“Guten Tag!”: Studying a Language at Holy Cross

A German textbook on the windowsill of Clark residence hall
German is just one of the many languages available to Holy Cross students!

 

 

Hello everyone! Colder weather seems to have arrived here in Worcester, but students’ spirits remain high. The mornings, though brisk, are quite beautiful here on campus, and make getting out of bed just a bit easier. That said, I’m not sure I’ll feel the same way once we start experiencing snowfall. We shall see…

In transitioning to Holy Cross, one aspect that I feel is worth sharing is my personal experience in studying language in college. I am currently enrolled in German 201, and will be taking German 202 next semester, thus fulfilling the language component of the common requirements at Holy Cross. Both courses are intermediate level offerings. Having taken four years of German in high school, I was able to skip the introductory level courses via an online placement test that I took prior to enrollment.

High school language classes, however, are entirely different from those offered at Holy Cross, and presumably at most other colleges. Having always performed extremely well in German classes, I entered the course quite confident in my knowledge and ability. On the first day, however, this confidence quickly dissipated. Much to my surprise, the entire course was taught in German. I now realize that only a very small percentage of my high school courses had actually been taught in German. For the first couple weeks, I did not think I could succeed in the course.

Luckily, however, I decided to persist. German was my favorite subject in high school, and I realized I needed to find a way to rekindle the pleasure I once took in learning languages. I worked extremely hard not only in completing my coursework, but also in reviewing vocabulary and grammar from past years. Gradually, I’ve found myself able to understand most of the discussions that occur in class, and I am thoroughly enjoying German once again. I’m not sure if I intend to pursue German after this year, but I’m certainly open to the possibility.

It is worth noting that not many freshmen choose to take a language in their first semester. For those considering doing so, however, I would advise against being too confident. Once again, taking a language in college is incredibly different from high school. Classes are based on active discussion and participation, and daily practice is a necessity. That said, my German class has thus far been a rewarding experience, and I am performing quite well in the course.

Thank you for reading this blog post! Be sure to check back soon for a recap of  my forthcoming second semester enrollment!