The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

Willkommen to Colgate’s German Department

Willkommen to Colgate’s German Department
Audrey Regan

The Department of German at Colgate University fosters a great community for students to be able to grow as people while learning. The department is able to accomplish this through an impressive study abroad program, small classes and dedicated professors.

Charlotte Lawson, a senior and German major, spoke about how special the German Department is.

“The classes are most often small and intimate, which allows for really great conversations, more opportunities to ask questions and even helps give students an extra push to put in the work and carry their weight for class discussions,” Lawson said. “I believe that the German Department is a wonderful representation of the kind of education Colgate stands for and advertises.”

Many students participate in the Freiburg Study Group in Freiburg, Germany, where they have the chance to enrich their understanding of the German language and culture. Students who study abroad in Freiburg take two classes through Colgate and two through the University of Freiburg. The classes are entirely in German, which encourages students to increase their fluency and confidence in the language. Matthew Miller, associate professor of German and chair of the German Department, spoke about how the abroad program complements the department.

“The most important part [of the abroad program] is that students gain world experience outside their home country and language,” Miller said. “They have access to a richness of culture in Germany and the rest of Europe.”

Even for students who don’t study abroad, majoring in German opens many doors to new opportunities. The German language is hugely important in science, economics and other disciplines. This allows German students to gain further insight into these subjects and provides them the opportunity to perhaps one day get a job abroad.

“The world of academic work opens up with German. When you learn a new language you add opportunities,” Miller said.

Recent graduate Fallyn Kirlin, who majored in German, has already reaped the benefits of these opportunities. She is working in a biomedical research lab at the Yale School of Medicine while she decides if she wants to go to medical school or get a Ph.D.

“The first two words I learned in German were in my organic chemistry class,” Kirlin said. Now, she is on her way to potentially combine the two disciplines in her career. “With a PhD, there would be a lot of flexibility to potentially go work in Germany, which would be really cool. I’m reading a book in German in my spare time to help maintain the language — it’s something I want to keep.”

German at Colgate goes beyond the classroom, as many students choose to join the German Club, a place where they can learn and enjoy the culture and language. Lawson, who is an officer for the club, spoke about how meaningful the club can be for both German and non-German students.

“We host events at a minimum of once monthly,” Lawson explained. “This year we plan to have game nights with German games and German music playing in the background, go on a hike, have a mug painting night where we will eat homemade German pretzels and have a cooking night where we will make savory and sweet ‘Flammkuchen’ [a German dish similar to Pizza].

This special sense of community resonates throughout the German Department. Whether it be through class, study abroad programs or clubs, there is something for everyone.

“I truly think you will get something valuable from taking a course or getting involved in the German Department or club. If anything, you can at least learn how to say a favorite word of yours in German,” Lawson said.

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