Sunday, April 25, 2010

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

Take a peek at our wonderful students!


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:

Germany Embassy homepage:,archiveCtx=1996602.html

Application details may be found online at:

*******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.