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Students in the Summer Language German Intensive Program visit the Hamburger Bahnhof. (Credit: Irina Stelea)

The BCB Summer Language German Intensive Program came to a close earlier this month. From the 10th June to the 10th July, a handful of students from various universities immersed themselves in the German language and took part in cultural events across Berlin. This podcast includes snippets of conversations with some of the participants on their experiences at BCB and in Berlin.

Featured songs, in order of appearance:

“Komm Doch” by Die Caufner Schwestern (1978)

“Sonnenallee” by Rio Reiser (1990)

Essay by Mark Twain, source here.

 

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Die Glühbirne: the lightbulb, literally the “glowpear”

Die Glühbirne: the lightbulb, literally the “glowpear”

After about four months of classes and 5 months in Germany,  I find myself in German A2, well aware that German — with its random articles and various cases, not to mention the seemingly impossible sound that lingers in the gap between ‘sh’ and ‘ch’ — is a difficult language to learn. But there is good to be found in the language learning process. German relies heavily on compound words, which anyone can invent and use whenever they so desire, while still remaining grammatically correct. This allows for amazing specificity and has resulted in many odd, whimsical sounding names for various objects and ideas.

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Onion quiche prepared during the annual French Dinner (photo by Valerie Pochko)

Onion quiche prepared during the annual French Dinner (photo by Valerie Pochko)

Every year the French speaking community at ECLA of Bard gathers in one of the dorms to cook, eat and express their enthusiasm for French culture and cuisine. This year as well, we all gathered in the music building on Wilhelm Wolf Strasse, and prepared to cook various kinds of French meals. Edit Gerelyes, the French instructor at ECLA of Bard, organizes such activities for all the French speaking students, so that the ones who are still grappling with the concept of what this language is can become more acquainted with the French cuisine and its culture.

I recently finished one year of learning French at ECLA of Bard.  However, learning French had been my dream since my childhood. My desire to learn French started in high school, when I used to spend a lot of time in the school library. There I found a girl who would sit right across from where I sat, and she would very actively work on her French grammar. Somehow the image of that young woman mingled with the novel that I was reading at that time, Jane Eyre. And this inspired me to learn French, though I had to wait for another six years before I could actually begin to learn this language. Later when I came to ECLA of Bard I realized that I want to spend the rest of my life teaching children religion and philosophy – and what could be better than acquiring as many international languages as possible in order to be able to access the philosophical and religious materials in these languages?

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