German Studies

Major Minor

German Department Website

Why Study German at K?

At K you can read Kafka and Marx in their original language, gain a deeper appreciation for Beethoven and Schubert, understand Germany’s central role in guiding modern Europe, and learn how German businesses thrive in the global market. 

As a German student, you will not only become proficient in the language, you will also learn how to critically think about history and culture while gaining lifelong skills in intercultural communication. Even in introductory courses, you will have the opportunity to explore complicated themes like migration, food politics, and sustainability. 

At K, you will have the privilege of further honing your German conversation skills by learning from our native-speaking teaching assistants from Germany, who lead language labs and host fun activities, such as game nights, cooking classes, and Stammtisch (conversation circles). For complete immersion, you can take advantage of Kalamazoo College’s renowned study abroad program with three-, six-, or nine-month experiences in Lüneburg and Erlangen, Germany. 

While German Studies is a well-rounded, standalone program, the lessons you learn—in courses like Myth of a Nation: German Film, Marx and the Arts, and Minority Cultures in Germany—can enhance your studies in other departments as well. In fact, many German courses are cross-listed with other departments like environmental studies; media studies; and women, gender, and sexuality.

Given the depth and breadth of the German Studies curriculum, you will leave K capable of applying your knowledge in a multitude of fields. Previous students have gone on to have meaningful careers in global relations, science, history and business. 

What can you do with a German degree?

Below are some of the careers, employers, and graduate schools our German alumni have worked for.

Careers

  • Historian
  • Journalist
  • Teacher
  • Foreign Service Officer

Employers

  • Fulbright
  • Security Magazine
  • Northeastern University
  • Google

Graduate Schools

  • Georgetown University
  • Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
  • University of Bonn
  • Michigan State University

Program Spotlights

Study Abroad in Germany

Live in Lüneburg or Erlangen, Germany, for three to nine months to gain a first-hand understanding of German culture and language. While abroad, you will attend a month-long intensive language course, take classes at the local university, and go on organized trips across Germany and Austria. Erlangen students will additionally participate in an Integrative Cultural Project, where you intern with local organizations; past students have worked in refugee resettlement, nature conservation, and have even hosted a radio show!

Students posing with an inflatable pretzel for Maifest

Celebrate the K German community at Maifest

The department prides itself on the close relationships that students, faculty, and visiting international students form with one another as they rise through their German studies together, often from beginning German to the senior seminar. Maifest is an annual celebration of that community, which brings all our German students and faculty together to share in food, music and games as we usher in spring.

K student presenting her German Senior Integrated Project

Showcase your knowledge in your Senior Integrated Project

German students often use their SIP as an opportunity to research their favorite topics from past courses or expand upon their internships while studying abroad–often returning to Germany with College funding to do so. Here you can see Madison Cambell ‘20 presenting the findings of her joint history and German SIP “Reclaiming Stasi Objects: The Stories of Jürgen Fuchs, Ulrike Poppe and Mario Röllig.”  

Meet the Current Departmental Student Advisor

Christian Zeitvogel (He/Him/His)

Majors: German and Political Science

“Servus! I’m Christian Zeitvogel and I have the pleasure of introducing myself as the DSA for the German Department. I am an incoming Senior from beautiful Beverly Hills… Michigan. Although I came to Kalamazoo with no intention of pursuing German [much less doing study abroad], I now cannot imagine my life without these experiences. I originally applied for the six month program in Erlangen, but as soon as I arrived, I knew that I did not want to leave and stayed for a year. At the ripe age of twenty-one I experienced a “quarter-life crisis” [sozusagen] during my study abroad as I realized that my future lies in Europe.”

What is the best thing about being part of this department?

The German department builds an interactive community between students and professors inside and out of the classroom.

What is your biggest piece of advice to first-years and sophomores about getting connected to your department?  

Seize every opportunity that presents itself, whether it be actively engaging in class, attending one of our public events such as Stammtisch and movie nights, or discovering something from German culture such as cuisine and music. The classes are academically stimulating while our extracurricular events are a lot more relaxed and provide a more casual opportunity to meet other students, practice the language, and learn something new (Often times there is food involved too). 

What is your Senior Integrated Project (SIP)?

During my study abroad, I was involved in an internship at the local city museum. I am currently translating the museum’s exhibits into English, and my SIP will discuss the pedagogical theory employed in deciding how to translate these exhibits.

German Department News