Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Matt Beck Thriving as Fulbright TA in Nürnberg.

Hallo Freunde!

As 2010 comes to an end, I'm writing to update you on my last few months. It's been a while since my last update, but I certainly didn't want to fill your email boxes with too many details of my everyday life (For example, teaching German students not to place 'for example' smack dab in the middle of a sentence). Quite a bit has happened in the last few months, so I'll start at the beginning.

At the end of October, my friend Alison, who was studying abroad in London, came to visit me in Nürnberg. This gave me a chance to do a lot of the touristy things that I otherwise wouldn't do. For example, I live a five-minute walk away from Hitler's colosseum and the Nazi rally grounds. Alison and I trotted over there, and after walking around and inside the colosseum, which is architecturally awesome, we visited the Documentation Center, a museum built into the colosseum. What I really liked about it was that it focused on the time leading up to the holocaust, rather than on the holocaust itself. Having known little about this time (about 1919-1939), it was an educational experience.

After a week in Nürnberg (and yes, you can experience Nürnberg in a week), we took a train to visit our friend Andreas in Vienna. Unfortunately, we only had three days to spend there. While Andreas worked during the day, Alison and I explored Vienna ourselves, visiting a couple palaces and walking around the city center. At night and on the weekend, Andreas showed us around other parts of Vienna.

November and December were focused on getting settled in and finding more to do. For some reason, the German Ministry of Education thinks that twelve hours of work a week is enough to keep teaching assistants occupied. It also sounds great on paper (Fulbright: get paid to live in Germany with no responsibilities!), but in reality, it leads to quite a bit of boredom. My resolution: I'm voluntarily working more at the Gymnasium (academic-track school) by teaching more upper-level classes and by helping to revise and evaluate senior theses. I've also been given my own conversation class and am planning a literature class for spring.

This past week, I went to Switzerland to celebrate Christmas with my roommate Filip's family. Although I was only there for a few days, my impressions of Switzerland are pretty positive. People seemed nicer than in Germany, and I love the accent (much softer and more melodic than the Franconian accent). The dialects, however, are a bit difficult for me to understand if I'm not concentrating.

Over the course of the next few months, I have quite a bit planned. On Friday, I'm invited to a Silvester (New Year's) party at the home of one of my colleagues. Next week, I'm going back to Vienna to visit Andreas again. In February, I'm hopefully going skiing in Austria with the 7th grade class. Following that, Fulbright has a week-long, all expenses paid conference in Berlin at a four-star hotel. Win.

In closing, here are some more bullet points about my life here:

* It took me three months for me to get a residency permit. In the end, the worker only needed to enter some data into her computer and print the permit for me.

* I got a library card so that I could read some German books, but I had to bring proof of residency with me.

* I've been apologized to by the manager of a bank and by the alien registration office for inefficiencies that delayed my applications. In addition, being apologized to in your second language is awesome.

*A few inches of snow disables Germany. Streetcars shut down. Trains stop. Department store floors turn into lakes. The snow removal systems that exist are minimal at best.

• On a more positive note:

* After four months of searching, I finally found someone to do an impression of an American speaking German. It was hilarious and educational.

* I've been trying to master the German r, which is pronounced only enough to be difficult for English speakers (in contrast to the American r, which is heavily pronounced.

* I'm improving U.S.-German relations (the real reason I'm here) by establishing a pen pal program.

* With my extra time here, I'm looking into starting a third language. The forerunners: Arabic and Turkish.

* With more friends coming to visit, I should have my tour of Nürnberg perfected by the end of the year.

Best wishes and a happy new year!

Matt

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Three Great Upper Div Courses for Spring 2011 -- Take Two!

Dear German Students!
Indulge your appetite for things German this coming semester!  Andreas K's survey course will give you a broad view of modern German Culture and Literature -- focusing on some of the most thought-provoking writers of modern times.  Wendy Sterba's Medieval course is a perennial favorite and her love of the medieval period complete with knights, royal families, dragons, hermits and love stories will grab your imagination.  Mark Thamert's Great Ideas will feature short texts and and many ideas to challenge the way you think about life. 

GERM 325: Survey 1850 until Present (4 credits)
This seminar will be a study of German literature and its cultural background from the mid-19th century to the 20th century. Representative literary and cultural texts of German Nobel Prize winners in literature will be read, analyzed and discussed. The course will include literary and cultural trends and movements of Naturalism, Impressionism, Expressionism, and post-World War II contemporary developments. Texts from the following authors will be included: Gerhart Hauptmann, Thomas Mann, Hermann Hesse, Nelly Sachs, Heinrich Böll, Günter Grass, Elfriede Jelinek, and Herta Müller.     Andreas Kiryakakis

GERM 330:  German Lands in Religious Transition: The Light and Dark of the Middle Ages. (2-4 credits)
Before the Common Era, Germanic tribes moved into central Europe and greatly affected the culture of the continent. This course explores the origins and effects of the united European Empire myth. It also looks at the ways in which religions and feudal structures impacted the culture, actions and art of a variety of Europe. Prerequisites: 212; 311 and 312, or concurrent enrollment in 311 or 312. Offered every three years. Can be repeated with permission of instructor if content varies. Qualifies as a course in Period.   Wendy Sterba

GERM 357C: Great Ideas in German Culture (2 credits)
Students and Fr. Mark will gather to decide the best meeting time, wherther evening or during the day. AB mod only.

This 2-credit seminar emphasize developing students' discussion skills and will feature short texts by such significant writers as Hildegard von Bingen; Kafka und Nietzsche; Dietrich Bonhoeffer; Freud und Heine; Karl Marx; Friedrich Engels; Otto von Bismarck; Max Weber; Oswald Spengler; Hitler und Kästner; Albert Schweitzer; Erich Maria Remarque; Karl Jaspers; Albert Schweitzer; Werner von Braun; C. G. Jung; Heine und Kant; Wolfgang von Goethe; Hugo von Hofmannsthal; Ute Frevert; Erica Fischer; and Christa Wolf.   Give it a try!  Mark Thamert

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The CSB/SJU Salzburg Group is Thriving!


CSB/SJU is among the very top German Studies Departments nationwide to send so many students abroad for entire semester. Some students stay on to complete an entire year in Salzburg. Many go on to become Teaching Assistants in Austria and Germany for a year or two after graduation as part of two different Fulbright programs. Thank you Professor Lisa Ohm and Stuart Golschen for your guidance of this remarkable group.

