The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

OPINION | Why Do I Learn German at Bates?

A view of Roger Williams Hall, which houses language departments at Bates. MAX HUANG/THE BATES STUDENT

This fall marks my third semester and my third German class since becoming a student at Bates. Through the German department here, I got to know others who share an interest in learning the language and proved to myself that I am capable of interacting with the German language in ways that I doubted I would ever achieve.

Firstly, the small size of the department has its benefits. All the classes I have taken so far have had an average of around six people, providing greater opportunities for getting to know others. The support of the community around me was a major factor in allowing me to grow from being mostly silent due to the fear of making mistakes to participating in class despite them. The classes, though challenging, were incredibly engaging. By relating film, novels, articles, and poetry to culture, society, and power, each class provides a window into German history and the world.

The classes I took last year each ended with projects that explored what we learned and granted us great creative liberty. In my first class, the form of our final projects was entirely open for us to decide. I ended up designing a board game about German reunification, including references to the films we watched in class and political events of that time. In my second semester’s German class, “Tracing the Autobiographical: Personal Narratives in German Literature,” each student completed an autobiographical writing project, the form of which was free to decide. My current class is working on learning how to write academically in German to produce a collaborative paper by the end of the semester. These projects are a great opportunity to showcase what we have learned throughout the course and immerse ourselves in the subject.

Beyond academics, various events are held by the German and Russian Studies Department (GRS), from study breaks with tea to the German table in Commons. These events provide great opportunities to get to know other students learning German or Russian as a whole. The German table, in particular, is a weekly gathering where students eat together, practice the language, and learn new cultural or linguistic tidbits from our incredibly interesting and supportive German professors and TAs (shoutout to Raluca, Jakub, and David!).

Learning a new language opens up the possibility to connect with a greater number of people and cultures around the world. By providing a community for opportunities for students to immerse themselves in reading, writing, and speaking as well as a community of others with a similar interest, the German department, as well as the other language departments at Bates, are an extraordinary resource for studying or picking up a foreign language and learning about the culture behind it.

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About the Contributor
Luciana Zaiet
Luciana Zaiet, Staff Writer
Luciana is a sophomore from Edgemont, NY, and is double-majoring in English and German. She began writing for The Student in the fall of her sophomore year. In her free time, you can find her drawing, crocheting, learning the guitar, taking walks or just spending time outdoors.

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    dosh, steveNov 17, 2023 at 3:55 PM

    Ganz gut • .?.?. …