Laura Bretz

Joint MA in Intercultural German Studies
Laura Bretz

Where and what did you study before you came to Germanic and Slavic Studies at the University of Waterloo?

I did my undergrad at the University of Heidelberg where I first studied English and philosophy to become a teacher, but later switched to English studies and German in cultural comparison.

What are your interests in German Studies?

I’m a linguist through and through and am most interested in the field of sociolinguistics. I’m especially fascinated by the topics of language ideology and how power is maintained and achieved through language use. My preferred approach thereby is a critical discourse analysis that relies heavily on close text readings of media content like Newspapers, TV News, Twitter Tweets, Facebook posts etc.

Why did you choose the University of Waterloo?

I have loved living abroad ever since I went to India and Ireland, and I really enjoyed my module on intercultural communication during my time in Heidelberg and wanted to incorporate this in my master’s degree. When I saw that the University of Mannheim offered a joined degree with the University of Waterloo, which entails a 1-year stay in Canada, I knew I had to apply for this opportunity.

Do you already know what you want to write your thesis on?

It is still a while to go for me as I’m taking a gap semester to do some internships in order to get some first hand job experience, but I know that I’m using methodology and theory from both critical and non-critical discourse analysis. I am thinking of investigating right-wing groups’ social media output in regards to the covid pandemic as well as established channels of political parties output but I do not have an actual thesis question yet. I also do not exclude the opportunity of writing my thesis in relation to my internships as I have the option of writing it with the company I will be working for; so should any interesting question pop up in the next few months I might well write it on marketing communication.

As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I think I never really had that one idea as a kid but I have always been very creative in my way of thinking and my hobbies so I came up with a lot of things from cook, to seamstress, to zoo owner (I’m still planning on a little small scale zoo in my home once I have the means to provide a good life for any of my future pets), to artist.

What is a fun fact about you?

I was obsessed with the Game of Thrones series and now with the prequel House of the Dragon and I have watched about every YouTube documentary, commentary and analysis there is but have not read anything past the first book.