Hallo from Salzburg! Students on the Salzburg Program are absorbing German and culture at a fast pace. We just returned from a field trip to Vienna, where we absorbed the art, architecture, music, and cosmopolitan air of the nation’s capital. The impressive imperial buildings of Vienna remind visitors of the vibrant history of the Austro-Hungarian Empire’s capital situated in today’s (rather small) Austria. It’s great to have friends in Vienna: Robert Mewissen gave us a delightful tour, and Andreas Raab attended the concert with us. We visited the imperial rooms (20 of the 180!) in Schoenbrunn Palace and attended a concert in the Kursalon. Nearly everyone adventured up the lift + stairs to the top of the cupola in Karlskirche. The restoration of the paintings on the ceiling gives visitors (without a fear of heights) this opportunity to feel like Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel—or a bird! In Salzburg we attended a Mozart opera, The Abduction from the Seraglio, which had not been produced often until recently because it deals with a harem in the Islamic world. It was presented by students from the Mozarteum, the name of the University of Salzburg’s world-famous music and theater department. At Kehlsteinkopf (Eagle’s Nest) in Bavaria we had the Baroque sensation of being pulled between the thrilling beauty of the surrounding Alps and the morbid underground bunkers in the Hitler complex. At Salzburg’s Open-Air Museum we saw typical rural homes from two of the five “counties” in Salzburg Land: Flachgau, & Tennengau, the oldest home dating from 1640. Houses from Pinzgau, Pongau, and Lungau were also represented. During a longer break at the end of the month students will be testing their new socio-cultural skills in trips further afield in Europe. Gute Reisen!

Oktoberfest at Brother Willis -- Songs, Dancing, Brats and Bretz'n

On October 16th, Maren Gotchnik and Phil Roye graced the festival with their authentic costumes.


Over 200 CSB/SJU students attended and learned new dances and sang German songs.


Unsre Schuplatterbuabn.


Our Fulbrighter Ralph Neumayer from Austria did the DJ honors.


Dear German Club students. You can be very proud of all the work you put into making this first Oktoberfest at CSB/SJU such a success.  Herzlichen Dank!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Internship in Germany through the Congress-Bundestag Exchange

Dear Students:  This is what Jessica Raboin write of her experience in this program:

This is the program I did. It is an EXCELLENT program that is FREE minus spending cash ($300/month I needed). If you ever want me to talk to a class about this opportunity, or a specific student, please let me know. I would love too. I had a life-curving experience that continues to shape what I am and who I want to be today--it was truly a transformative year. I not only began learning the German language and culture from the moment I stepped on the plane to my orientation in D.C., but along the way I learned about dozens of other cultures, languages and customs, which has improved my communication and critical thinking skills. Plus, I had the best host family ever! I have nothing bad to say about the program. Anyway, just letting you know.     Jessica Raboin (current student at CSB/SJU
  The Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals (CBYX), a yearlong fellowship to study and intern in Germany, is currently accepting applications from your students. CBYX is open to applicants in all career fields without any prior German language knowledge, and is funded by the US and German governments through a grant provided by the US Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, under the authority of the Fulbright-Hays Act of 1961, as amended. More information can be found at www.cbyx.info .
The CBYX program covers the costs of and annually provides 75 participants with:
   • 2 months intensive German language training in Cologne, Bremen, or Radolfzell

   • Semester of study at a German University or University of Applied Sciences

   • 5-month internship with a German company in the participant’s career field

   • Homestays with German host families, in shared apartments, and student dorms

   • Transatlantic airfare, health insurance, and monthly living expense stipends

   • Various seminars in the US and Germany

   • Local in-country support throughout the program
CBYX for Young Professionals is open to students in all fields of study, though preference is given to students in vocational, technical, engineering, agricultural, business, and scientific fields. Applicants should have clear career goals and some relevant work experience in their career field, which may include summer, part-time, or internship work. Prior German language knowledge is not required, though it is strongly preferred. Participants must be between the ages of 18-24, possess a high school diploma or equivalent, and be US citizens or permanent residents.
Interested applicants can apply online at www.cbyx.info . The application deadline for the program is at the end of November .
  Sincerely,
Will Maier
Program Officer, CBYX for Young Professionals
CDS International
440 Park Avenue South, 2nd Fl
New York, NY 10016
wmaier@cdsintl.org

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

CSB/SJU Students Thriving in Salzburg


Dear Salzburgers!  The joy on your faces means you are taking good advantage of all  the opportunities Austria has to offer.  It will be wonderful to see you when you return to hear about all your adventures! We are proud of your taking advantage of this wonderful program.  Alles Gute!

Here is a note from our colleague Professor Lisa Ohm who is directing the group this year with her husband Stuart Goldschen: 

Dear Colleagues and Students at CSB/SJU!   The city of Salzburg is as beautiful as ever, and friendlier than ever despite the throngs of tourists. The 16 CSB/SJU students are settling in and beginning to feel like they belong here. They like the dorm rooms; only one student's roommate has arrived--from Japan, and speaking some German and no English! We visited the summer palace of Makus Sittikus and enjoyed the water fountains that spray without warning from numerous directions. Typical of Mannerism, said the guide: surprise and contrast. Classes started last Monday. Dr. Spechtler gave a lecture covering some basic background information on religious drama and the Oberammergau Passion Play in particular. When looking at the gospel sources for the play, he stressed that Westerners must read with the pictoral language of the Orient in mind and forget the Western penchant for facts. The weather has been beautiful: a bit of rain, but mostly good days for being outdoors. Students climbed the Gaisberg as a prelude to Untersberg. Sunday we visited the Stift Melk and saw the splendor of the Baroque and were impressed by the "fortress abbey" on the Danube. And this is only the beginning!...Oktoberfest begins this weekend in Muenchen, next weekend is Oberammergau...



Salzburg Gruppe 2010

Megan Boll
Brady Dietman
Jennifer Grier
Aimee Harren
Jeremy Hericks
Nicole Johnson
Kolby Kulas
Sean Lynch
Kevin Murphy
Daniel Parker
Christopher Pignato
Megan Priebe
Matthew Roggenbuck
Jacob Schumacher
Christopher Seiler
Katie Ulrich



Wednesday, September 8, 2010

John Jacobs Joins the German Department from a Semester in Freiburg

video


Dear Fellow Students and German Profs!
     I spent my spring term this past year in Freiburg, where I studied EU politics and traveled to seventeen different countries and visited the EU parliament, World trade organization, the EU Parliament, the United Nations and other political centers. During the term I earned 16 credits through IES (International Education of Students). After the semester was over in May I applied for twelve jobs and ended up working in the Kastaniengarten beer garden! Before attending University of San Diego for my freshman year, I went to school at Saint John's Prep and did my junior year at the Stiftsgymnasium in Melk, Austria. It's great to be back in campus! I look forward to working with the German Club and being part of the German Department!   

