Where and what did you study before you came to Germanic and Slavic Studies at University of Waterloo?
I studied Diplom-Germanistik at the Otto-Friedrich-Universität in Bamberg focusing on contemporary German literature and Literaturvermittlung (e.g. literature mediation in publishing houses, theatres, cultural institutions and so on). I also got a Master’s degree in German studies from the University of Waterloo during my exchange year there.
What are your interests in German Studies?
I am mainly interested in contemporary literature and cultural studies. My main research areas are
transnational literature and disease in literature. However, I am also interested in language teaching, second language acquisition and German as a second language.
Why did you choose University of Waterloo?
The Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg had an exchange program with UW, and when a friend of mine got accepted to the Master’s program, I got interested in it as well. I then went to an information session held by Dr. Barbara Schmenk and realized that I really wanted to go to Canada. Unfortunately I had just started university so I had to wait for a few more terms but eventually ended up going to UW – and liked it so much that I came back for a Ph.D.
Why did you choose this program?
I really enjoyed my time at UW and the atmosphere in the department that is why I decided to come back to do a Ph.D. I am in a cotutelle program which allows me to study at UW and the University of Mannheim – this gives me the opportunity to study in both systems. I also like that Ph.D. students at UW have to teach German language and culture courses. Through this we gain both teaching experience and an awareness of our own language and culture.
Do you already know what you want to write your thesis on?
The working title of my thesis is “Subversion or (Re-)affirmation: The Portrayal of Immigrants and Migration Experience in the contemporary transnational Adoleszenzroman”. I am looking at novels that show adolescent protagonists that attempt to achieve a certain kind of agency in transnational contexts but are defined by discourses of nation, ethnicity, gender and institutional power.
As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I always wanted to be an author, but then I started to realize that I am better at writing about literature than actually writing literature.
What is something people wouldn’t guess about you?
I have played the trombone for 18 years and played in various bands and orchestras.