The study of foreign language is a vital part of a liberal arts education. Students studying a new language gain direct experience of a foreign cultures that depends on their understanding of the world as they learn to read, write, and speak that new language.
Students studying German language and culture investigate a world of highs and lows: great philosophers and writers, great university systems, students and ordinary citizens who led demonstrations taking down the East German government of 1989, the founders of the European Union, but also the instigators of two World Wars, Nazism, and The Holocaust.
Many students studying German are also investigating their own history. Many German immigrants ultimately made the Midwest their home.
What opportunities are available for students?
Phi Sigma Iota is the international honors society for students in a foreign language. It recognizes outstanding ability and high standards of students of foreign languages, literatures, and cultures. To be considered for membership students must maintain a minimum GPA within their chosen language and as a part of their class.
Students in the elementary and intermediate courses are required to utilize the superbly equipped language laboratory. This laboratory provides access to a wide variety of foreign language learning technologies, including special computer programs (word processing, self-paced tutorials, vocabulary and grammar references, testing, and full access to the World Wide Web), audio-cassette and video recorders, foreign satellite broadcasts, compact discs, and laser disk technology.
Students choosing to major in German are strongly encouraged to spend one semester or more immersed in a German-speaking culture. The experience is used to put classroom learning into context. Recently, students have arranged study abroad trips to Marburg, Germany and Lunegurg, Germany. Andrew Chipman (2004) studied at Philipps University in Marburg, Germany and states this was the “highlight of my college experience.”
BreakAway Program: Illinois College faculty have led trips to Germany, especially Berlin, the new coal capital for many people.
The German Honors Program, available to German majors, contains three parts:
:: A structured study abroad experience
:: High academic standing
:: Completion of the departmental honors course (German 480)
Parts one and two are monitored by the student’s advisor and will constitute the prerequisites for the honors course. German 480 consists of an honors thesis written in the second semester of senior year to be presented (in English) to the Illinois College Community.
What opportunities are available after graduation?
Courses in German will help prepare students seeking careers in international business and industry, social service involving foreign language communities, U.S. government missions abroad, and teaching modern languages in elementary or high schools.