Liebe Grüsse,
John jacobs

Thursday, August 19, 2010

German Grad Will Rogers Thriving in His Medical Sales Position in Germany


Dear Students and Friends of the CSB/SJU German Department,

I never knew what I was going to do with a German major, but it was one of the best decisions I ever made.  After college I packed up my car and moved to San Diego where I took the first job I could find, but I was continuously looking for a way to get back to Germany or Austria. I became a German major because of my family history and my love of travel. After the Salzburg program, I knew I had to go for the major. While in San Diego I connected with a friend whose company was looking for a German speaker. The interview went well, so I quit my job and shipped over to Germany immediately.

I have been living in Germany for over 4 years now. I work for a medical device manufacturer and supervise all of our business development in Central Europe. I spend a majority of my time working in Gemany and Austria, but have also spent time working in Italy, Spain, France, Switzerland, England, Belgium, Poland, Malaysia, and Turkey.  I currently live in Frankfurt, Germany. I'm not throwing out the option of staying here permanently, but regardless I will always want a job that gives me access to travel in Europe.

All of my new friends have been Germans, which has really helped progress my language skills. My German is now better than I ever thought possible. If I would have some advice for students taking German who would like to live in the country after college, the first step is to just get over to Germany. Find an internship or an English teaching position. Once you hit the ground, you can start networking and find a more permanent position. If you want to go for your masters, regardless of your major, a majority of graduate programs in Germany are taught in English and are far less expensive than in the USA. So don't be nervous if your German isn't perfect. You're young, just go for it! Let me know if I can help you further!
 

All the best in your studies,
Will Rogers

Monday, July 5, 2010

Thanks from the heart ... We couldn't do it without you!

Dear Wonderful Colleagues,


Thank you Lonnie Johnson in Vienna for guiding our Fulbright TA Recipients each year; Dave Lyndgaard, Provost Rita Knuesel, and Dean Joe Desjardins for supporting our new German Studies curriculum and paving the way for Fulbright TA positions at CSB/SJU. Thank you John Taylor for your yearly work with foundations on our behalf; Mike Connolly and Jody Terhaar for finding excellent living quarters for our visiting Fulbright TA/Scholars; professors Greg Schroeder and Charles Bobertz for superb management of our Salzburg Program; Ernie Dietrich, Greg Schroeder and Joe Rogers for helping us create a vision for European and German Studies Abroad; Tom Kroll for your giving our students tours -- in German -- through the SJU wetlands; Stuart Goldschen for your superb photography and moral support; and Mary Niedenfuer for your countless daily contributions as coordinator of our department. We couldn't do it without you!

15 Minnesota High Schools Attend Minnesota DeutschFest at CSB/SJU


On May 14th three hundred Minnesota high school students arrived at Saint John's for a morning of upbeat competitions and an early afternoon awards ceremony in the abbey church to honor Minnesota high school teachers and students. It was an amazing joint venture between CSB/SJU and Minnesota high schools.  THANK YOU to everyone who attended and worked so hard for this year's event.  We have set a goal to double the attendance next year!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Michael Risch-Janson '08 and Angela Sigl '08 Return from Fulbright Teaching, Wed in Abbey Church


An amazing story ....
  • Michael started in German 111 his Freshman year -- and completed the major in four years!
  • He double majored in German and Physics.
  • He was a participant in the Salzburg Program
  • He took a job as a programmer at Securian Financial in Downtown Saint Paul..
  • After a year of work in the real world he decided to apply for the Austria teaching Fulbright.
  • His girlfriend Angela Sigl (CSB grad, 2008) was also awarded a Fulbright teaching position in Wieselburg because the other American teacher didn't show up!
  • Angela and Michael are being married in the Abbey Church by Fr. Mark Thamert on July 3, 2010.
  • Congratulations Michael and Angela!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Austrian Ambassador, Christian Prosl, Visits Saint John's University.

Ambassador Christian Prosl is not the first Austrian diplomat to the United States to visit Collegeville, but given his warm reception Tuesday, it likely will not be the last.   Prosl was given a guided tour of The Saint John s Bible exhibition at Hill Museum & Manuscript Library on the campus of St. John's University.

One of our board members is the honorary consul general to Austria ... and former instructor here, HMML Development Director Erin Lonergan said about Ron Bosrock and his invitation to Prosl.  Matthew Heintzelman, curator of the Austria and Germany Study Center, gave a presentation about HMML's Austrian collection in Collegeville, during the 63-year-old ambassador's visit.

A book is more than just a container for text, Heintzelman said. It is the history of how that book was received, how the book was made, what were the economics of the time. 

Prosl, a husband and father from Eisenstadt, Austria, looked at The Saint John s Bible's The Luke Anthology, which featured ink from hand-ground pigments and gold leaf on calfskin vellum.

I heard from my predecessor that there s a wonderful monastery here and wonderful people, and so I came, said Prosl, who arrived in the Twin Cities on a flight from Washington, D.C. The Saint John's Bible is the world's latest handwritten and illustrated Bible, and the first Bible to be commissioned by a Benedictine monastery in almost 500 years.

The Benedictines have been here for the last 150 years, and what they do is a place of culture ... and they show how (to live) a Christian life, Prosl said of his first visit to St. John's.

HMML began converting Austrian manuscripts to microfilm in 1965 in an effort to preserve books and manuscripts in other countries. The most complete of HMML's collections, it contains more than 30,000 manuscripts and other documents pre-1600 work from almost all the Austrian libraries.

It opened doors for us to more than 70 other manuscript libraries and set the standard for the collaboration that has characterized HMML's mission during our 40 years of work throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle East, said the Rev. Columba Stewart, HMML executive director.  Eva Nowotny, a former Austrian ambassador to the United States, visited the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library in 2007. 

HMML was founded 40 years ago in response to the loss of manuscripts and books during World Wars I and II.  Austria is a small country. We know we are not the center of the world, and we have no problems and we don't create problems so basically we have a very good relationship (with the United States), Prosl said of his German-speaking country, which has a population of 8.2 million.

