Home - Academics - Departments and Programs - German - German Department
German Department

Latest Posts

Colgate Students go to HWS Colleges Symposium

By mmichaux on April 12, 2016

On April 2, a group of Colgate students and professors took part in the second interdisciplinary Spring Semester Symposium about “Narratives of Displacement” which has been organized by the German Area Studies Program of Hobart & William Smith Colleges in the spirit of academic collaboration among the colleges of the NYS Liberal Arts Consortium and Cornell University.

Following up on our previous Brown Bag “Heimat after Belonging – Engaging with Narratives of Displacement” with guest speaker Emina Mušanović, the Symposium initiated an even deeper immersion into contemporary topics like home and belonging with a special focus on forced migration. In a workshop, students read works of famous writer Warsan Shire, connecting literary reflections with the bigger contemporary context of the refugee crisis. The intercultural exchange between the students enabled a lively discussion and offered new insights on the culturally different perceptions of and experiences with the concept of what it “being a refugee” actually means.

After luncheon, Olivia Landry portrayed her view on Germany’s current situation in her speech “Humanitarian(ism in) Crisis: Germany’s “Willkommenskultur” and its Backlash” with both, concern and cautious optimism. The ensuing Q&A circulated around her shared experiences with refugees’ rights movements in Germany and general discussions about possible future developments. Students from the Hobart & William Smith College provided further information about gender issues or population shares in connection with refugees.

The Symposium was a fantastic opportunity for students, faculty and members of the community to broaden their perspectives on a critical issue of our days. The Department is looking forward to expanding the discourse in this and other areas of German studies, nurturing an even deeper exchange between institutions and cultures.



Brown Bag with Emina Mušanović

By mmichaux on March 31, 2016

March 22, 2016


In collaboration with the Hobart & William Smith College, the German Department has invited guest speaker Emina Mušanović for its Brown Bag “Heimat after Belonging – Engaging with Narratives of Displacement.”
Students from various Departments gathered for an interdisciplinary dialog in our Kade Center to explore what “Heimat” (“home”) means, especially in a world where there is a constant change of location, people and emotions. The discussion started in the context of a literary example and addressed contemporary discourses of “Belonging” in a time where millions of refugees are confronted with these questions: “What is home, when and where do I belong?”
This Brown Bag was held in anticipation of the second annual Spring Semester Symposium, “Narratives of Displacement”, by the German Area Studies Program of Hobart & William Smith College in the spirit of academic collaboration among the colleges of the NY6 Liberal Arts Consortium and Cornell University.

Students volunteer at Hamilton Central School

By mmichaux on March 31, 2016

Every semester the Upstate Institute, in coordination with the Colgate Foreign Language Departments, offers the opportunity to teach various foreign languages to second graders at Hamilton Central School. The languages include: German, French, Spanish, and Chinese and the tutoring teams head down to HCS six times throughout the semester. This semester, the dates include: February 5, February 12, February 26, March 4, April 1, April 8, and April 15. Our German teaching team meets twice per week: once on Tuesdays to plan the lessons and once on Thursdays to practice our plan, as well as going to HCS on the six designated Fridays.
The Student Coordinators for the German program this semester are Rachel Ernst, ’16 and Hayley Lazzari, ’18 whose contact information is below.
It’s always such a fun experience to work with the kids and share our passion for German with them!! Please contact one of the Student Coordinators below if you have any questions!

Rachel Ernst: 917-817-3425, rernst@colgate.edu
Hayley Lazzari: 412-266-2927, hlazzari@colgate.edu

Steven Nave ’17: Independent Study

By Contributing Writer on November 19, 2015

Steven NaveWith my German department study grant, I boosted my language skills by exploring New German Cinema over the summer. Starting in 1962, a revolutionary wave of talented filmmakers broke generic and cultural norms with their intense, artistic vision. By the time Abscheid von Gestern (Yesterday Girl) won the Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival, this generation of post-war auteurs was being called the New German Cinema.

Over the summer, I explored the history and personalities of the generation that produced the zenith of German film. I used my funding to watch some of the most notable and extreme works of the period, such as the maddening, unforgettable 16-hour-long Berlin Alexanderplatz and the oft-banned satirical classic The Tin Drum. For each film I wrote a brief discussion in German to improve my skills and worked with my adviser to improve it grammatically and stylistically.

Colin Ren ’17: Summer Language Immersion in the U.S.

By Contributing Writer on November 19, 2015

Colin RenDuring the summer of 2015, I attended Middlebury College Language School with the generous financial help from the Department of German at Colgate. Middlebury currently operates 11 language schools and the year of 2015 is the centennial of the legendary Middlebury method, with the start of the German School in 1915.

The schools implement an immersion method called “The Language Pledge”: students are not allowed to use any languages other than the target language. My German skills were very elementary when I began the program. When I finished the seventh week, though not at fluent level, I had developed a mentality and skill set to speak German without fear.

