I first started studying German in high school because I wanted to go to Europe on a German exchange. Eight years later, the language helps define who I am, and the people I’ve met have allowed me to travel the world. The German department at UCLA has been instrumental in expanding my language skills and I’m thankful that I decided to add a German minor to my curriculum.
My language skills grew immensely during my time at UCLA because of how my classes in the German department challenged me. I read Franz Kafka and Sigmund Freud in their original German forms, and I discussed culturally-relevant topics such as immigration reform and the economy of reunified Germany. I realized just how much my skills had grown, however, when I was able to read, debate, and analyze 20th Century German literature all in German. Yet I enjoyed my two years of German classes at UCLA for reasons beyond the language itself.
I repeatedly took classes with a small group of students, allowing me to find a small community in a large university, and I always felt welcome seeking help and advice from professors and TAs alike. From weekly Stammtisch to monthly German movies to the end-of-the-year luncheon, this department actively seeks to build a close-knit community that encourages its students to apply the language to other aspects of their studies.
Learning German has given me an edge in my fields of Oceanography and Environmental Science, and I will be able to maintain my contacts with the UCLA German department as I move into future endeavors.