The United States first established diplomatic relations with Austria in 1838, and relations between the two have been continuous since, except in World War I and World War II.  He is a very nice person very nice, very nice, Prosl said of President Barack Obama, who the  Austrian ambassador described as being genial and welcoming when presented with his credentials.

In a globalist world, there are two major areas that have the same basic values Europe and the United States and therefore we have to understand each other, Prosl said of U.S.-Austrian relations.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Philipp Roye and Andreas Raab Give Presentation About Germany and Austria at Local High Schools

Philipp Roye, a first year student from Germany and Andreas Raab, our Fulbright Teaching Assistant from Austria, brought their home countries to a high school classroom in the nearby town of Holdingford. History and geography, customs and traditions, food and clothing, sights, sports, and their home towns were among the topics Philipp and Andreas talked about. Around 30 8th grade students learned about another culture and asked the two presenters many interesting questions. Philipp and Andreas enjoyed their visit and had a great time working with the student group.
  

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Senior Matt Beck Awarded Prestigious Fulbright Grant for Research and Teaching in Germany

 

    Note:  Matt will be teaching in two schools in the inner city of Nürnberg, one school on each side of the Pegnitz river.  Here Matt talks about his interest in German leading to being granted this wonderful fellowship. 

    I started taking German as a junior at Pierz Healy High School, where it was the major language of study. Because of block scheduling I was able to take four courses in two years. I came to St. John's somewhat misguidedly to play sports, but I later realized the importance of academics and also the friendships that I have made here. So far, my best experience in German has been studying abroad in Ingolstadt, Germany. I lived with a host family and worked in an after-school program. At this program, I worked with a variety of immigrants who were struggling. My experiences in Germany eventually became the groundwork for my senior thesis, which I am presenting at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research in Montana. I am most proud of how far I have been able to come in four years - I'm certainly much more aware of the world that I was as a freshman, and I'm much more able to critically think about language, education, and politics.
    I've also found that the German major here is a great chance to foster community. This past fall, my roommates and I had Fr. Mark, Fulbright Teaching Assistant Andreas Raab, and our faculty resident over to make Wienerschnitzel. Events such as this are unique opportunities to get to know professors and other German majors better.
    My senior thesis synthesized many of my interests. Because of my experiences in Ingolstadt, I knew that I wanted to research possible improvements to the situation of immigrants in Germany. I ended up combining aspects of Marxist theory, Paulo Freire's critical pedagogy, and theories of second language acquisition. In the future, I see my self completing a Ph. D. or Ed. D. in education, most likely focusing on critical pedagogy or culture and teaching.
    Right now, I'm student teaching to get ready for my career in education. At the beginning of this semester, I taught at St. John's Preparatory School with Emmy Sack. Emmy was a wonderful mentor; in two months, I was able to greatly improve as a teacher. It was also quite strenuous - writing lesson plans for four different courses each day adds up quickly!
     Fulbright is an experience that will certainly help me in my future. Not only will I be able to improve my German, I'll be able to see a different educational system. It'll also give me some time to mature before I begin my career as a teacher.

Matt Beck

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Six Seniors Complete Final Presentations with Honors



Christen, Dan, Jay, Teresa, und Greg -- Wir sind so stolz auf euch!

TERESA M. WALCH    Supporting a Myth: The Effect of Vienna’s Post-World War II Monuments on Austrian Identity, 1945-1955. (Mark Thamert, OSB, PhD, Modern and Classical Languages).   Although many Austrians participated in the crimes of the third Reich, Austria was labeled as the first victim of German aggression in the Allied Moscow Declaration of 1943. In order to conform to this victim myth, postwar Austrian political elites created and used a distinct, non-German identity to serve their own political agendas. Provincial and locally-sponsored Austrian memorials disputed the official memory that was supported and sustained by politically-sponsored monuments in Vienna during the initial postwar decade. This study delves into Austria’s post-World War II monument culture, specifically focusing on Vienna’s monuments and memorials, and it analyzes Austrian political elites’ utilization of these sites of memory to support the official postwar Austrian identity.

CHRISTEN BECKSTRAND   Music as Political Tool: The Role of Music as Propaganda in Nazi Germany (1933-1945).  (Dr. Andreas Kiryakakis, Modern and Classical Languages).  The Third Reich (1933-1945) drew upon many aspects of German nationalism to solidify its control, including German musical culture, which played an important role in the regime's overall propaganda effort. Exploiting the Germanic musical culture, the Nazi party won “acceptance by creating the proper emotional atmosphere,” wherein the acceptance of the Nazi party and Nazi ideals was simple and natural for the German public (Moller, 44). The Third Reich worked to promote the purity of German culture and the credibility of the Nazi Party by exalting the past Germanic (Aryan) musical greats, censoring new musical material, and excluding Jews from the musical scene. As a musical, emotional, and political movement, the Third Reich successfully infiltrated the German Volk through a popular vein: the love and appreciation for Germany’s composers and the tradition of German dominance in the musical movement.

MATTHEW T. BECK  Immigration and the German School System: a Freirean Perspective.   (Dr. Anna Lisa Ohm, Modern and Classical Languages).  During the economic boom of the 1950's, Germany welcomed guest workers from other countries to help rebuild its economy. Since then, the children of many of these immigrants have struggled to succeed in school. In order to improve their situation, I suggest that a combination of Paulo Freire's critical pedagogy, multicultural education, and collaborative dialog may help immigrant children acquire both the language skills and the cultural knowledge necessary for academic success. In this project I draw upon theories of second language acquisition; works by educational theorists from Germany, America, and Canada; and the experiences of German educators.

GREG SANDQUIST   The Berlin airlift: the start of the US-German relationship. (Dr. Anna Lisa Ohm, Modern and Classical Languages).   From June 1948 until 1949, the city of West Berlin suffered under the hands of the Soviet blockade of all Allied supply lines through the Soviet-occupied zone. The Berlin Airlift in the end was a success, but many Americans and Germans were extremely worried that it would fail in the beginning stages. During the 11 months of the Airlift, the US came to understand its previous enemy as a mutual partner and friend. After 50-60 years of almost being forgotten, interest in the Berlin Airlift exploded in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Anniversaries were being celebrated and the veterans who participated in one of America’s finest hours are passing on, but Americans are also seeking answers in a previous era, the era of the “Greatest Generation,” when the US found solutions instead of being the problem.

