Saturday, October 1, 2016

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Fulbright Associate from Austria Has Arrived!

Mein Name ist Ralph Kristl und ich komme aus dem wunderschönen Herzen Europas inmitten der Alpen- aus Österreich (Austria). Vor einem Jahr habe ich meinen Master in Teacher Education für höhere Schulen in Österreich abgeschlossen, wobei Lehrer in unserem Land üblicherweise zwei Fächer unterrichten- ich habe die beiden Fächer Englisch als Fremdsprache und Geographie/ Wirtschaft studiert. Unmittelbar nach meinem Studium absolvierte ich mit großer Freude mein vorgeschriebenes Praktikumsjahr an einem Gymnasium in Graz. Mindestens so sehr freue ich mich auf meine Tätigkeit als Tutor an der St. John’s University hier in Minnesota, wo ich vor allem Herrn Fr. Mark Thamert als Deutschassistent zur Seite stehen, das eine oder andere Mal aber auch in anderen Klassen assistieren werde.

Ich liebe es zu reisen, neue Leute kennen zu lernen und unterschiedlichste Erfahrungen zu sammeln. Während meines Studiums verbrachte ich ein Semester in Tennessee und profitierte nicht nur akademisch, sondern auch persönlich enorm davon. Schon damals fasste ich den Entschluss, nach meinem Studium als Fulbright Language Teaching Assistant nach Amerika zurückzukehren und meine Fähigkeiten als Lehrer und nicht zuletzt meinen Horizont zu erweitern. Fremde Bildungssysteme, vor allem Unterricht an einer Hochschule bringt viele neue Inputs mit sich und ist eine enorme Bereicherung für jeden Lehrer. Natürlich bin ich nicht nur gespannt auf die vielen neuen Eindrücke und Erfahrungen, sondern auch darauf, meine eigenen Erfahrungen aus dem Studium und meinem Jahr als Lehrer hier umzusetzen. Somit freue ich mich sehr auf das kommende Jahr und auf eine tolle Zusammenarbeit an der SJU/CSB.

Note:  Ralph will help arrange great German Club activities, do conversation groups and individual tutoring and will assist in teaching German classes.  Welcome Ralph! 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Rebecca Bilbro Enjoys Great Adventures in Teaching High School German

I graduated from St. Ben’s in May 2015 with a major in German and a minor in secondary education. Thanks to the great German program at CSB/SJU, I was hired as a part-time teacher at Prior Lake High School shortly after graduation. This year, I was hired as a full-time teacher at Faribault High School. Less than a week after being hired, I was invited to go to Würzburg with the school’s exchange program. We went on excursions to places like Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Munich, and Vienna. I even got to go zip lining in the Swiss Alps!

Grant Christian Heads to Germany for Three-Year Stay

In March 2017 I will travel over to Germany for the 4th time in my life. Only this time, to stay. Vilseck, Germany will be my home for the next 3 years. I will be stationed there in the US Army as a Military Intelligence Officer. I plan on living in an apartment in the town and assimilating into the culture so that I can truly perfect my German skills. Because of my passion for the language and affinity for the culture I requested to be stationed there, and I was blessed with an opportunity to fulfill my dreams of living in Germany. My skills that I have learned studying abroad, and completing a German major will help me immensely as I embrace the culture and my new home. 

Note to Grant: Congratulations on this great opportunity!  Keep us posted on how you are doing, ok? 

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Senior Ben Kollaja writes about his spring semester in Eichstätt, Bavaria

Dear Fellow Students at CSB/SJU,

I arrived in Eichstätt on Sunday, March 16th, 2014. My “tutor,” who was more like an assigned buddy to help me in my orientation process, picked me up from the train station and drove me to my apartment. The next morning I walked to the university to take a placement test for the three-week intensive language course which all international students take before the semester begins. The course started that same afternoon. After three weeks in the intensive language course I already felt that my German verbal fluency had more than doubled. The first week in Eichstätt there were events every evening for all 50-some international students to get to know each other, which allowed me to make friends quickly. I registered for courses one or two weeks before the start of the semester, which the academic advisors there helped me with. At KU Eichstätt, it is possible to take courses tailored towards international students, including courses taught in English (which I do not recommend), as well as the courses that native speakers take. I personally took only one course for international students, and three courses where I was the only international student in the class in order to challenge myself. German was the language of instruction in all the courses I selected, including a Czech class I audited for fun (a semester abroad is a great time to learn a third language)! A couple of the courses I signed up for were not recommended to me by the academic advisors and turned out to be a bit over my head. Thus, for most students, I would recommend you discuss every course you plan on registering for with the academic advising office. It also helps to talk to other international students and see which courses they are taking. Of course, if you really want to challenge yourself, any course offered at the university is available to you.

