Beyond Washington Understanding the U.S. Heartland

Beyond Washington

Understanding the U.S. Heartland

A Program to the United States for Staffers of German Bundestag Representatives

Cultural Vistas invites staffers of German Bundestag Members (MdBs) to apply to the Beyond Washington program, an eight-day professional exchange that provides participants with a deeper understanding of the U.S. heartland.

The transatlantic relationship is undergoing profound changes. Decades-old norms in foreign policy are being replaced by new approaches to international affairs by both the United States and Germany. In the U.S., these changes in foreign policy positions are rooted in domestic policies and issues that are not always apparent to foreign observers or experts, but that have been shaping the development of U.S. local and national politics for decades. The influence of China on the world political order, Russia’s destabilization of European security, and the upcoming presidential elections in the U.S in November 2024, are all pressing issues in U.S.-German relations that are reforming the nature of the transatlantic alliance.

To provide context and a deeper understanding of the political changes taking place in the U.S., Cultural Vistas offers the Beyond Washington: Understanding the U.S. Heartland program. The program invites staffers who work for MdBs to apply for an eight-day visitor program to the United States. The 2024 program will take place in Madison, Wisconsin and the surrounding area.

The primary goal of the program is to promote a deeper understanding among MdB staffers of U.S. domestic and resultant foreign policies. The program aims to strengthen transatlantic relations by allowing this group of MdB staffers to connect with Americans beyond the political hubs and the capital. Beyond Washington focuses on the following themes:

  • Local and State policy and budget priorities
  • Economic and social driving forces
  • Climate action and social justice 
  • The importance of public diplomacy and means to foster multi-lateral relations

Cultural Vistas arranges high-level meetings with leaders from government, business, civil society, and other relevant contacts that bring into focus a set of regional challenges that are echoed in other areas of the country.

The Beyond Washington program 2024 in generously financed by the U.S. Embassy in Berlin.


Up to 18 staffers who work in the offices of Members of the German Bundestag (MdBs) will be accepted to participate in the program each year. Staffers for MdBs from all political parties and Fraktionen (as well as unaffiliated MdBs) are eligible to apply.

Applicants must be primarily employed in the office of a German MdB, have an interest in U.S. affairs, and speak English proficiently, so that they can engage in meaningful conversations while in the United States.

Special consideration will be given to staffers whose MdBs represent districts that have shared challenges with the area to be visited in the U.S.  Staffers employed directly by their MdBs in Berlin as well as staffers working in district offices are all encouraged to apply. Applicants who have not previously spent a significant amount of time in the United States will also be given special consideration in the application process.

Participants in the Beyond Washington program will share the lessons learned during the program with a wider audience via a post-program report and an event in the district of their MdB, acting as multipliers and spreading an understanding of the primary issues impacting the United States’ heartland.

Application Directions

Please note that once started, the application is only saved upon full submission. Should you wish to print a copy of your application, please do so prior to submitting. It is recommended that applicants have all required documents (resumes, written materials, etc.) ready and in Word Document or PDF formats prior to begining the application. No other format types are supported and any materials submitted in other formats will not be accepted, deeming the application incomplete. Incomplete applications will not be processed.

1. Prepare electronic versions of the following items; you will upload them at the end of this application:

Current C.V. or Resume (Limit 2 pages, Word Document or PDF format)

- Scan of Biographical page of Passport or other government issued I.D.

- Recommendation letter by the MdB you are currently working for

2. Review the essay questions and prepare your answers.

3. Complete this form in entirely including the essay questions.

4. Upload the required documents

5. Review and agree to program terms and conditions

6. Submit 

Personal Information

Provide your full name AS It APPEARS IN YOUR PASSPORT (*Information below must match your passport or other government-issued ID*)

Biographical Information

Gender *
Please list your Country of Residency

Current Contact Address

Home Address (if different from current address)

Emergency Contact Information

Please give the name and contact information of a spouse, relative and/or close friend which Cultural Vistas can contact in case of an emergency in which we cannot reach you.

Professional Experience

Please rate your English proficiency *
Do you have any previous experience working in another country (besides your home country)? *

Program Information

Essay Questions

0/300 words
0/200 words
0/200 words
0/200 words
0/200 words

Supporting Documents

Please upload the following documents:

Program Terms and Conditions

Read and check each statement below to indicate agreement:

I hereby agree to the following terms and conditions:
If you have any questions about these program conditions, program details, or need assistance submitting an application, please contact Cultural Vistas at   

Application Deadline: Sunday, April 7 2024
If you encounter any problems or have any questions, please e-mail Cultural Vistas at

Cultural Vistas - Washington, D.C. Office
1250 H Street, NW, Suite 300
Washington, D.C. 20005