerstin and Ulli:

„Last September, when Maggie Fischer arrived in Freiburg, she described her German skills as very weak and insufficient for the year ahead of her. Instead of accepting defeat in the face of the difficulties before her, Maggie took on the challenges of learning the language, adjusting to Freiburg student life, and engaging in intercultural exchange wholeheartedly. In the AYF office, Maggie always spoke to us in German, even when she found it difficult to do so. She tirelessly pursued contact with native speakers, and even dared to take PH and Uni-courses in German. On top of all of this, she not only managed to pass her seminars, but did so with flying colors. Her dedication to learning German along with her drive to create connections between American and German Culture impressed us greatly. She has made enormous progress linguistically and academically and has improved the year for all of us with her passion and determination.”

The teaching staff, too, had many positive things to say about Maggie and her achievements. Professor Raith said: „Magie along with her classmates gave a superb presentation about the English-speaking world, which made us consider the differences in the ability to express emotions in English and German.

In her Hausarbeit, she laid out an impressive analysis of a certain topic, beloved by students and language teachers alike: Rap and Hip Hop. She examined the titles used to describe women in rap and the connotations associated with these terms.“

Yet another teacher, Frau Nasarek, corroborated Maggie’s outstanding achievements: „I’m very glad that Maggie was nominated for this award! She impressed me greatly. Maggie always brought fresh and gripping perspectives to class. She clearly had a knack for all things art and was a self-described theater lover. Her ability to communicate and express herself creatively was especially evident whenever she worked in groups, where she always was a catalyst for deep conversation.

You definitely have a very unique individual here, who not only understands how to work academically, but who is always excited to work creatively with other people. Only someone with an extremely positive charisma is capable of this.“

Whenever and whoever we asked about Maggie, we received wonderful comments and stories.

It is truly my honor to award Maggie Fischer the „ 2019 AYF Alumni & Friends Achievement Award“ on behalf of the club.

Herzlichen Glückwunsch, Maggie!

The U.S. and German chapters of the AYF Alumni Club have launched a joint membership drive.  Read more about the Matching Fund offered by alumn Erik Kirschbaum and a student’s testimonial on help received from the Alumni Club.


Announcement from the US and German chapters of the AYF Alumni Club

Dear JYFers, dear AYFers! Dear All!

To those of you who already are members of the AYF Alumni Club, a heartfelt “Thank you!”  You are an important partner, and your generosity means so much for the future of this program.

The Alumni Club is devoted to celebrating and supporting the year in Freiburg.  (A note to JY participants: It’s “AY” instead of “JY” because the program broadened the name to “Academic Year in Freiburg.”)

For a while now, we have been thinking about a coordinated Membership Drive to generate more paying members for the US and German Chapters of the AYF Alumni Club. Both chapters currently have about 20 paying members each. That is a great start but not (yet!) the broad membership base we need to begin offering travel grants and scholarships, which is one of the goals both chapters of the Alumni Club have embraced wholeheartedly.

How you can help … 

Join the Alumni Club!

Both Alumni Club Chapters are recognized non-profit organizations. The AYF Alumni Association, Inc. is incorporated in the U.S. and recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization in Wisconsin. The AYF Alumni & Friends e.V. has been recognized as a German non-profit civic organization. Membership contributions and donations are therefore tax deductable in the respective countries.  Please consider a place for the AYF Alumni Club on your annual list of worthy causes: your cumulative giving will add up!

Both club chapters cooperate closely on how best to support alumni networking, current and future students, and the Academic Year in Freiburg program.  Membership information is available online at:  https://www.ayf-alumni.org/

 Talk to your JYF and AYF peers!

Once you have decided to join and support the AYF Alumni Club, it would be wonderful if you could be multipliers among your JYF and AYF peers.  Talk to your friends and parents, share the campaign on Facebook or any other social media channels you use, and encourage others to join the AYF Alumni Club.  All supporters of study abroad are welcome!  Clearly, there is strength in numbers.  Just imagine what we can achieve to support future program students if we band together!

Thank you for your support of our club activities and plans.  Your time, commitment, and financial support are very much appreciated!

Alison Mahlau & Joel Stark, Co-Presidents (AYFAA, US Chapter)

Joey Marshment-Howell & Kim Mueller, President & Vice President (AAAF, German Chapter)


What are we hoping to do in the short term? 

We are hoping to raise membership to generate regular income.

·         Funding for one 500 $/€ travel grant requires only 12.5 regular members.


What are we hoping to do in the intermediate term?

Other funding categories to keep in mind as we look toward the future:

·         1,500 would fund a plane ticket (often the key additional expense for a student in comparison to home university costs)

·         3,000 would fund a student’s housing costs in Freiburg

·         6,000 would largely fund housing and living expenses


What are we hoping to do in the long term? 

We would like to encourage alumni to consider funding endowments or segregated funds to enable the club to support the program and/or individual students in perpetuity.  (Look forward to great news in this category from the class of 1984-85 in the near future!) Named opportunities are available.


Membership Drive Matching Fund

Dear fellow Alumni and Friends of AYF,

The Freiburg program has truly been a life-changing experience for me — and probably many of you as well.

Studying abroad expanded my horizons in countless ways that I still cherish and relish to this day. I was challenged and delighted by classes in German and extra-curricular experiences like a week behind the Iron Curtain in Communist East Germany. Being out of my comfort zone opened new ways of thinking and made me want to work abroad as a foreign correspondent.

Financially it was a real challenge for me as well and, running out of money, I ended up losing 25 pounds in the final semester while getting by with just one lunch meal a day for 1 Mark.  In light of today’s global challenges, I can’t think of anything better than to help young people experience the power of going abroad, of being exposed to another culture in the city we have come to love: Freiburg!

The AYF program does an amazing job supporting students on their path of discovery and I want future students to have this opportunity as well — especially those who might not have a lot of resources. As a program alumnus I am proud to be actively involved in the AYF Alumni Club’s mission of supporting students and strengthening the program.

So that’s why I am offering a Matching Fund of up to 1,000 Euros for the AYF Alumni Club Membership Drive. I would like to double the first year contributions for all new dues-paying members who join the US or German Chapter of the AYF Alumni Club by February 2018 up to the first 1,000 Euros.  So please help the Alumni Club reach the target of 2,000 Euros to help young students have the same great opportunities to take a deep dive into Germany and the German language.

Please join me in supporting program students in Freiburg by becoming a member of the AYF Alumni Club!”

Erik Kirschbaum, JYF 1982-83


“Without the support of the AYF Alumni Club I couldn’t have gone on the Berlin field trip. Now I want to pay it forward by aiding other program students. Please join me in supporting future students by also becoming a member of the AYF Alumni Club!”

 Nathan Berger, 2016-17

We are very happy to announce the first winner of the AYF Alumni & Friends Achievement Award – Brooke Rupprecht! The award was presented at the Farewell BBQ on July 16th, where we bid farewell to the AYF group of 2015/16.

2016 AYF Alumni & Friends Achievement Award

Brooke Rupprecht, winner of the 2016 AYF Alumni & Friends Achievement Award

AYF Class of 2015/2016

The 2015/16 AYF group along with a few alumni!