Because most courses at KU meet only once per week, most students spend much less time in class and much more time in the library studying. Overall, I would expect most Johnnies and Bennies will have much more free time in their semester in Eichstätt than they do in a normal semester. So that begs the question: what to do with all that free time? German universities do not have competitive athletic programs like American universities. However, KU Eichstätt offers intramural sport programs which meet once a week, and the selection of sports is large. I attended a Muay Thai course and played Ultimate Frisbee regularly, which I really enjoyed. Additionally, each major within the university has its own soccer team which competes for a cup in the spring/summer semester. The ERASMUS program (an exchange program for European students) also fields a team, and all international students are welcome to play on it. This is a good option for more competitively minded people, and the games are taken seriously. I made friends with international students from all over the world playing on the team. And if you like to run or lift weights, Eichstätt has a small weight room and beautiful running trails. The town is located in a valley, and the running trails encircle the valley and give you a wonderful view of the town below. If sports aren’t your thing, another option is to get involved in music or theater. KU has an orchestra, band, choir, and a theater department which are considered extracurricular activities. Having played in an orchestra all through high school, I decided to pick up the violin again and join the orchestra in Eichstätt for a semester. This was another great opportunity to meet locals and practice my German, all while getting to play beautiful music (Dvořák, Max Bruch, etc.).

In addition to offering athletic and artistic opportunities for students, the university does a great job of providing international students with events and travel opportunities to attend. Throughout the semester, there were four day-trips and one overnight excursion offered, and all of the day-trips were free of charge for international students. I attended all four of the free excursions, which included Regensburg (my favorite city in Germany), Rothenburg ob der Tauber, the Chiemsee, and Salzburg. These excursions were a great opportunity to travel within Bavaria and Austria at little to no cost, and I recommend all of them. I also recommend traveling on your own during the semester and/or doing pre or post-travel. I took two weekend trips to Munich with friends during the semester, one of which was for Frühlingsfest, essentially a smaller Oktoberfest that takes place in April. I also took a weekend trip to Prague with some other American students, and we found a cheap apartment to stay in on AirBnB. After the conclusion of the semester, I post-travelled with my sister and cousin in the Czech Republic, Austria and Croatia. If you plan on doing such a trip, I recommend traveling by train or inter-city (IC) bus because it is a great way to get to see the countryside. We traveled using Eurail passes, which allow you to travel to multiple countries within a 30-day period. These passes are not cheap, but for the amount of travel you can do with them they are a good bargain.

Things to consider if you are trying to decide between Eichtstätt and Salzburg:
Eichstätt will provide you with a better opportunity to immerse yourself in the German language and really improve your speaking fluency. That being said, it will also be more challenging as all of your courses will be instructed in German.
Eichstätt allows you more flexibility in choosing courses because you can take any course offered at the university, compared to Salzburg where your courses are mostly selected for you. This is a double-edged sword though, because in Salzburg you can be assured that all of your courses will count for CSBSJU credits and fulfill common curriculum and German requirements. In Eichstätt, it will be up to YOU to try to get courses approved for common curriculum or German credits. Additionally, most courses will count as three credits, not the usual four.
In Eichstätt you will have to be much more independent than in Salzburg. Eichstätt does not have a faculty program director who travels along, and the group size is usually one or two people. Thus you will have to branch out and learn to live on your own. This is an exciting opportunity for some and daunting for others. I felt that studying abroad in Eichstätt was a great experience for my personal development, and it helped me to become more extroverted.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Josh Wittrock checking in from new home in Berlin

It has been a very long time, and I thought I would check in to see how you are doing. How have you been the last 11 years? What have you been up to?

As for me, things are great. After graduation from Saint John's, I moved to Germany to bum around a few years at German Universities (Göttingen and Bamberg). It gave me the chance to take some very interesting courses from Cultural Anthology, History, Philosophy, and German. I jumped back to the US to do my Masters in Industrial Organizational Psychology and then ended up working at a small start up for Leadership Development out of Bamberg. It was a great job that brought me into contact with incredible people and allowed me more travel than I ever dreamed. Six months ago I quit my job at the start up to move to a freelance role. Along with that, I made the decision to move to Berlin. Thus far I am really loving it.