JAY M. RANFRANZ   How Far is Too Far? A Comparison of Nazi Eugenic Movements during World War II with Today’s Developments in Modern Eugenics.  (Mark Thamert, OSB, Ph.D., Modern and Classical Languages).  Scientific breakthroughs in the field of genetics during the 21st century have greatly contributed to the science community and general public, but where could these technological advances lead? With new information about the role of genes in human development, classic eugenicists have turned to genetic engineering to manipulate the human genome in hopes of improving the human race. The problem is that even though the science behind this practice has changed, the ethical dilemmas have remained. Modern eugenicists argue that exterminating “bad” genes from the population will better humanity as a whole. This movement is eerily similar to the Nazi Party’s support of racial hygiene. Modern eugenics is morally indefensible based on its close resemblance to the Nazi eugenic movements of WWII, which has already been accepted as wrong. Science pushes the limits of what ethicists deem morally right or wrong, so the question is, How far is too far?

DAN SALAY   The significance of the word Volk [German People] from the Romantic period to today (Dr. Anna Lisa Ohm, Modern and Classical Languages)  The words DEM DEUTSCHE VOLKE [To the German People] stand over the main entrance to the Reichstag building in Berlin. The interpretation of Volk has transformed since the time of the romantics. The placement of these words on the Reichstag in 1916 stirred early debates about the true meaning of Volk for all Germans. The word Volk has undergone changes that carry both positive and negative connotation connected directly to the history of German politics and culture. Beginning in the Romantic period, and following through the Weimar Republic, the Third Reich, the Cold War, and up to today, Volk has gained no universally accepted definition regarding its proper usage for the modern day. Its presence on the Reichstag publically presents the question of its meaning to this day. This unresolved question generates debate and remains a thorn in the side of Germany’s identity and its position in the world.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Carolyn Haupert Takes Job in Germany Starting in September


Dear students taking German!  Here is my news ...
     I have just accepted an au pair position in Bamberg, Germany starting in September and going through the following August. I will be living with a family and helping with their two children while they help me with my German. I will be taking language classes at the University of Bamberg and oboe lessons with a teacher from Nuremberg. I am looking forward to immersing myself in German language and culture.
     I got the job by posting a profile with an online au pair agency. I found the agency on goabroad.com, which I found on the school's career center webpage.
     Best of luck in your German studies!  I hope German speaking countries will also be part of your plans after college!
     Carolyn Haupert

Sunday, April 25, 2010

German Students at Saint Ben's and Saint John's

Take a peek at our wonderful students!

CLICK these LINKS:

http://germanmajors-2010.blogspot.com/2010/03/german-majors-2010.html 

 http://germanmajors-2010.blogspot.com/2010/03/german-majors-2011.html

Top Minnesota High School Students and Teachers Come to Saint John's for German Awards Banquet

 
On Saturday, April 25, thirty Minnesota high school German students received awards for their superb work in German language and culture studies in German.  Top Minnesota German teachers were also recognized at this event.  They represent the best of German teaching nationwide:  

Dear Teachers: We are deeply grateful for your daily energy and contributions to the success of German Studies in Minnesota! We cannot thank you enough.

  •    Kathy Bauman at Century High School in Rochester 
  •    Josh Grossman at John Marshall High School in Rochester
  •    Michael Thompson at Mayo High School in Rochester
  •    Emmy Sack from Saint John's Preparatory in Collegeville
  •    Jutta Crowder at St. Paul Academy
  •    Maureen Curran at Mounds View High School in Arden Hills
  •    Barbara Melbye Janssen at Wayzata High School in Plymouth
  •    Miriam O'Brien at Marshall School in Duluth
  •    Judy Zewers at Coon Rapids High School in Coon Rapids
  •    Laura Welch at Irondale High School in New Brighton
  •    Deborah Winkelman at Northfield High School in Northfield
  •    Rosemarie Hogan at Apple Valley High School in Apple Valley
  •    Gretchen Ortenzio at Minnetonka High School in Minnetonka
  •    Cheryl Wason at Farmington High School in Farmington.
_______________________


Pictured here are colleagues Isolde Mueller and Shawn Jarvis from SCSU who organized the administration of the oral and written national exams, and Lisa Ohm, German Professor and Chair of MCL for Saint Ben's and Saint John's who helped host the event.  Thank you all for a most wonderful event!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Justin Bork and Maren Gotchnik Completing Year in Berlin and Osnabruck on Prestigious DAAD Fellowships

Justin Bork and Maren Gotchnik Completing Year in Berlin and Osnabruck on Prestigious DAAD Fellowships


Here is a message from Marin: Dear Friends in German! From August - September I took German language courses, where I spoke only German and I met so many people from so many countries I never thought I would meet someone from!  Fall term I took business-type classes. Currently I am doing an internship in Osnabrück with a company called Felix Schoeller. They produce and print paper. They are a fairly large international company and I am working in the Marketing department. I have been here for almost two months now and it is going quite well. My daily tasks are in English and in German. I have also had sometime to travel a bit, in February I went to Egypt! That was probably the highlight of my year so far! My internship ends in July and I hope to be home around the beginning of August. Looking forward to being back on campus!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Ralph Neumayer from Austria Will Join us Next Year as Fulbright Scholar and Teaching Assistant


