I did not arrive on Trinity Campus intending to major in German LACS, however I was fortunate my academic journey quickly led me to take an Introductory German course in my first year, and ever since then German Studies have become an integral part of my experience at Trinity. An initial appreciation for my own burgeoning ability to understand and converse in German, the language of my German father and his family, has given way to a far broader appreciation for the study of a broad swath German literature, history, and culture from the late 18th Century up to the modern day. My time in the German Studies has also furnished me with a wonderful array of opportunities to immerse myself in all these different aspects of the German language and allowed me to find support in my studies from a tremendous group of Professors deeply committed to deepening my own understanding such topics and furthering my own advancement. I am glad to have been able to work through the different levels of German and feel fortunate to be able to approach Graduation having spent so much time in the Department.
One tremendous opportunity afforded to me by German Studies was the Department’s Summer Study Abroad Program to Berlin, which I participated in during the Summer of 2019. The weeks I spent in Berlin combined in-class education with class on the streets, as most of our classes involved visits to Berlin landmarks like Schloss Charlottenburg, the Brandenburg Gate and the Berlin Cathedral as well as visits to many of the city’s most famous museum and landmarks, as our Professors integrated the historical and cultural themes from our courses with the history-laden topography of Berlin. Though my German was often imperfect, I found I was able to acquit myself well in conversating with Berlin locals and discovering their distinctive language and customs. The Study Abroad Program also organized excellent and well-structured trips both to Weimar, the former beating heart of the German Enlightenment and home of the renowned German literary luminaries Goethe und Schiller, in addition to the historic city of Dresden, home to noted numerous architectural landmarks like the Frauenkirche. When my weeks abroad in Berlin were ultimately finished, I could only be grateful for all the truly impactful experiences I had been able to have in such a brief period of time, and all the work the Department had put in ensuring my Program experience was as educational and as comprehensive as possible.
Looking back on the entirety of my experiences in the German LACS, I have found my time in the Department to have been profoundly transformative and a perfect complement to my simultaneous studies as a Major in the Political Science Department here at Trinity. Learning German has helped to broaden my horizons and deepened my ability to truly engage with the German-speaking world in a manner that I could never have imagined as a Trinity Freshman. Going forward beyond my time here at Trinity College, I know the German language skills I have developed, as well as the deeper knowledge German culture and history I have cultivated through my time here will serve me well into the future. Truly, in an ever more globalized world, I believe that learning a foreign language, and having the ability to converse in someone else’s mother tongue is not merely an indulgence but increasingly a necessity, and I hope that other Trinity Students will also see fit to make to find their linguistic home in the German Studies.