Skip to main content

2014/15 MAJORS & MINORS

German Majors

Shyam Anand

Shyam Anand

WCAS: Economics and German

When I came to Northwestern, I didn't intend on taking a language course as I had already completed my requirements. There was no real need for me to take German. I simply took it because I wanted to study abroad in Switzerland (which I never did). Overall, I found the German program quite interesting and engaging with the Hamburg program being my personal highpoint. In the future I would like to move to Berlin to pursue my music career. To this end my German degree is very useful.

Brenna Ledvora

Brenna Ledvora

SESP: Social Policy and German

I I have studied German for eight years, including four years as a German major at Northwestern University. Studying German has given me many amazing opportunities, including traveling to Germany three times with grants from the Office of Undergraduate Research. Through my classes at Northwestern and my experiences abroad, I have been able to truly learn about and experience different aspects of German culture. The incredible support of the faculty of the German Department has allowed me to thrive in my studies. I would particularly like to thank Franziska Lys, who supported me in two independent German research projects, including my senior honors thesis, for which I collected data in Germany over the summer, and Ingrid Zeller, the advisor for the German Undergraduate Advisory Board, of which I have been a member for the past three years. In large part due to my undergraduate experiences with the German Department, I have been awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to teach English in Germany after graduation. I plan to continue improving my German next year in Niedersachsen, and I hope to continue using German throughout the rest of my professional career.

Andrew Rowberg

Andrew Rowberg

MEAS: MS/Engineering and German

I arrived at Northwestern in Fall 2011 having studied German for four years in high school, which included receiving a score of 5 on the AP German exam. Not wanting to waste my language skills, I enrolled in Professor Zeller's architecture course in my first quarter, and ultimately I would end up taking German classes in all but one of my quarters at Northwestern. I also earned an additional German credit through a nanotechnology-centered study abroad program in Munich, which ended up being just enough to earn a German major. In the process, I have studied topics including philosophy, economics, and literature, to which I would not otherwise have had exposure in my engineering curriculum. In addition to my studies within the department, I have participated in the German Undergraduate Advisory Board (GUAB) for the past three years, which has allowed me to participate in activities promoting German throughout campus and in Chicago. I plan to spend next year in Munich conducting solar energy research under a Fulbright grant, and after earning a Ph.D. in Materials Science from the University of California, Santa Barbara, I may very well find myself back in Germany working for a company interested in alternative energy solutions.

Zach Smetana

Zach Smetana

WCAS: Economics and German

Every class I took had a professor that was both engaging and GENUINELY interested in the success of their students, and for me, this was something new at Northwestern. Coming to Northwestern, I honestly had minimal intentions of studying any language, but due to the foreign language requirement, I was "forced" to take German 102-2 and 102-3 my freshman year. I was lucky to take these classes with Professor Voelkner and Zeller. These two quarters of German were two of my most enjoyable classes at Northwestern, and I decided to continue my German classes the following year. Originally, I was taking German classes in order to fulfill WCAS distribution requirements, but this developed much further extremely quickly. Being an Econ major as well as a Math minor, this is something that you don't see nearly as frequently: being able to take smaller classes with professors who are entirely invested in the success of their students was refreshing for me. Now, as a graduating senior, my "minimal" interest in pursing the study of a language has changed to receiving a major in German, working for the Department of German, and knowing every single professor in the department. I could not be happier with my decision. After graduating, I am working at Accenture in Chicago, and plan to do so for a couple of years. Thereafter, I would ideally like to work in Germany or possibly attend graduate school in Germany in order to further my language skills, but also obtain international business experience. I am excited about what these last few years have given me, but I am even more excited to see where the next few years take me!

David Smith

David Smith

WCAS: English and German

When I arrived at Northwestern I knew I didn't want to lose the few years of German I had picked up in high school, but never did I imagine that speaking and even thinking in the language would soon become part of my everyday life! As someone with too many exhausting literature essays to write, I enjoyed going to language courses because taking time each day to think in German became a way to refresh my brain, to work in another register for a while. But after taking a few mid-level German literature courses, I couldn't wait to gain enough vocabulary to read Goethe and Schiller and Hölderlin! So that I might fulfill this goal, Johannes (or Professor Paluch, if we're being formal) recommended a year of study in Munich, which became the highlight of my Northwestern experience. It was amazing to get the German perspective on events such as the NSA phone-tapping scandal, the EU economic crisis, and the World Cup. All these things forced me to confront and revise my own perspectives, and this confrontation has sparked my relatively newfound interest in comparative literature. I've been accepted by the USTA Program for the 2015-2016 to teach English in Austria, but beyond that I'm interested in academic publishing and maybe graduate school.

Charlie Zaharoff

Charlie Zaharoff

MEDILL: Journalism and German

The German Department at Northwestern is an intimate and powerful little network. I am proud to be a part of it, and I owe a lot to it. German has become an integral part of my life. Next year, I will live in Berlin where I will conduct independent research on the history of jazz music as a DAAD study scholarship recipient.

