About their experiences studying German
Kevin: "Learning German at SSU gave me a great perspective and opened countless doors to great opportunities in the German speaking world. Germany, Austria and Switzerland are dynamic countries, full of professional opportunities. After graduating from SSU with a BA in History and a minor in German, I worked in Germany as an English instructor, after which I was employed by an internationally active industrial technology firm based in Switzerland, where I acted as a liaison between the United States and Switzerland. I am now about to begin an MA program in Europe which will certainly continue to open further doors."
Marcell: "Gaining international experience on today's global playground is critical and having studied German I had no idea that it was just the beginning of what was to become an incredible journey! When I started first-semester German at SSU I could not have imagined my life right now. A German government scholarship (Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange) enabled me to study and work for one year in Munich. After that wonderful experience I continued my studies at SSU. BUT: After graduation I returned to Germany and now reside in the coolest city ever, in Berlin! My thanks to SSU and its German Program for unlocking the door to an unbelievable dream. I have since become incredibly fluent in German, have made the coolest of friends and developed a career with great perspectives in a fast-paced international company."
Anne: "My decision to learn German has been one of the best decisions I have made in my life. I studied abroad for one year in Tübingen/Germany where I embraced a new culture and way of life.
Although it was often challenging, being immersed in the culture greatly improved my comprehension of the German language. Through my experience abroad, I have gained a greater sense of individuality and sense of self. Adopting a new culture and language has broadened my perspective of the world and has encouraged me to continue to explore and travel in other countries. I now have close friends across the globe and have gained a deeper intercultural understanding and global perspective."
Joyna: "That's me in the middle with my friends at the "Heidelberg Herbst"-Festival! I studied in Heidelberg for one year through Sonoma State's exchange program. I had studied German for two years at SSU, and had some amazing teachers, especially Michaela, who enthusiastically supported the idea of studying abroad. I wanted to gain a new perspective and experience what it would be like to live in another culture. Additionally, my mother is German, and I was curious to learn more about her culture and how she grew up. The experience of studying abroad has been life-changing. Since then, I graduated from SSU with an International Business degree, and went on to pursue a Masters degree in International Education--which focused on being a study abroad adviser! I've taught English in Vienna as a Fulbright Scholar, and now work at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco in their International Office. All of these decisions have occurred through the original experience of studying abroad; I doubt I would have followed this path if I had not studied abroad. The best part is that I have made lifelong friends in the process, and have a chance to visit them all over the world!"
Natalye (with Ampelmännchen in Berlin): "I first started learning German while working on my master's degree at SSU. Although I was already part of the English Department, everyone in the German Program warmly welcomed me to their fold. Through this, I found that it became much easier to stay motivated to learn German. I attended the weekly 'Stammtisch' to practice speaking with other German students, and went on extra credit outings to learn more about the language and culture. I also joined the German club, and we attended events such as the Cotati Oktoberfest and the 'Berlin and Beyond German Film Festival' in San Francisco. While I was at SSU, we also had a FLTA (Fulbright Language Teaching Assistant) from Germany who was a wonderful combination of teacher and peer. All of these things combined were factors that kept me interested in the language and made it fun! After graduation I moved to Berlin, where I continued with German instruction. Naturally, I speak better German now, but my time at SSU helped prepare me for functioning day-to-day in German society. I also learned an important lesson that is especially applicable for study abroad students, and that is that you only learn as much German as you are willing to learn. The best way to improve is to immerse yourself in the culture and insist on speaking German as often as possible. It's difficult at first, but it gets easier over time. Now I am engaged to a German man and we plan to live in his hometown of Berlin indefinitely. Although life abroad is not for everyone, I took a gamble and discovered that it was right for me. I didn't have any expectations when I started to learn German but the language has opened doors and provided me with opportunities that I could never have imagined!"
Kevin: "Learning German gave me a whole new perspective on the world while also developing skills that I use every day. While working on my German minor, I had the opportunity to study in Germany, meet new people in Kaffeestunde and Gemütlichkeit (our Coffee-Hour and German Club at SSU), help organize a Sprachfest (Language Festival) and the German Film Series. The photo shows me, on the left, having fun at one of our Language Festivals! SSU's German Program may be small, but it is also a tight-knit group in which I developed long-lasting friendships and had many great times. Since graduating from SSU, I studied law in San Diego where I earned my Juris Doctor degree and a Certificate in Global Legal Studies, and was recently admitted to the California State Bar."
Jessica: "Studying abroad was the most challenging yet rewarding experience I've ever had! Deciding to go to Germany for a year was a tough decision but being there and realizing what you're capable of is the best feeling.
You'll run into things everyday that are different from home but you accept and enjoy them and by the time you leave you realize that you've adapted to a new culture and grown in an incredible way. Studying abroad is one of those experiences that once you achieve it, you can't imagine your life without it. Studying German was the key to this unique experience!"
Grant: "Taking German at SSU was the best choice I've made in my life! It enabled me to realize my dream of studying abroad in Germany! I very much enjoyed studying German at SSU, because it is such a wonderful program that has a great community of language students who are all interested in learning the language and learning about Germany. I made good friends in the program, and the German Program offered many cool and special events. The best part, though, was going to Germany for one year, and the program prepared me well. I changed and developed so rapidly in such a short period of time, that I could barely recognize the person that came back to to the States to finish his degree. After coming back to SSU, I felt as if I had been exiled, but I have since returned to study American literature at the University of Tübingen! I am very interested in discovering the differences between German and English, and studying "Amerikanistik" from the other side--in Germany. I am so happy to pursue my life here in beautiful Tübingen in Southern Germany with my German friends that I found during my time of study abroad. Come to Germany and let me buy you a coffee!"