Why Study German?

Over the centuries Germany and Austria have made significant contributions to world culture. This includes literature, music, the fine arts, architecture, philosophy, physics, film, sociology, critical theory and technology. Such names as Goethe, Kant, Hegel, Beethoven, Mozart, Heidegger, Wittgenstein, Freud, Thomas Mann, Günther Grass, Karl Marx, Albert Einstein, and Werner Herzog readily come to mind.

Within the span of sixty five years Germany has transformed its government from the totalitarian state of the Third Reich to a democracy, divided into two countries during the Cold War and reunited again in 1990 into an expanded and stable modern state. From its inception Germany has played a crucial role in the founding and formation of the European Union and continues to be one of the leaders in its expansion and development. Germany is also a major player in the global economy. It is the world’s leading exporter of merchandise, the fourth largest economy in the world and the strongest economy in Europe. It is not surprising; therefore, that German is the second most commonly used language on the internet.

Since the post-war years German society too has changed and adapted to modern standards, addressing and advancing women’s rights, gay rights as well as minority issues Women are not only well represented in the work force but also hold leadership positions in all appointed and elected political posts, including the highest elected office of Chancellor. In addition, Germany is making considerable progress in integrating its large immigrant population into mainstream society, adapting schools, the labor market and the legal system accordingly. In terms of environmental issues, the Federal Republic is committed to environmental protection and is becoming one of the leaders in the development of green technology. The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures offers a German Studies minor, as well as a combined major with Economics. Students have the opportunity to improve their language and cultural skills in the St. Lawrence Vienna program or by directly enrolling at a German or Austrian university through St. Lawrence’s affiliation with ISEP.

In addition to its language, literature and culture courses taught in German, the program also regularly offers courses in German culture in English translation in order to attract students from different disciplines