Study Abroad Spotlight: Intermediate German in Germany

Intermediate German in Germany: Travel to Essen

Essen Zeche Zollverein
Escalator at the Zeche Zollverein, Essen. Photo credit: James Skidmore

Institutional Association: University of Manitoba

Director: Karin James

Program Description: This Intermediate German Summer Travel Course (6-credit-hours) is offered during a period of 5 weeks in May/June at the University of Duisburg-Essen (Essen Campus). Daily 3-hour lessons are complemented by excursions and opportunities to discover the Ruhr area.

How does this program benefit students? This course offers the opportunity to learn, practice and apply the language in a German-speaking environment while acquiring 6 credit hours in our German program. An Intermediate German travel course is part of our regular course offering, however, 2020 was going to be the first year we planned to offer this program with Essen and the Ruhr area as our destination. 

What have students enjoyed most about the program? An enthusiastic group of students was enrolled in the program and looking forward to an intensive course in an immersive setting with project-based assignments and fun excursions. They were already engaged in planning their spare time together and anticipated exploring Germany while constantly learning, both on a conscious and a subconscious level.

What's your favourite part of this program?  My favourite part of this program was forging a connection with the International Office at the University of Essen. I enjoyed planning the projects for classes as well as the informal portion, such as the additional optional weekend excursion to Berlin that all students wanted to go on, and the anticipation of watching my students’ accelerated learning in this immersive setting.

A lot of universities in Canada are promoting interdisciplinary learning. In what ways does your program support that goal? A language course is always implicitly interdisciplinary because students fundamentally align a new language with their other interests as well as their present and future goals. This is an aspect that we continue to emphasize when we promote our language classes and something that comes to the forefront even more during an intensive course. Generally, students from a wide variety of disciplines come together in language learning which provides a natural interdisciplinary setting.

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