Author: John Mosley, C’14
I’ve never been one who excelled at linguistics. High school Spanish for me was just memorization on a test- by-test basis followed by a mass exodus of the information from my mind right afterwards. When I was choosing classes for the first semester my freshman year at Penn, I decided I wanted to try a different language, and one that tied directly to my family heritage. So, I chose German. However, the first two semesters ended up being the same as high school. No interest, except for passing the class. Last semester, and more so this semester, that mindset has changed for me.
I now have the zeal to learn the German language. I understand why some people are averse to this particular language, given the often dark history (die oft dunkele Geschichte) of the country, but as one who takes these classes, I can tell you that the German people are so much deeper and richer than that part of their history. In fact, the history itself is a focal point of the course, which as a political science major, is another appealing facet of the class. So far, we have not only learned the language, we have also studied the 1920s in Germany, Hitler’s rise to power, the second World War, and the way the German people have tried to come to terms with their past.
I have seldom felt such a sense of satisfaction as knowing that I can somewhat fluently converse with a German native about his/her own culture’s history and society. Danke, Penn!
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