   My name is Ralph Neumayer and I am currently in my seventh semester of my studies and teacher training at the University of Vienna.  I would describe myself as a self-confident, flexible, dependable, and initiative person with facility as a motivating character. I think I can further describe myself as a communicative person who establishes contacts quickly and likes to communicate with others and pass on my knowledge. Further, I can be characterized as an outgoing character who displays no shyness or fear of public appearances. Thanks to this feature of my personality, I already gained experience as presenter, singer and soloist at numerous school concerts during my high-school days. The absolute highlight (and embarrassment), however, was my participation in the casting show “Starmania”, as a 16-year old.
   My passion for music stems from my childhood days when my great-grandmother used to sing with me everyday, while I spent time with her, since my parents were at work. Thus I also decided to attend a high school with a specialization in musical theory and practice. The school’s production and performance of musicals (Hair, Grease, West Side Story, Carmina Burana, etc.) gave us pupils a chance to show our music skills in public. Today, I still enjoy it very much to play my acoustic or electronic guitar and to jam with other friends, whenever I feel exhausted from workday and need to recharge my batteries.
   When I am not studying for university or playing my guitar, I probably can be found near a soccer ground. Since I am the son of a very successful soccer player and Austrian Soccer Cup winner, it is not overly surprising that I am playing soccer myself. In this context, I have to mention, however, that I am not as serious about soccer as my father once was, but regard it more or less as a pleasant leisure time activity. Besides all that, I also like to participate in football drills together with my friends.
   Already during my days in elementary school I discovered a fondness for books. At that time Thomas Brezina was probably most gratified by that fact, since I read more than one hundred of his books between the age of six and twelve and therefore provided him with substantial income during that time span. Even after I had quit reading stories about the “Knickerbocker-Bande”, my passion for books and literature remained and was fostered by my German and English teachers during my high-school days. Therefore selecting a subject to study was also a rather easy decision. However, while I really enjoyed studying English, German did not meet my expectations, since my studies in German consisted of Middle High German grammar and the essential aspects concerning bibliographic citations. For this reason, I changed my second major from German to History after one semester – a decision which I have not repented until today.
    For me studying history is a bit like reading a huge piece of literature which, however, has really happened. I really enjoy to investigate evidence from the perspective of various key players of the past and to reflect about why people thought and acted as they did. In addition my special areas of interest (American history and cultural studies) have even enabled me to establish a connection between my two majors.
   I believe that apart from the qualification, skills and competencies I have acquired during my teacher training, my passion for the United States and my attitude of being absolutely determined to achieve my goal of studying at an American college or university make me a suitable candidate for the position of FLTA. Whenever I read a text passage somehow connected to the United States or whenever I watch a College Football or NFL game on Saturdays or Sundays, I suddenly have an irresistible urge to pack my bags and fly to America. Therefore I hope that my application will be accepted and that this time next year I will find myself as a German teaching assistant in the United States of America.

Ralph Neumayer

German Students and Teachers from Offenburg, a Town on the German-French Border, Visit CSB/SJU


Students here had a chance to make friends and talk about their lives with their German counterparts.




On Wednesday, April 14th, 14 high school students and two chaperones from the city of Offenburg in Germany spent a day at Saint John’s University. Our Fulbright teaching assistant Andreas Raab from Austria welcomed the group and took care of them throughout their visit. In the morning the students explored Saint John’s arboretum and Tom Kroll, our land manager and arboretum director, offered them a guided tour. Afterwards the group had the chance to attend a German class taught by Prof. Mark Thamert. For our German students here this was a great opportunity to make friends and talk about their lives with their German counterparts. Other highlights of their visit included Saint John’s Abbey Church, Clemens Stadium and the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library. Our German guests were particularly impressed by the magnificent Saint John’s Bible. At the end of their stay everyone agreed that this was a “unique visit to a uniquely beautiful campus”.


Friday, April 9, 2010

Sam Lauer Loves Teaching in Austria as Fulbright Teaching Assistant

Note:  Sam enjoyed his first year teaching in Austria, he decided to continue on for a second year.  Here are his impressions and greetings to our students and faculty.
    
 Hello St. John's German Department!

I hope some of you consider applying for the Fulbright Teaching position in Austria your senior year!  I have been teaching English lessons in a couple of small towns here in Austria for a year and a half now, and it has been a great experience for me. 


I live in Köflach, which is a small town of approximately 10,000 people in Styria. Köflach is a town that seems to be going through a transition right now; the coal mines that ran the area's economy were closed down a few years ago, and this has had a huge impact. Many towns around here are shrinking, and economic focuses are changing; Köflach is trying to change its image from a coal-mining town to a tourist destination. Fortunately, there are a few attractions. Köflach is near a few small ski-areas (some of which still have some snow, but not enough for any actual skiing anymore). It is also near the Lipizzaner stud farm in Piber, which breeds horses for the Spanish Riding School in Vienna.

As I mentioned, I have been helping with the English lessons in a couple of different schools. One of my schools is a Gymnasium, which is similar to a high school in the United States and focuses on preparing students for university. The other two schools are a bit more difficult to explain. Both are kind of like technical schools that focus on a particular field (catering and business, respectively). Students in these schools attend for an additional year before taking the Matura, after which they can either find a job in the field that their school focused on, or attend university. I have enjoyed working in all three of these schools. The teachers have been very helpful in coming up with suggestions for lessons and most of the students have been fun and easy to deal with.

Of course, I don't spend all of my time in my schools. I have managed to get myself involved in a couple of the local groups: specifically, the Judo and the Gymnastics clubs. I had no experience with either of these activities before coming to Austria, and they have both given me many opportunities to learn something new and to practice my German (but in a much more colloquial way - the Styrian accent is fun!!). 

Alles Gute!
Sam Lauer '08

Tim Marznik, Writing from Dresden, Coming to CSB/SJU in the Fall!

Note:  Tim is an amazing musician who arranged with us to do his first year of college in Germany. As a sophomore, Tim will bring his many talents and a truly unique view of German culture to our campuses.  Welcome Tim! 
Dear Father Mark,
       Thank you for your email. I am having a great, educational time at the Kreuzgymnasium here in Dresden, Germany. We are currently on Osterferien, so I have some time to enjoy the city and spend time with friends on the Elbe.
       My favorite class is the Musik Leistungskurs. It's quite fitting to learn music history in the language of so many great composers. I have also had to learn all the music terminology in German, which has reinforced the music theory that I've previously had in the English language.
       In our German course, we are currently reading and discussing "Die Verwandlung" by Franz Kafka, and will be visiting the Kafka museum in Prague next weekend. Being in east Germany has also been very interesting for me this year; I am not far from Leipzig, Prague and Berlin, and I will surely miss being so close to all the history here. All of our teachers have great stories from "back in the DDR", which I wouldn't have been exposed to in the west. As far as my location in Dresden is concerned, my year has exceeded my expectations thus far. I am also quite impressed with the Gymnasium system, and that one can start narrowing down subjects with two Leistungkurse starting in the 11th grade. I feel that this would help focus many students in American high schools, and this difference is certainly reflected in the maturity of the students I have met here in Dresden.
       Musically, I have been exposed to Bach's Johannespassion and the Weinachtsoratorium, two traditions that everyone in Dresden attends. I also have played a show live with a friend here, although there isn't much of a new music scene in east Germany, at least in comparison to back home. Not surprisingly, the young people here are more interested in the latest music from the USA and England.
       Thank you very much for your German blog link. I am very impressed with all the scholarships and what the recipients had to say. I am excited to meet you and spend some time analyzing my experiences this year as a student at St. Johns. I hope you had a nice Easter and look forward to seeing you in the new school year!
       Grüße aus Dresden,
       Tim Marznik

Monday, April 5, 2010

Three Month Internship in Germany for Graduates

From the German Embassy in Washington DC: 

Dear student or recent graduate,
    Are you interested in politics? Would you like to gain first-hand experience of parliamentary work in Germany? In that case, the International Parliamentary Scholarship (IPS) invites you to take part in an exciting opportunity.
     Every Year, IPS enables 120 young college graduates from 28 countries to get to know the German parliamentary system through a five month stay in Germany (March 1 -- July 31). The Program includes an internship in the office of a Member of the German Bundestag, our parliament.
     Combined with a supplementary academic program organized by Berlin's three major universities and the fun of being together with people from other nations, a unique experience awaits you in the exciting German capital.

