Modern Languages and Literatures


Michele Ricci Bell, associate professor of German

Our program offers a wide range of courses in language, literatures and cultures of German-speaking Europe. By combining exciting and thought-provoking content orientation with the development of sophisticated language abilities, our classes are challenging but conducted in a friendly and supportive atmosphere. Students who minor or major in German Cultural Studies are able to integrate their knowledge of the language and the multicultural society into a broad spectrum of careers, including (but not limited to) engineering, the arts, medicine, international business, law, or politics, to name only a few. Since Germany plays an influential role in unified Europe, proficiency in German language and culture are a vital asset for any student who wants to participate fully in the life and the opportunities of the twenty-first century. As part of the German Cultural Studies, we furthermore offer an enthralling Term Abroad in Freiburg and Berlin each Spring.

Please contact any of us in the German Cultural Studies section if you would like more information about our program.

  • Why study German?

    German is for a new breed of thinkers, artists, journalists and travelers.

    German is a leading language of science, literature, philosophy, theology, history, music, film and art. Becoming acquainted with artists, composers, scientists, great thinkers and their contributions is very rewarding if done in their language. German is, for example, the language of Goethe, Kafka, Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, Mozart, Beethoven, Luther, Marx, Freud and Einstein.

    Over 78,895 new books are published in Germany each year, 18% of worldwide publishing, making Germany the third largest publisher of books in the world after the USA and Japan. German is important to gain wider access to the cultural and scientific world. This is illustrated by the number of German winners of the Nobel Prize: 27 Nobel Prizes in Chemistry, 15 in Medicine, 22 in Physics, 7 in Literature, 4 Nobel Peace Prizes and 1 in Economic Sciences.

    The German education system has a long tradition (the oldest German university, Ruprecht-Karls-Universität in Heidelberg, was founded in 1386) and a good international reputation. Foreigners like coming to Germany to study. In the ranking of the most attractive countries for foreign students, Germany takes third place. A total of 224,000 foreigners study and conduct research at 350 research institutes and institutions of higher education in Germany every year.

    Please keep in mind that German is as easy to learn as any other language. You already know much more German vocabulary than you think: Professor, Kindergarten, Angst, etc. In fact, German and English come from the same Germanic language family. Basically, they both started out as the same language and still share thousands of the same words, word origins and grammar characteristics – e.g. Sommer=summer, Vater=father, Mutter=mother, Haus=House, Apfel=apple, Winter=winter and so on.

    Learn German and get to know one of the great European cultures!

    Visit The Goethe Institut website for good information on German Language and Culture

  • Courses & Requirements
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  • Study abroad

    Term Abroad – Berlin and Freiburg, Germany for everyone

    International Programs

  • German Club

    Union College’s German Club is an organization devoted to promoting opportunities for everyone interested in the German language and German culture. We offer a weekly lunch-time “German Table” and several informal social gatherings, discussions, films, and special events each term. Contact any German faculty member for more information.

  • Career opportunities

    German Careers and Jobs – Advice from

    Academic Jobs EU – “The Leading Site for Academic and Research Jobs in Europe.”

    If you want to be a real player in the 21st century, learning German will give you the edge you need. Keep in mind: 100 million people worldwide communicate in German! German is the official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Luxembourg. German is the second most popular language to learn in the EU and ranks among the top 10 most frequently languages spoken in the world. It plays an important role as a foreign language in many countries, particularly in Central and Eastern Europe.

    With knowledge of German, you improve your employment opportunities – Germany has the largest economy in the European Union and the third largest in the world. It is the world’s leading exporter and importer. German, for sure, puts you in high demand. This page highlights some of the many areas where doors will open for you if you challenge yourself to learn German.

    Source: The Goethe Institute