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German Program


Why should I study German?

·         Get in touch with your roots. There are more Americans of German ancestry than any other.

·         Get in touch with the world. Between World War One and the Fall of the Wall, much of the twentieth century happened in Germany. With Germany as the largest member nation of the European Union, much of the twenty-first century is taking place there, too. In addition to momentous historical events, Germans have made fundamental contributions to music, art, literature, architecture, and many other fields for centuries.

·         Get in touch with your boss’s boss. Germany is the largest economy in the European Union, and one of the top exporting nations in the world. Many German companies are active in the U.S. or have purchased American firms. You never know where your career will take you, but knowing German could prove useful. Also, be sure to look at Brooks Haderlie’s information about careers in translation.

·         Get ready for grad school. Many graduate programs require ability in one, two, or more additional research languages, very often including German, because German scholars were some of the earliest leaders in many fields of the sciences, social sciences, and humanities.


What German course should I take?

·         If you’ve never had German before, take German 101.

·         If you had a couple years or more of German in high school, you’ll probably want to start in German 102 or possibly 201. Take the online placement exam and contact the instructor of a course that seems right for you. For German 101 and 102, take a look at the textbook (Kontakte, 6th ed.) and see if the material from the first half of the textbook (for 101) or second half (for 102) seems familiar to you, or if it seems completely foreign. Come to the first few days of classes and see how it goes. Talk to your instructor. One way or another, we usually get students sorted out quickly.

·         If you’ve been in Germany for 6-12 months or more, and you’ve been studying the language diligently, you should probably take German 202 (introduction to literature) or 321 (advanced grammar and composition). The emphasis in 202 is on literature and culture, while the emphasis in 321 is on language skills. Both courses are required for a German minor, and both will let you get vertical credit for German 101-201, and both will complete a German cluster.


What courses do I need for a German minor?

German 101, 102, 201, 202, 321, 400, and 410. If you’ve been abroad and already have strong proficiency in German, you need to take German 202, 321, 400, and 410, and then apply for vertical credit for German 101-201.


What courses do I need for a German cluster?

For beginning students, you need to take German 101, 102, and 201. If you have been abroad, you must take at least one course at BYU-Idaho to complete a cluster, either German 202 or 321.


What about a teaching minor?

German teaching minors need to take the foreign language pedagogy course, German 377, but are only required to take German 400 or 410, not both.


All German minors should go abroad, but for teaching minors, that advice should be taken much more seriously. You probably can’t pass the German praxis exam without the high-level language ability that most students can only acquire through substantial experience living in German, Austria, or Switzerland. You should only plan to complete a German teaching minor if you have a plan to acquire this experience.


Can’t you offer German 102 some other time besides 5:00 PM?

Yes. We could also offer it at 6:30 AM. For all kinds of reasons, including finding classroom space and the various instructors’ schedules, we can’t always offer every class at a time that’s convenient for every student. Don’t wait for a later semester when the course you want is offered at a more convenient time. It probably won’t happen.


The German class I need is full. What should I do?

We can often create space in a German class by moving German 321 slots, for example, to German 201, or the other way around. If all sections of the course you need is full, e-mail the instructor. We’ll do everything we can to find a place for you.


German 201 conflicts with my geology lab. What should I do?

If the courses overlap by 15 minutes one day a week, we can probably figure out a solution. If they overlap for the entire class period every day of the week, you’ll need to take one course or the other some other semester. When in doubt, e-mail the instructor of the course you’d like to take.


I saw that German 201 and 321 are scheduled at the same time. How does that work?

German 201 meets daily Monday-Thursday, and German 321 meets Monday-Wednesday-Friday, so the course is shared two days a week, while each course meets separately the other days. This gives students the opportunity to speak and interact with those of other ability levels. It helps the intermediate students develop advanced speaking skills, and gives the advanced students the opportunity to teach other students. Also, the two courses combined typically attract 20 students, so we can offer the course all three semesters, rather than just once per year, when a third of the students would be off track.


We rotate topics each semester so that German 201 students will have fresh material in German 321. In Winter 2012 our topic is “Eine Reise nach Deutschland” (German geography and travel). In Spring, the topic will be “Kindheit, Jugend, Karriere” (German childhood, adolescence, and careers). In Fall 2012, the topic will be “Du bist Deutschland” (German minorities and identity). Students should take German 321 in a semester that covers a different topic than they had in German 201.


I saw that German 202, 400, and 410 are scheduled at the same time. How does that work?

For similar reasons, these courses are taught together so that we can offer them every semester, with somewhat different readings and assignments for students enrolled in each course. We rotate topics each semester here also. In Winter 2012 we’re covering the period from 1900 to today, with a focus on historical and cultural context. In Spring 2012, we’ll cover 1750-1900, with a focus on literary periods and movements. We’ll repeat the 20th century in Fall 2012 before we cover medieval literature, with a focus on research methods, in Winter 2013.


Can we eat German food, sing German songs, and discuss our favorite aspects of German culture?

Yes! We have a student-run German Association with activities focused on exactly those things every semester. Contact them for more information.


Can I test out of German courses?

You can, but in nearly all cases, taking German 202 or 321 and then applying for vertical credit for German 101-201 is a better option. You can apply for vertical credit in any advising center, and the process is quick and inexpensive once you’ve passed German 202 or 321. It’s even possible take these courses, apply for vertical credit, and complete a German cluster the semester you graduate. If you are in one of the rare situations where you need graded credit, rather than pass/fail credit, please contact Dr. Green so that an exam can be arranged.


I want to go to Germany. What study abroad options in Germany are available through BYU-Idaho?

At the moment, none - but don’t let that stop you! BYU-Idaho students can apply to the many programs offered through BYU-Provo, and to programs offered through many other universities as well. There is a huge range of study abroad programs out there, depending on your needs and your schedule. If you’re prepared to go, we’ll find one for you.


I want to be a German tutor or a TA.

Each semester, the German program hires 2-3 students as TAs. All TAs must have an excellent knowledge of the language, and preference is given to students enrolled in the German or German Teaching minor and who have completed German 321. The tutoring center does its own hiring and training for tutors.