Are you planning on coming over to Germany any time soon? It would be nice to see you again. You are always welcome at my home for a visit.

I look forward to hear from you soon.

I wish you all my very best,


Joshua Wittrock
Mobile: +49 172 6886 042
234 Kurfürstendamm
10719, Berlin

Friday, August 28, 2015

A Message from our Austrian Fulbright Scholar/TA, Chris Jakits

Chris will be with us until May, helping students with their speaking and writing, helping plan German Club events, and adding to the international character of our department and campus.  Welcome to CSB/SJU, Chris!  Here is Chris'note to us:  

Servus liebe Studentinnen und Studenten,

es freut mich sehr, dass ihr euch dazu entschieden habt, Deutsch zu studieren, insbesondere da es keine einfache Sprache ist. Was es jedoch einfacher macht, sind die vielen Gemeinsamkeiten zwischen Englisch und Deutsch.

Am besten stelle ich mich jedoch einmal vor: Mein Name ist Christoph, ich bin 23 Jahre alt und komme aus einem kleinen Dorf in der Nähe von Wien. Vor vier Jahren habe ich begonnen, Deutsch und Englisch an der Universität Wien zu studieren.

Universität Wien

Ein Jahr habe ich in Birmingham, Großbritannien studiert, wo ich Menschen aus aller Welt kennenlernen durfte. So besuchte mich letztes Jahr meine vietnamesische Freundin Ming Ha in Wien, wo wir eine berühmte Sehenswürdigkeit besuchten. Könnt ihr erraten, welche es war?

Welches berühmte Gebäude steht im Hintergrund? 

Ein anderer Ort, den ich auch besonders gerne besuche, ist der Wiener Prater, berühmt für sein Riesenrad. Man kann dort einen wundervollen Ausblick über Wien genießen, traditionelle Köstlichkeiten wie Langos probieren oder mit seinen Freunden in einer der vielen Attraktionen Spaß haben.

Das Wiener Riesenrad und der Stefansdom

Das war jedoch nur eine kleine Auswahl der Plätze, die man in Wien besuchen sollte.

Ich freue mich auf ein tolles Jahr mit euch!
Liebe Grüße,

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Thank you to the Fulbright Program and Its Partner, the Austrian-American Educational Commission

Dear Friends of the CSB/SJU German Program,

We are grateful for our partnership with the Fulbright Program and with their partners in Austria, the Austrian-American Educational Commission. These two programs have supported recent grad researchers and up-and-coming teachers for many years. Current students of our program are strongly urged to apply for this opportunity to teach and do research.

Fulbright Scholarship/TAship  Recipients, 70 strong and counting!:

Chris Pignato 2015
Joseph Berns 2014
Daniel Schmit 2014
Alexander Van Loh 2014
Joseph Miller 2014
Chris Pignato - 2012
John Jacobs - 2012
Matt Beck - 2009
Michael Risch-Jansen - 2009
Sam Lauer - 2009
Robert Mevissen - 2009
Amy Herou - 2009
Angela Sigl - 2008
Laura Wunsch - 2008 -- 3 consecutive years
Ryan Fader - 2007
Erik Hendrickson - 2007
Mark Bublitz - 2007 -- 2 consecutive years
David Lambert - 2007
Keith Spinali - 2006 -- 2 consecutive years
Josh Wittrock - 2006
Lew Grobe - 2006
Bennett Frensko - 2006  -- 3 consecutive years
Chris Schumacher - 2005
Kim Skramstad - 2005
Sarah Miller - 2005
John Kamman - 2005
Brian Schnese - 2004
Edward Kasner - 2004
Paul Krook - 2003
Andy Stern - 2003
Gabi Fosado - 2003
Paul Zimmel - 2003
Jeremy Chinquist - 2003
Gretchen Diercks - 2003
Chris Schumacher – 2002
Sarah Miller - 2002
Aaron Voth - 2002
Kim Skramstad - 2002
Stefan Theimer - 2002
Danielle Simpson - 2002
John Kamman - 2002
  missing info for 1998-2001
Joshua Hayes - 1997
Margaret Zenk - 1996
Christina Briggs - 1994
Stacey Gerlach - 1994
Julie Watteras - 1994
Patrick Seaman - 1994
Jennifer Sell - 1993
Genia Kolyszko - 1993
Gretchen Terhaar - 1992
Ray Catudal - 1992
Benjamin Johnson - 1992
Michael Murray - 1992
Eric Andree - 1992
Vachel Miller - 1991
Daniel Steger - 1991
Amy Wesler - 1991
Leanne Baumgarten - 1991
Kelly Birk - 1991
Amy Brunell - 1991
Karla Heins - 1990
Michella Lang - 1990
Helen Langer - 1990
Patricia Wagner - 1990
Mary Schmidt - 1989
Julie Kilkhammer - 1988
Ann Leutmer - 1988
Kelli Rasmussen - 1987
Sandra Toenies - 1987

