Honors Enrichment Award: Rediscovering a Passion for the German Language

The past month and a half of learning German has been enlightening for me. It has provided me with an experience I thought I had left behind in high school. For the most part, my time has been spent on refreshing my memory from high school. I often refer back to my old high school notes and vocabulary lists as I complete daily tasks, such as listening to the daily videos on the Deustche Welle, and my occasional reading of German short stories. The materials I am using, while basic, are certainly helpful. As things are going right now, I will hopefully finish at least one German novella by the end of July, and a third before school starts again in August.

To date, the hardest part about learning the language has been trying to force myself not to translate everything into English in my head as I read it. I have rebel against the instinct to revert to my native language. The challenge has proven to be fun instead of frustrating, as I expected.

However, as fantastic as this experience has been, my favorite part has been my unexpected reconnection with my old high school German teacher. I reached out to him in early June for recommendations on materials and online resources. I always looked up to him, but I never got a chance to express the passion for the language he had passed on to me. Recently, I’ve been talking to him more, and he’s been a great help in finding new material. He has also helped me understand several German grammar points that I just could not grasp by myself.

John Rowland

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