German Minors

Evelyne Atwater

Evelyne Atwater

WCAS: Legal Studies/Political Science, German Minor

I really appreciated the small class sizes, emphasis on conversational skills, and overall course materials. I have had such a positive experience with this department and I am incredibly grateful for the assistance and opportunities my professors have offered. I had a terrible experience taking German online in high school and came to Northwestern very excited to learn German in a classroom setting. My experience has been wonderful. Language has never come easily to me, and even though I loved learning it, there were times when I considered giving up on German. But whenever I was struggling, a professor was always there to help me through my challenges and reignite my interest in the language. These professors and this department is so friendly, encouraging, and supportive. They helped me get to Germany twice, once as a study abroad student and now as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant. My two years of studies more than prepared me for Freiburg, which allowed me to integrate quite well. I look forward to doing the same in Germany next year!

Linnea Heichelheim

Linnea Heichelheim

MUSIC: Music Education, Minor in German

I studied German because my relatives in Germany speak little English. I wanted to be able to communicate with them and maintain the relationship between the American and the German cousins. I am glad that I got to learn about German culture and have discussions about topics in a variety of fields. As an educator, I hope my language skills will help me communicate with students. One of the schools in which I will be student teaching, has a large refugee population, with families that lived briefly in Germany before continuing on to the states. While I am not certain how often my language skills will be needed, I hope they will aide in communicating with students and families. The German department has been incredibly supportive of my language learning and in expanding my knowledge of global issues. I have learned much about people and have developed the ability to think more critically about my own community, culture, and understanding of the world.

Anna Livadary

Anna Livadary

WCAS: Art History, Minor in Business German

One of the primary reasons I chose to minor in German Business as a German native speaker is because I never had a stable school path prior to Northwestern. I went to German, British, and American schools throughout my childhood, and even did home-schooling for a period while traveling for tennis tournaments. Therefore, I felt like I missed out on a lot of school material that was taught in German schools, and I wanted to make up for it. I do not regret my decisions in any way. I developed the sentiment that German Business courses would be some of the most helpful that I could take at Northwestern. As I approach completion of this minor, I realize how much I have learned, and how much enjoyment I have derived from Prof. Voelkner's class structure as well! I hope to apply the skills I have learned and knowledge I have gained by working for a German company in the US, and continuing to identify cultural differences in order to potentially diffuse or avoid conflicts in the business world.

Ben Meline

Ben Meline

MEAS: Computer Engineering, Minor in German

I really enjoyed studying foreign languages in grade school and hoped to continue improving my language skills at Northwestern. I decided to try a few German courses in my first year and loved the intellectually challenging classes and discussion-based environments of the courses. Learning German exercised a different part of my mind than many of my other technical classes. The business German classes, architecture class and the Hamburg class I took not only strengthened my German skills, but also provided me with new cultural knowledge and perspectives. In the future I hope to build upon my foreign language skills through international travel and work. I feel that my experience as a German minor at Northwestern will help me communicate and work with people of different cultural backgrounds.

Joseph Seeley

Joseph Seeley

WCAS: Economics, Minor in Business German

I chose German in high school because I was aware of the strength of the German economy. I figured that it would help me set myself apart from my fellow students who had chosen to study more common languages. I selected the Business German minor due to my interest in international business in general, plus the opportunities that would come with knowing the language of the country leading the European economic recovery. My employer following graduation is based in Munich, but I will be working almost entirely within the United States. I look forward to using my German skills as a way of getting to better know my German, Austrian, and Swiss managers, but I am fairly certain English will be the language that I use day to day. I found the German Department here at Northwestern to have (along the Economics Department) the most capable and engaged educators. The variety of topics offered in the department allowed me to really dig deeply into subjects, like architecture, economics, and politics, that are personally important to me while still getting broader exposure to German language and culture.

 Jason Smullen

Jason Smullen

WCAS: History/Economics, Minor in German Studies

I leave Northwestern wishing I had spent more time with this wonderful department. My core interests have always been in European history, and my interests developed into a now-completed thesis about German colonization in Eastern Europe. In my third year, I finally began the firstyear sequence and began planning how the German language would fit into my academic research. The instruction I received helped me to handle the linguistic obstacles while researching and writing my thesis throughout my senior year. I am unsure whether a PhD in history, a career in business, or both is in my future. However, the faculty in the German department prepared me to reach whichever goal I develop. In only two years, I depart Northwestern with the necessary language skills and experiences to continue academic research in German history and to foster my career when I begin working at Daimler AG after graduation. More importantly, I enjoyed my final years at Northwestern involved in a department with fantastic instruction, camaraderie, and mentorship that will be invaluable in the future.

Terry Spinelli

Terry Spinelli

WCAS: History/Music, Minor in German

Learning German has been a highlight of the past five years. It meshes naturally with my interests in classical music and European history, but beyond its rational appeal, I find it incredibly fun! I have wanted to learn German ever since my youth orchestra traveled to Germany as part of a European tour, and I finally began studying German in my second year at Northwestern. The following summer, I took language classes at German universities and then stayed abroad for the fall semester. I love the way smaller words come together, sometimes in unexpected ways, to form new words. The professors in the German department have also been instrumental in making my German classes such a great experience- they are wonderful educators who teach small, interesting classes, and they take a personal interest in the well-being of their students. It is due to their encouragement and support that I will be living in Germany next year, serving as an English Teaching Assistant with the Fulbright Program. I can't wait to find out where I will be teaching, and to begin this journey -- as John Paluch would say, "Ein Jahr ist besser als ein Semester!" I plan to continue working on my language skills for life, since there is a wealth of German literature and philosophy to explore.

Back to top