What the Bundestag expects of you:
* Interest in politics
* Excellent knowledge of German
* University degree (B.A., B.S.)
* U.S. citizenship
* Born after March 1, 1981

What you can expect:
* Monthly grant of € 450.00
* Free accommodation
* Health, accident, and liability insurance
* Reimbursement of your travel expenses to and from Berlin

     For more information about the admission requirements, the scholarship details, and the application procedure, please visit the following websites:

Bundestag homepage:
www.bundestag.de/ips

Germany Embassy homepage:
http://www.germany.info/Vertretung/usa/en/__PR/K__Wash/2010/02/04__IPS__Program__PR,archiveCtx=1996602.html




Application details may be found online at:
http://www.bundestag.de/htdocs_e/bundestag/international/exchange/ips/index.html

*******The application deadline is **June********

We look forward to receive your application!
Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany
Cultural Affairs Department
IPS Committee
4645 Reservoir Road NW
Washington, DC 20007

Chris Pignato Awarded the Otmar Drekonja Scholarship for German Studies

Dear Chris,
It is our great pleasure to inform you, on behalf of the German Studies Program, that you have been selected as the top recipient for the Otmar Drekonja German Cultural Studies Scholarship for the 2009-2010 academic year. The Financial Aid office at SJU will be in contact with you about payment of the award.

The German Studies faculty wish to congratulate you on this award and on your accomplishments. We encourage you to add to your c.v.’s list of academic honors that you are a recipient of the 2010-2011 Otmar Drekonja German Cultural Studies Scholarship. We wish you the best of luck with your German studies and future endeavors with the German language and culture.

We are proud of you!
German Studies Faculty

In front of the Abbey Bell banner, Chris is at the base of the pyramid on the right.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Serving and Surviving the Nazis

Please join us for a presentation by Ursula Mahlendorf and Maria Segal, authors whose works convey two extremely different experiences of childhood leading up to and during World War II.


Stories of Serving and Surviving the Nazis
A dialogue between Ursula Mahlendorf and Maria Segal
Thursday, April 22  -- 4:15-5:30 pm
Gorecki 204B, CSB


Maria Segal (pictured left), author of Maria’s Story: Childhood Memories of the Holocaust, is a docent for the Portraits of Survival Exhibit and one of the 37 Santa Barbara Holocaust survivors profiled in the permanent exhibit. She was a small child when the Nazis invaded her home country of Poland in 1939.

Ursula Mahlendorf (pictured right), author of The Shame of Survival: Working Through a Nazi Childhood, is professor emerita of German at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she also served as associate dean of the College of Letters and Science. She was born in Silesia, which became part of Poland after 1945.

Co-sponsored by the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning, the Global Awareness Lecture Series, the Department of Modern and Classical Languages

For more information, contact Lisa Ohm. lohm@csbsju.edu

Monday, March 29, 2010

Six Seniors Submit Successful Senior Project Proposals

Supporting a Myth: The Effect of Vienna’s Post-World War II Monuments on Austrian Identity, 1945-1955.    TERESA M. WALCH (Mark Thamert, OSB, PhD, Modern and Classical Languages).
Although many Austrians participated in the crimes of the third Reich, Austria was labeled as the first victim of German aggression in the Allied Moscow Declaration of 1943. In order to conform to this victim myth, postwar Austrian political elites created and used a distinct, non-German identity to serve their own political agendas. Provincial and locally-sponsored Austrian memorials disputed the official memory that was supported and sustained by politically-sponsored monuments in Vienna during the initial postwar decade. This study delves into Austria’s post-World War II monument culture, specifically focusing on Vienna’s monuments and memorials, and it analyzes Austrian political elites’ utilization of these sites of memory to support the official postwar Austrian identity.

Music as Political Tool: The Role of Music as Propaganda in Nazi Germany (1933-1945).   CHRISTEN BECKSTRAND (Dr. Andreas Kiryakakis, Modern and Classical Languages).

The Third Reich (1933-1945) drew upon many aspects of German nationalism to solidify its control, including German musical culture, which played an important role in the regime's overall propaganda effort. Exploiting the Germanic musical culture, the Nazi party won “acceptance by creating the proper emotional atmosphere,” wherein the acceptance of the Nazi party and Nazi ideals was simple and natural for the German public (Moller, 44). The Third Reich worked to promote the purity of German culture and the credibility of the Nazi Party by exalting the past Germanic (Aryan) musical greats, censoring new musical material, and excluding Jews from the musical scene. As a musical, emotional, and political movement, the Third Reich successfully infiltrated the German Volk through a popular vein: the love and appreciation for Germany’s composers and the tradition of German dominance in the musical movement.

Immigration and the German School System: a Freirean Perspective.
MATTHEW T. BECK (Dr. Anna Lisa Ohm, Modern and Classical Languages).
During the economic boom of the 1950's, Germany welcomed guest workers from other countries to help rebuild its economy. Since then, the children of many of these immigrants have struggled to succeed in school. In order to improve their situation, I suggest that a combination of Paulo Freire's critical pedagogy, multicultural education, and collaborative dialog may help immigrant children acquire both the language skills and the cultural knowledge necessary for academic success. In this project I draw upon theories of second language acquisition; works by educational theorists from Germany, America, and Canada; and the experiences of German educators.



The Berlin airlift: the start of the US-German relationship.  GREG SANDQUIST (Dr. Anna Lisa Ohm, Modern and Classical Languages).
From June 1948 until 1949, the city of West Berlin suffered under the hands of the Soviet blockade of all Allied supply lines through the Soviet-occupied zone. The Berlin Airlift in the end was a success, but many Americans and Germans were extremely worried that it would fail in the beginning stages. During the 11 months of the Airlift, the US came to understand its previous enemy as a mutual partner and friend. After 50-60 years of almost being forgotten, interest in the Berlin Airlift exploded in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Anniversaries were being celebrated and the veterans who participated in one of America’s finest hours are passing on, but Americans are also seeking answers in a previous era, the era of the “Greatest Generation,” when the US found solutions instead of being the problem.