ò Information on our two CSB/SJU graduates who are in leadership positions at Fulbright:

Dr. Lonnie Johnson, Executive Director, Fulbright (Austrian-American Educational) Commission

Lonnie Johnson (CSB/SJU German Studies graduate 1974) is the executive director of the Austrian-American Educational Commission (Fulbright Commission) in Vienna. During his visit to CSB/SJU in late November, Lonnie gave a talk to members of the Office of Education Abroad, the Center for Global Education, the Global Business Leadership Department and the German Studies Program. In his remarks, Lonnie analyzed the changing nature of study abroad and its ever-increasing importance for American students.   The Fulbright Program was established in 1946 to promote mutual understanding between people of the United States and people of other countries. Dr. Johnson’s research and publications focus on the history of Central Europe and Austria. Dr. Johnson has published books and articles on Austrian and central European history and politics including, Central Europe: Enemies, Neighbors, Friends; Vienna: The Past in the Present; and Introducing Austria. He received a B.A. from St. John’s University in Minnesota and a Ph.D. from the University of Vienna.
   Over the years, dozens of students from the German Studies Program at CSB/SJU have participated in the Austrian and German Fulbright Teaching Assistant Programs for one to three years after graduating from college. We deeply appreciate Lonnie's ongoing support of his undergraduate German Program.

    CSB/SJU Alumnus Daniel Kramer has recently been named the Director of the Fulbright U.S. Student Program at the Institute of International Education (IIE) in New York City. He is pictured here with his wife, Debra Prager.
     As Director Dan manages the operations of this program, including overseeing the annual competition and screening of applications by IIE-developed panels of academic specialists. Over 9,000 graduating seniors, graduate-level candidates, and young professionals (such as writers, creative and performing artists and journalists) apply to study, conduct research or serve as English Teaching Assistants abroad. Over 1,600 grants are awarded in over 140 countries world-wide.
    Dan graduated from Saint John's and Saint Ben's in 1989 and completed a PhD in Germanic Languages and Literatures at Harvard University before taking teaching posts at Holy Cross College and Washington and Lee University. He has been recipient of Fulbright and other research awards. “20 years ago I was awarded a Fulbright grant to Germany, and have been involved with the program ever since, serving on the Fellowships Committee as well as the board of the local Fulbright Association chapter. To direct this program two decades later is a real honor and privilege.” Since his Fulbright year abroad, Dan has also led many student groups to Germany, and regards it as his second home.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Adventszeit: German Club Creates Gifts for Friends and Family

Last Sunday, the CSB/SJU German Club hosted the annual gingerbread house night in the McKeown Center. An estimated 20 people attended, and students were able to build their own gingerbread houses using homemade Lebkuchen (gingerbread). Paula Doebel, a local supplied the gingerbread and other necessary supplies, as she has in the past. Students engaged in a friendly atmosphere while building their houses and listening to Christmas music.  Everyone enjoyed being able to take a short study break to de-stress before diving into finals week. The event began at 7:15pm and most students stayed until around 8:30 when they had finished building their houses. After the event, students were able to take their completed houses home with them. The event was an overall success and we continuing this German tradition here at CSB/SJU.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Oktoberfest 2014 a Great Success

The German Club was proud to host our fifth annual Oktoberfest in Bro. Willie’s Pub on Saturday, Oct. 18th. As in past years, the event included music, dancing, good food and drink, and games with prizes. Campus DJs did a great job of DJing the event, playing a combination of popular German and Austrian songs, electronic music, and even a small amount of Polka to get people dancing. Food served included hot Brezen and Würstl. Beer was served upstairs, including Paulaner Weißbier, the world-famous wheat beer brewed in Munich. Games included Steinheben, a game where contestants attempt to hold a liter of water with an outstretched arm for as long as possible, a costume contest with prizes for the best dressed Mädel and Bursche, and a guessing game where contestants had to estimate the number of gummy bears in a liter Stein. We had an estimated 200 people attend, and it was all in all a great event!
     Congratulations, German Club Members, on organizing such a fine event.