Tübingen, a traditional university city in central Baden-Württemberg, Germany on the banks of the Neckar River. Home of one of the oldest universities in Europe. Photo by Francesca Di Valerio on Unsplash.
What is German?
German Studies aims to teach students in depth about the cultures of the German-speaking world. Germany is the United States’ biggest European trading partner, and the German language is the second most commonly used business language in the world. Students who become proficient in German can communicate with about 100 million people living in a number of countries in the heart of Europe. The German program integrates instruction in language studies with studies in cultural and literary history, enabling students to gain access to the intellectual life of the German-speaking countries.
German at Western
Western’s German program is one of only two public undergraduate programs nationwide to be recognized as a “National Center of Excellence” by the American Association of Teachers of German (AATG), the governing body for German instructors at all levels. In their award letter, the AATG applauded the German program for setting up its students for success in their future professional lives through a well-balanced, stimulating and intellectually rigorous approach.
The Bachelor of Arts in German leads to a BA degree without teacher certification. In order to receive a recommendation for state of Washington certification, students must complete the teacher certification program. Please see the Department of Secondary Education for program admission, completion, and teacher certification requirements.
German studies aims to learn about a culture in depth through both language structure and literary analysis. The department provides instruction in history, culture, and literary theory to impart skills to future foreign language teachers so that they may similarly enable elementary school students to begin the acquisition of foreign languages. The German—Elementary major satisfies the academic major requirement for teacher certification with an endorsement in elementary education and must be accompanied by the professional preparation program in Elementary Education. See Elementary Education for program admission, completion, and teacher certification requirements.
Studying both Spanish and German provides students not only with the skills required to speak the languages, but also the opportunity to learn about and appreciate Hispanic and Germanic societies, cultures, and artistic expressions. The guiding principle of the curriculum is that one of the best ways to understand a culture is directly through its language. The study of both Spanish and German becomes a meeting place for true diversity.
GERM 340 – Introduction to German Literature
GERM 407 – German, Austrian, and Swiss Cinema
GERM 425 – Teaching-Learning Process in Elementary German
GERM 432 – Contemporary German Culture
Hands-on-Experience and Internships
Gain a global perspective through study abroad programs to numerous Austrian, German, and Swiss universities as well as direct exchanges with the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen, Universität Duisburg-Essen, and Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz. Students may enroll at the host university for a semester or whole academic year and will receive credit toward the German major or minor.
Organizations and Clubs
Students have the opportunity to participate in a variety of extracurricular activities, such as the German Table (Stammtisch) at Rudy’s Pizzeria in downtown Bellingham, the intramural German soccer team, and the German Club. Faculty and students also regularly organize special events. Recent highlights include outings to the Frye Art Museum in Seattle and a Rammstein concert in Tacoma, Western’s version of German Day “German Rocks” with an evening dance party, and presentations by Microsoft on the advantages of having a foreign language degree in the business world.
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With both resources and events from both the Spanish and German programs, German/Spanish students have the opportunity to participate in a variety of extracurricular activities:
- German Table (Stammtisch), or Spanish Table at Rudy’s Pizzeria in downtown Bellingham
- Intramural German soccer team
- German Club
- Sigma Delta Pi, The National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society
- WELP (Western Employee Language Program)
- Spanish Program Volunteer Opportunities
- Cultural Ambassadors Program in Spain: North American Language and Cultural Assistants in Spain
Whether raising money and walking together for Relay4Life, teaching underprivileged youths German at “Compass2Campus” events, weekly Stammtisch dinners, creating a soccer team, attending a Rammstein concert, theater-nights, or even dancing together at the “German Rocks!” event through Radio Goethe, one thing is certain: our department never has a dull moment.
What can you do with German?
Knowledge of the German language and its culture opens up doors for students to apply for competitive grants for research and study in Germany, such as those from the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (German Academic Exchange Service). Since 2009, our German students have won 21 nationally and internationally competitive scholarships for studying, teaching, and working in German-speaking countries, including the following:
- Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals (CBYX)
- Fulbright English Teaching Assistantships
- German Academic Exchange Service Graduate Scholarships
- German Academic Exchange Service RISE (Research Internship in Science and Engineering)
- German Academic Exchange Service University Summer Grant
- German Academic Exchange Service Bundestag Internship
Students who study German learn important communicative and problem-solving skills while improving their chances on the job market. Western’s Alumni use their German majors and minors to obtain attractive positions in a wide variety of fields or in graduate school both nationally and internationally:
- Trilingual Claims Investigator, Amazon, WA
- German Classifications Expert, Instant Video department, Amazon, WA
- Account Development Manager at Limelight Networks, Seattle, WA
- Senior Analyst, Business Operations at T-Mobile, Seattle, WA
- Senior Project Manager, German Language Services, Seattle, WA
- Global Project Manager for PTI Global, Portland, OR
- Teaching Assistant at the German American School in Portland
- Washington State German Teacher
- Forestry and Tourism
- Travel and Tourism
- Graduate studies in various fields (e.g. biology, computational engineering, Germanic literature and language, international studies, vehicle design)
Students in the Spanish/German program graduate with career and continued education plans from locally to all over the world.
- Foreign Correspondent
- Foreign Service Officer
- FBI Agent
- Foreign Diplomat
- Travel Writer
- All careers involving communication
- Elementary Teacher
The student centered support of the German faculty at Western does not end in the classroom! The professors support and advise students on opportunities to study abroad, scholarships, and work opportunities.