Did you know that more than 1,200 German companies operate in the Southeast? That studying German language and culture can complement many academic fields? And that Germany has the fourth largest GDP in the world and is the globe’s top exporter?
Ben Simpson knows these things. He feels that the German major fits nicely with many other disciplines. “I’m also a history minor, and I recently took a class on the Inquisition in history. At the same time, I was taking a class entitled Mystery Thrillers in German Culture. For the final project in the German class, I wrote a short mystery and ended up taking one of the lessons from the Inquisition course and adapting it into my story. To me, it was cool to see how you can mix things, and German really lends itself to that.”
What impresses Ben the most about the department is its faculty. “The professors are phenomenal. If I don’t catch them in their offices, I’ve never gone more than two hours without a response to an email. They really are supportive and bend over backwards to make sure that their students do well and that they’re excited.”
One of the best courses he’s taken in the major, Ben says, was a conversation class. “I had pretty good proficiency in German when I came to the College, but I wasn’t fluent. In that class, we had to do speeches every week right up in front of everyone. The professor was a taskmaster. He didn’t let anyone slide on homework and he made sure we were practicing and studying. He forced his students to use the language, so you became more comfortable with it pretty quickly.”
During his sophomore year, Ben spent a semester in Bamberg, Germany, studying at one of the College’s sister schools. He says he’d recommend that kind of immersion experience to anyone interested in German – or any other language, for that matter.
So where will his major take him? “When you major in German, you don’t have to become a German teacher. German is one of the most important languages for people doing business throughout the world. If you’re interested in business, translation, international politics, pretty much anything, you should check out this major because German is super versatile.”
Ours is one of the top German programs in the Southeast. Our students study the language, literature, cinema and culture of German-speaking Europe. Knowledge of German is important for anyone involved in international commerce, research and technology. That’s why our faculty members are experts in a wide range of fields from cinema to performance, business to translation and sports to literature.
- Our department is the only authorized testing site in South Carolina for the internationally recognized Goethe Institut proficiency exams.
- Our department was recognized by the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education as the top German program in the state.
- One in five jobs in South Carolina is either directly or indirectly affected by the $14 billion that the state of Germany has invested here over the past 15 years.
- Engaging study abroad programs include an intensive experience living with a German family and a two-month internship with a German company or organization.
- The German Club is an active, student-run organization with a social orientation.
- German majors do independent studies, such as “The History of Sport in German Culture” and “German for the Medical Profession.”
Mark Del Mastro
Interim Department Chair