Endless German Opportunities

Another German event (I know, I know—I need to get out more) that I attended this semester was the German Opportunities Fair on November 16th. They altered this event quite a bit this year and I really enjoyed the improvements—in the past, it involved short individual presentations from various speakers about several of the opportunities for German learning and beyond at OU. This year, it was a much more casual and laidback event where organizations and speakers had booths set up and you could initiate individual conversations.

I think I spent most of my time at about 5 different booths, which sounds like a lot but I was there for the full hour and a half. My first stop was Dr. Schlupp, who told me a little about German research opportunities, and some graduate options in Germany. Even though I feel like I’m not far along enough to be thinking about things like that, it’s always nice to chat with Dr. Schlupp. He’s my best friend’s dad, so I get to see him pretty often, and it’s always rather enjoyable. Sometimes I wish that my family was a bit more like the Schlupp family… For some reason I just get along better at Schlupp family dinners than my own family’s dinners. Maybe it’s just German hospitality?

The next booth I visited because one of my old German instructors was at the helm. She’s earning her Master’s degree in German from OU, and her booth explained the process of obtaining such a degree from our fine institution. I’ll be honest, the more German I learn, the more I want to know, and so that path seems like a bigger option to me every day. However, I’ve still got a long road ahead of me on my current degree, so I’m trying to stay focused and not get too off track!

My next stop was the Leipzig booth. Every summer, select OU German faculty take a small group of German students (about 12 or 15) to Leipzig, Germany for a whirlwind study abroad and language immersion. I’ve heard from many people that the language courses they take while in Leipzig are really intense; people can earn up to six credit hours in just a few short weeks! It’s a trip that is very attractive to students who would like to minor, but may not have the time to go abroad for a whole semester or year. Even though I don’t think I’ll ever go on the OU Faculty-sponsored trip to Leipzig, I really would like to visit. I’m sure I’ll get the opportunity sometime this next semester while I’m in Austria!

After I learned more about Leipzig and picked up a snazzy study abroad pin, I headed toward the internship booth, because heaven knows I need some experience! I learned that there are actually quite a few internships available in Washington D.C. for young speakers of German and Business majors, which is something I would really enjoy doing. This booth was probably the most informative of the night, simply because it involved a lot of information that was completely new to me. I networked with the students who were running the booth, who have both had internships with the state department, and I got an e-mail address of someone who could greatly aid my quest for an internship. All in all, I’d say it was quite successful!

Last, but not least, I visited the Fulbright table. I saved this table for last because I figured I already knew quite a lot about the subject, and while I was right, I still gleaned a lot of information from the booth’s representative and the other students who were checking it out. When I was a Psychology major, I thought that I wanted to apply to do something more research related, but now I’m leaning more toward applying for an English Teaching Assistant position. Honestly, the idea of teaching English used to make me a little anxious, because I was afraid that my German wouldn’t be good enough. Thankfully, even though I’m nowhere near fluent yet, I’m confident in my abilities, and I’m excited for any opportunity to grow.

And thus, that was the final table I visited at the German Opportunities fair. I feel like I gained so much information in such a short time, and I really enjoyed getting to talk to people one-on-one and ask questions I otherwise might not have in front of a large crowd. One of my favorite parts about OU is the German faculty we have here. I truly think they are among the best in the country, and I love the way it always feels like I’m with family while I’m spending time with them.

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