How Far is Too Far? A Comparison of Nazi Eugenic Movements during World War II with Today’s Developments in Modern Eugenics.   JAY M. RANFRANZ (Mark Thamert, OSB, Ph.D., Modern and Classical Languages).
Scientific breakthroughs in the field of genetics during the 21st century have greatly contributed to the science community and general public, but where could these technological advances lead? With new information about the role of genes in human development, classic eugenicists have turned to genetic engineering to manipulate the human genome in hopes of improving the human race. The problem is that even though the science behind this practice has changed, the ethical dilemmas have remained. Modern eugenicists argue that exterminating “bad” genes from the population will better humanity as a whole. This movement is eerily similar to the Nazi Party’s support of racial hygiene. Modern eugenics is morally indefensible based on its close resemblance to the Nazi eugenic movements of WWII, which has already been accepted as wrong. Science pushes the limits of what ethicists deem morally right or wrong, so the question is, How far is too far?



The Significance of the Word Volk [German People] from the Romantic Period to Today. D
AN SALAY (Dr. Anna Lisa Ohm, Modern and Classical Languages).
The words DEM DEUTSCHEN VOLK [To the German People] stand over the main entrance to the Reichstag building in Berlin. The interpretation of Volk has transformed since the time of the Romantics. The placement of these words on the Reichstag in 1916 stirred early debates about the true meaning of Volk for all Germans. The word Volk has undergone changes that carry both positive and negative connotations connected directly to the history of German politics and culture. Beginning in the Romantic period, and following through the Weimar Republic, the Third Reich, the Cold War, and up to today, Volk has gained no universally accepted definition regarding its proper usage for the modern day. Its presence on the Reichstag publicly presents the question of its meaning to this day. This unresolved question generates debate and remains a thorn in the side of Germany’s identity and its position in the world.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Phil Roye from Bavaria Loves Life at CSB/SJU

Phil is an avid member of the SJU Track team.

Dear faculty and students,  

My name is Phil Roye and I am an international student from Germany. The German Gymnasium I attended in Münsterschwarzach (between Munich and Frankfurt) was Benedictine and one of the faculty members knew a Benedictine high school, Woodside Priory School in California. I got the opportunity to study abroad for the second semester of my junior year. However, at the end of the school year, “Woodside” offered me a music and track scholarship for the senior year and I gladly accepted. Like every other high school senior, I applied to colleges and universities throughout the country and got accepted to Saint John’s University. Saint John’s was the one and only university I visited and liked from the very beginning. In the end, I ended up staying in Collegeville, MN and so far, I have fallen in love with community.  I feel very welcomed here. 


Monday, March 15, 2010

Professor Lisa Ohm Gives Faculty Forum Talk on Germany after the Fall of the Berlin Wall

Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall:
The painful space between shrugs and hugs in the collapsed GDR

Life in the GDR prior to the fall of the Wall in 1989 was outwardly a defense of socialism against capitalism, and inwardly an alternating current between the high political tension of a police state and the daily dullness of life in the GDR (German Democratic Republic, i.e., former East Germany). After 21 years, the initial euphoria following the dramatic fall of the Wall in Berlin soon deteriorated, and a new alternating current of recrimination and blame flowed between “Wessis” and “Ossis.” Within that highly charged atmosphere, the generations responded differently: the older with shrugs, the younger with hugs, and the middle generation, the one that had invested the most in the GDR, with guilt, anger, hurt, and pain. While some in the middle generation eventually accepted unification, others indulge in Ostalgie (nostalgia for the former East) or their lives remain suspended between past and present. Berlin, however, the former western exclave in the GDR, is blossoming once again. At this afternoon’s Friday Forum, Prof. Lisa Ohm (Modern & Classical Languages) will present her important and timely findings on life in the GDR in the post-1989 period.

Fulbright TA Andreas Raab to Give Talk to CSB/SJU Faculty

About Vienna’s Multi-Ethnical Identity

History and Influence of National Minorities & Ideas for Further Research

At this Friday Forum Andreas Raab, who is the current Fulbright German Language Teaching Assistant at CSB-SJU, explores the interrelation between immigration and urban identity from a historical perspective. Andreas argues that multi-ethnicity is a decisive factor of Viennese identity and gives numerous examples explaining how transnational migration shaped the city’s characteristics. In doing so, he will also include some background knowledge and information about Austrian (or rather Viennese) culture. To conclude, Andreas would like to introduce ideas for further research in this field, especially how to conduct a comparative study between Vienna and a US-American urban area.

Senior Matt Beck Gives Senior Presentation

Matt is has applied to be a Fulbright Scholar and Teaching Assistant in Germany or Austria in the fall. Here is Matt's senior thesis:

Immigration and the German School System: A Freirean Perspective (Immigration und das deutsche Schulsystem: Eine Freireanische Perspektive)

During the economic boom of the 1950's, Germany welcomed guest workers from other countries to help rebuild its economy. However, many politicians and educators assumed that these immigrants would eventually leave and thus created few accommodations for them in the school system. As a result, it has been difficult for immigrants to succeed within the school system, which limits higher education even for native Germans by tracking students after the fourth grade based on academic performance. In this project, I start with the premise that one needs language and cultural knowledge in order to be successful in any culture. I then show that because elementary school students who are immigrants lack these very skills, they often perform poorly and are tracked into the 'Hauptschule,' the academically least-demanding school in Germany. At the conclusion of their education, they begin low-paying jobs and find it difficult to provide a good education for their children. In order to improve the situation of immigrants in Germany, I suggest that a combination of Paulo Freire's critical pedagogy, multicultural education, and collaborative dialog may help elementary school students acquire both language and cultural knowledge. With these skills, students are more likely to be tracked into more rigorous schools. In addition, these methods empower immigrants by assuming that students are capable of improving their own lives through education. In this project, I draw upon theories of second language acquisition, works by educational theorists from Germany, America, and Canada, and the results of a questionnaire that I sent to elementary school teachers in Germany. The information and findings presented in this project have implications for anyone working with immigrants in an educational setting.

Good luck Matt!