German from the Classroom to the Cookout

Wabash men with German college students

Seth Gunderman ’16 – Tuesday was our second day of class at the “Sprachschule”. We learned more about Marburg, its famous people and its history, but we also learned where to find an umbrella. This was essential information because of the pouring rain that occurred most of the day. The intensive language course has been a great success so far.  We have learned a lot about German culture and the city of Marburg.

After class and lunch, we met up with Professor Tucker, who went over the features of Gothic architecture using the St. Elisabeth Church as a model. He also reviewed with us ways to make small talk and get to know someone in German. These exercises in small talk were to prepare us for the day’s highlight — an evening barbeque party with students from the University of Marburg. This meant that after a couple of days getting adjusted to using German and hearing it all around us, we were really put to the test.  It was a great event and a fun evening. We had the opportunity to meet and speak with German college students and get a sense of what student life is really like in Germany.

Once the rain let up, we walked out to a student living unit, where we cooked out together, got to know each other, and talked about life. Many of the conversations were about school and the differences between America and Germany. I talked to a student named Darius most of the time, and I was able to conduct the conversation in German. I found out that Darius is an English major, that he’s from Bonn (the former capitol of West Germany), and that he loves American girls.I also learned that he aspires, when he graduates, to become a German-to-English translator. After a while, Darius wanted me to speak some English with him, and when I did, I was quite impressed. His English (like that of most other young, educated Germans) is very good.

My goal now is to keep studying German and to improve until I can impress native speakers the way he impressed me. Later that night, many of the German students decided to continue the evening and joined us at a local watering hole where we were able to hang out some more and build good connections. Overall, the night was a great experience for all the Wabash students and we were able to make new friends in Germany.