Zoological Garden area in Berlin

Lily, UIC B.A. in Germanic Studies and LCLC Peer Tutor, 2020

My language story began when I was a second-year student at UIC, with a major in Biological Sciences. To fulfill my language requirement, I wanted to try something new and interesting; I had already taken Spanish at my high school, so I decided to branch out into something completely different: German.

Within the first few lectures in GER 101, I was hooked. I found myself falling in love with the German language and its complexities – to me, that is the best thing about a language. Learning a language has always been an exciting challenge for me, and something about German really drew me in.

My grandfather spoke near-fluent German, and being able to talk with him in German, especially during his twilight years, was very important to both him and myself. I think of German as a language rich in history and cultural remembrance. My favorite word in German is “Vergangenheitsbewältigung”: overcoming of the past. I reflect on that word a lot as I proceed through my German coursework; German was the piece of the puzzle I was so worried about never finding.

German is my passion. I reflect on the person I was in GER 101, both in terms of language learner and as an individual. Since 101, I have grown as a learner and an individual. Since my days in 101, I changed my major to Germanic Studies, and also spent a semester abroad in Berlin – something I never thought I would be brave or courageous enough to do. But I did, and it remains as one of the best life experiences I’ve ever had.

I became a German Peer Tutor here at UIC because I wanted to help others facilitate love for a language, especially one that’s not commonly chosen in college. Most people who take German WANT to take German – I want to make sure people continue to want to learn the language, even if it gets hard. Help is always available – I don’t want people to give up on a language that could become their passion because they didn’t understand something.

You never know where your language will take you, but I guarantee it’ll take you to places you never even considered.