From brushing in the morning to dancing on Saturday nights, we used German all the time. This not only helped me to learn countless vocabularies and expressions, but also to increase my confidence and comfort level with the language. I also participated in a few extracurricular activities such as theater and radio. The theater club especially helped me in memorizing expressions and putting them into context. All the faculty members were incredibly approachable and we built a close-knit community by the end of the summer.

I highly recommend Middlebury to anyone who wishes to boost their German skills in a short amount of time. And I could not be more grateful for the support that Colgate provided.

Will Andrews ’16: Internship in Freiburg

By Contributing Writer on November 19, 2015

German major Will Andrews '16Before beginning my semester with the Freiburg Study Group, I spent the month of January and February 2015 working as an intern in the Carl Schurz Haus Deutsch Amerikanisches Institut Freiburg e.V. My tasks included helping to set up and run events pertaining to American culture, helping to teach workshops on English language and literature, and advertising our program with posters and social media. Our events ranged from American movie nights to comparing parenting techniques between the United States, Germany and China.

It was very interesting working in an environment where I had to represent my country in a foreign country, and I believe I learned just as much as those attending our events and workshops. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the Carl Schurz Haus and especially encourage students to spread their horizons and get involved with the many German institutions in the United States and American institutions in Germany.

Audrey Ortiz ’16: Private Tutoring

By Contributing Writer on November 19, 2015

Audrey OrtizThis grant allowed me to pursue tutoring before embarking to Germany to participate in the Freiburg Study Group program. I was already a year behind in my German studies when I decided to participate in this program, but having the opportunity to work with a tutor at home allowed me to catch up on pronunciation and overall comprehension before leaving for Germany.

Jacqueline Listemaa, a graduate student and assistant professor at the University of Minnesota, was my tutor, and she was incredibly friendly and caring. During our tutoring sessions, we would read from the textbook meant for university-level German second year students, paying particular attention to my pronunciation and words that were unfamiliar to me. Jacqueline, who had spent a year in Austria, discussed with me as well about what to expect from living abroad in a German speaking country, and how to prepare beforehand. I also asked for her help with some of the assignments that were due before leaving for Germany, and she proved to be a great help with my overall writing and reading skills.

Once again, I am incredibly grateful to everyone who generously made this grant possible, as it was a huge help in allowing me to prepare for my study abroad experience. Working with a tutor definitely took the pressure off and eased my anxiety about going to Germany for 4 ½ months and speaking primarily German. Without this grant money, I would have had a much more difficult transition into German-speaking once I got to Freiburg. I am so grateful for all of the opportunities I have had through the German department, as studying German has given me an incredible sense of community with people I might not normally have crossed paths with. Leaving Freiburg, I came back to the U.S. with friendships I hadn’t had before, and I am so glad I decided to throw myself into the study of German.

Cara Skelly ’16: Internship in Berlin

By Contributing Writer on November 19, 2015

Cara SkellyI used the German Study grant to support my position as an unpaid intern in Berlin from January to March 2015. My internship was with an organization called Entrepreneur’s Organization, which is a global organization of entrepreneurs focused on building successful businesses.

I used the money to pay for transportation within the city and food for myself during work hours. I spoke German with my boss at work and learned about everyday life in the city of Berlin with my host family.

Living with a family of four children, I learned many aspects of German school life from elementary school to university. The study grant allowed me an exciting opportunity to live in a German city and practice my German outside of the classroom before arriving in Freiburg!

Jackson Ang’ong’a ’15: Studying Physics in German

By Contributing Writer on November 18, 2014

Colgate Physics major Jackson Ang'ong'aMeine HiWi-Stelle ging darum, den Informationsverlust bei verschränkten Lichtteilchen (Photonen) zu erforschen. Man hat (theoretisch) Informationen auf Lichtteilchen gespeichert und die Teilchen in der ‘Atmosphäre’ von einem Punkt zum Andern geschossen.

“My work as a research assistant involved researching the loss of information in photons. Theoretically, we stored information in photons and then shot them from one point in the ‘atmosphere’ to another.”

Angelica Babei ’14: Honors Research Abroad

By Contributing Writer on November 18, 2014

Colgate German major Angelica BabeiAs a part of my honors thesis in German, which focused on the implications of ambiguity in poetry in the transmission of multidimensional political messages in the GDR, I studied the works of Carlfriedrich Claus, a German artist experimenting with visual and concrete poetry.

The study grant the Department of German awarded me made it possible for me to travel to Chemnitz, Germany, and visit Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz, Stiftung Carlfriedrich Claus-Archiv, which are the archives with the collected works of Carlfriedrich Claus. There I could research his visual poetry thoroughly, decipher some of the text he used in his works, study some of the correspondence of the artist — in which he described his work — and ask questions about and discuss his art with the workers at the archives.

In addition to this, the visit at the archives has improved my personal and intellectual development, as it has raised my interest in East German literature and art, and has improved my understanding of the political context from which they emerged. This subject area has also become the defining focus of my German Studies, and the study grant has given me the opportunity to get a more complex and personal experience with it.