Name: John Jorgenson
Year: Class of 2009
Hometown: Prior Lake, MN
The German Major at Johns Hopkins simultaneously allows the student a liberal breadth of intellectual freedom and teaches skills fundamental to understanding German language and culture. The general major requirements for graduation are substantial, but definitely manageable.
In addition to completing general language courses through the intermediate level, one must take 9 German courses to complete the German language requirement. A nice caveat to this requirement is that the Advanced German series 210.361-362, which German Majors must take anyway, counts toward this requirement. Of the remaining 7 courses, one can also take 2 courses ‘in translation’, meaning you can take a class that has lectures in English, but section and readings in German. Generally these classes are cross-listed with other departments, which means if you are double majoring in a consonant academic field you can generally double-count your classes. I myself am double-majoring in History, and have taken a number of classes in the History Department that are cross-listed with the German Department and vice-versa.
This leaves you 5 remaining German courses to satisfy your German Major. If you choose to study with BCGS (Berlin Consortium for German Studies) and study at Freie Universität your junior year, you are essentially done with your German Major upon return to Hopkins. I personally took this route and highly recommend it!
Study Abroad with BCGS
BCGS is not only a topnotch program academically; it is also a novelty in American study abroad programs in that you will actually STUDY abroad. Unlike your schoolmates who go spend their ‘study abroad’ cloistered among other Americans, taught by ex-patriots with funny accents, you will actually be studying at a German university among German students. You will write large Hausarbeiten, receive Prüfungbescheinigungen, and more importantly, learn how to order Döner Kebab from Turkish street venders. You will also be enjoined to go out into Berlin and search www.wg-gesucht.de to find yourself a Wohngemeinschaft.
The whole process is extremely intimidating, and challenging, but you will be assisted through the process by tutors with BCGS and have a lot of time to figure out the German university system. More importantly, you will return to the US with knowledge of the German language and culture that others simply cannot glean from German Department courses. This process of cultural assimilation was without a doubt the best aspect of the German Major, and also the high point of my time at Hopkins. Take advantage of this opportunity!
I hope this crash course in German at Hopkins has been helpful for you. If you would like more information feel free to contact me and I can shoot you an email, or setup an appointment with Deborah Mifflin, the German Language Program Director at Hopkins.
Mit freundlichen Grüßen,
To further your exploration of this academic program and ask any question you may have of current students, be sure to visit the Hopkins Forums’ Academics: The Insider Perspective and the German program website.