Name: Menghuan Wu
Location of Study: Berlin, Germany
Program of Study: Goethe-Institut Deutschland
Sponsors: Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures, Nanovic Institute for European Studies
Blog URL: http://sites.nd.edu/sla2016/author/mwu3/
A brief personal bio:
I come from Shanghai, China, and am currently a rising sophomore. I had my first piano lesson at the age of six, and for many years I have been a devoted classical pianist. I am currently pursuing a music major at Notre Dame. Besides music, I also love reading, sports, and travelling.
Why this summer language abroad opportunity is important to me:
In my concentration of music, I am particularly drawn to the German repertoire from the baroque to the late romantic period. I am very cognisant that to fully fathom the aesthetic merits of this repertoire, one has to have a solid and high command of the German language. Just to name a few, many of the most important musicological texts were written in German, and so were the Lieder by Schubert, Schumann, etc. and the operas by Wagner. The language program that I will take in Berlin under the auspices of SLA grant will thus help deepen my knowledge of music.
On the other hand, after one year’s study of German literature taught by Professor Della Rossa, I also find myself passionate not only about German music, but also German culture in general. For example, I was fascinated by the sensuality of the texts by J. von Eichendorff and the difficult post-WWII period of German history. The Grant will definitely help improve my German to read more about Germany, and the immersion in Germany will help me develop a rapport with the German mentality.
What I hope to achieve as a result of this summer study abroad experience:
I hope that after I take this program, my command of German as my third language will be no less than my command of English as my second language. In this way, I will be able to access German texts and books with minimal difficulty, so that I will be able to utilise German in my professional life. I also hope to spend time with German friends that I will make there, and I will also allow myself to have an appropriate degree of fun by socialising with them. This not only puts my German in use, but also helps me get a grasp of the German way of life.
My specific learning goals for language and intercultural learning this summer:
- At the end of this summer, I will achieve a German proficiency that is almost close to the native level, despite a possible lack of colloquialism.
- At the end of this summer, I will be able to read German books with a normal reading speed unhindered by occasional new words. In this way, I hope to use German in my study of Music, especially in music history and theory.
- At the end of this summer, I will have achieved a deeper familiarity with the cultures, lifestyles, economic and political situations of Berlin and Germany in general.
My plan for maximizing my international language learning experience:
First of all, I will constantly encourage myself to do the coursework of the program with utmost diligence and care. In this way I will make sure I have a solid grounding in the German grammar and style. I will also make sure that I take the opportunity to participate in class, because the classroom is a perfect workshop for strict practice of proper speaking of German.
My program provides a host family, and this is to my advantage. I will make sure that I have sufficient communication with my host(s), because they could be my initial portal to the knowledge of German lifestyle.
Besides these I will make sure that I practice at least three hours of piano on weekdays by renting a piano in Berlin to keep my piano going. I will also take weekly excursions to travel in the areas in northern Germany to explore the culture. At usual leisure times, I plan to interact with German friends.