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10.14.2020 – Jordan on Her German Experience

Jordan on her German experience

Hi! My name is Jordan, I am a German peer Tutor and I am here to share my foreign language experience in my life and why I stuck with German all this time! I started speaking German technically when I was in K4. I am from Milwaukee, Wisconsin and my parents enrolled me in a German Elementary school there. They chose that school with the help of my grandparents who were teachers in the Milwaukee Public School System. They knew the school system well enough and German Immersion ended up being the best and closest option. I was only in the school until 1st grade so really only enough time to learn the basics. I could count, tell you the colors of the rainbow, say my ABC’s and that was about it. I changed schools and couldn’t take a language until 7th grade. Once we got to 7th grade we got to choose a language and even though I had only done it for a few short years, I really enjoyed German and wanted to continue.

Once I started German again I still had some things back in my brain but it only kept me ahead for so long . I really enjoyed the language and was always looking to learn more, a really cool experience I had that allowed me to grow in a very short period of time was the big eighth grade German field trip. We went to Bemidji Minnesota and went to Waldsee in the Concordia Language villages. It was a week filled with German speaking, German food, German music and so much more. The constant German speaking and meeting other kids from other schools in the area was so much fun and I was extremely upset once the weekend was over.

I then went on to high school and continued in the German program, my mom’s rule for us from 7th grade through high school was that we had to be in one foreign language and one music class. I continued German honestly because I had already started and didn’t feel like learning a new language. I had times where I contemplated quitting but I stuck through mainly so I could get to the GAPP trip. GAPP is the German American Partnership Program and I was overjoyed once I got the note saying I had been accepted in the group. I got a partner named Gizem, she lived over in Fulda, Germany, I messaged her instantly. Gizem’s family is Turkish which made for a bit of an interesting trip because her parents didn’t speak English or very much German. It was a struggle but I made it through my stay with Gizem as a translator most of the time. The fall of my Junior year our partners all came from Germany and stayed with us for two weeks. We were all so excited to show them around our town of Wauwatosa and bring them with us throughout the school day. We would go back and forth between speaking German and English and it was almost like having another sibling around for two weeks straight.

Once they left we had to wait until the following summer to be able to see them again. Once the second semester ended we got on a bus to the airport and flew to Germany to meet up with our partners again. We were there for three, while we were there we stayed with our partners for two weeks and spent one week on a bus driving around Germany and Switzerland. We went to Rothenburg which is known as the “Medieval Walled City’, Oberammergau, Munich and many more cities as well. During these weeks we were challenged because we had a lot of time walking around on our own. We were forced to use our German and that really helped us to do better conversationally. I’ve kept with German since and decided to take it on as a major and love how there is always more for me to learn.

Throughout my time learning German I have had mostly good experiences but I have also had a few times where I wanted to quit and just stick to English. If I had done that I would not be where I am today as far as my major, being Germanic Studies and a second major in Marketing, having the friends I have and still talk both from my high school and over in Germany, the world travel experience I have etc. I am also a German Peer Tutor here at UIC! German has opened so many doors for me and I really believe there is so much more to come as well. I am still deciding what specifically I want to do with my majors but, I can’t wait to see what comes in my future because of my choice to continue on in German.

– Jordan