Tristan Druelinger says that his experiences in the German studies program at SLU and studying abroad in Heidelberg have contributed to his personal and professional growth.
There are so many good things about the German program at SLU that it’s hard to pick just one, but I’ve narrowed it down to a couple.
First, the professors are really great. Not only are they incredibly knowledgeable about their field but they also go above and beyond to help students succeed and understand the material.
Another really great thing is the sense of community in the German community. There is the Sprachwochenende retreat which, although I was only able to attend once, was a really great way to get to know everyone in the program. There are many various events offered by the professors throughout the semester, and now there is also the German club which, while separate from the German division, often works closely with the German faculty to create wonderful, enriching opportunities for those interested in the German language and culture to come together.
The final point I want to bring up is the study abroad program. The German program at SLU is partnered with the American Junior Year at Heidelberg. Study abroad is an absolutely life changing experience anyway, but the program at SLU is especially good. They really strive to work with you to make sure that you achieve everything you want to during your time in Germany and they do so much with you to help you understand the region, its history, and they help you navigate the advanced bureaucracy at German universities, which can be daunting as an American exchange student.
I think learning languages is very important, especially in our increasingly connected world. Speaking another language opens you up to so many opportunities professionally and personally. Many of my closest relationships have come about as a result of my study of the German language. These are people I likely would never have met or even been able to interact with if I had not learned German.
I am currently teaching online German classes at a couple of German language schools in the Midwest. I have plans to pursue a master’s degree in German at Middlebury Language Schools, though I have decided to wait to start until that can be done in person (hopefully the academic year 2021-2022).
There are many ways in which my time in the German program at SLU prepared me for this. The classes I took at SLU allowed me to develop a great knowledge of the German language, culture, history, and literature. The internship opportunities I was afforded during my time there were also formative and allowed me to develop skills and experience in the various areas I might work in with a German degree (for example teaching or translation). They also allowed me to build up professional connections. And lastly the study abroad opportunity at SLU was instrumental to my ability to speak German. Language classes are great, especially at SLU, but being able to live in Germany surrounded by the language and culture I was studying, and to experience life in a country to which I was and am planning to move, is irreplaceable. And the study abroad program at SLU is first rate, in its execution as well as in the way that they work with you and your professors back at SLU.