Why Study German?

It is a falsity to believe that an “English only”-attitude will get one anywhere in this world! In light of today’s shrinking world with its vast travel opportunities, its globalizing economy, and the ever-changing and accelerating nature of telecommunications, everyone needs to know at least one other language in order to compete in a global marketplace.

But why should it be German?

Because…you know English!

Despite the reputation of German as a more “difficult” language, English and German are closely related Germanic languages. These similarities and connections actually make learning German easier in many regards for English speakers! How about “Haus” or “Ring” or “Apfel” or “Hand”? And let’s not forget the many German words that have become part of the English vocabulary. “Zeitgeist” anybody? Or “Doppelgänger”? Or perhaps “Schadenfreude”?

Heart of the Liberal Arts

In a liberal arts environment such as Colby’s, the importance of German is undeniable. Lists of the world’s great artists and thinkers are often filled with German-speakers, who have been influential in almost every field of academia. Whether it is in the sciences (the list of Nobel Prize winners in physics, chemistry, and medicine is indeed a long one), in literature and the arts (eleven German-speaking Nobel prize and a number of Academy award winners), in philosophy and politics, or in history and sociology, the ability to read, speak, and write German opens up new windows in almost every field of knowledge.

The Global Economy

The German economy is the third strongest in the world. And as one of the official languages of the EU, it is one of the most important languages for trade and business in the European market. Within the fast growing Eastern European market, where many countries joined the EU in 2004, German is often more widely spoken than English. It is among the most popular languages studied in many Eastern European and Asian countries. And with over 3,000 subsidiaries and 780,000 jobs created in the U.S., German companies contribute considerably to our domestic market.

Click here to learn more about the applicability of German in various careers.

Universality of German

People of German descent make up one of the largest heritage groups in the United States.  The language is spoken by more than 124 million people world-wide: mostly by speakers in Germany, Austria, portions of Switzerland, and Liechtenstein. There are moreover many German speakers in border regions to these countries along with a number of pockets of German-speaking communities throughout the world, including North America, Africa, and Eastern Europe.

And did you know. . .

. . . that German is the most commonly used language in the Internet after English?

. . . that German is an official language at many international conferences?

. . . that more than 1,100 companies from German-speaking countries have subsidiaries in the United States with many thousand employees?

. . . that more than 700 American companies do business in Germany and have created 800,000 related jobs?

. . . that almost two out of every ten books published in the world are published in German?

Why Wait??

Today’s student can look forward to career choices that seemed impossible just a few decades ago. Distances no longer appear as obstacles! Language and cultural preparation for life abroad is at its best! Travel abroad or multi-national careers are practical and desired options!

Begin your future right now by taking German! Continue by completing an independent study or internship in Germany, Austria, or Switzerland, or with a German company in the U.S. during JanPlan! Study abroad during your Junior Year with one of the Colby approved programs! Find grants, fellowships, or employment in German-speaking countries right out of college! All of these exciting scenarios are not only possibilities but have become a reality for many of our German Majors and Minors!

Click here for an informative PDF on the possibilities of majoring or minoring in German.