Name: Ryan Mas
Location of Study: Cologne, Germany
Program of Study: Carl Duisburg Centrum
Sponsors: Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures and Nanovic Institute for European Studies
A brief personal bio:
My name is Ryan Mas and I am a rising senior Theology and German double-major originally from West Bend, Wisconsin. I came to Notre Dame completely undecided in terms of my major, but after thoroughly enjoying the intellectual depth of both my theology and German classes freshman year, I decided that would be my course of study. In my free time, I enjoy playing piano, watching the Cubs, and watching the sunset.
Why this summer language abroad opportunity is important to me:
Continuing to improve my German language competency is critical for both my long- and short-term goals. The SLA will be an invaluable asset in the classroom my senior year as I enroll in German courses at the highest undergraduate level offered for my two remaining semesters. Additionally, a better knowledge of the German language will open up research opportunities for me in theology, as my interests in theology concentrate on 20th century theologians from Germany. Already last semester, Professor Gary Knoppers recommended a German theologian for an Old Testament research project on the book of Jonah, and only the original German essay on the topic was available. This summer experience will provide me with a stronger grasp of the German language and, in turn, give me greater access to research materials.
Beyond Notre Dame, this award will provide vital experience speaking the target language in Germany as I apply for and participate in postgraduate opportunities. I intend on applying for both the German ETA Fulbright Award and the US Teaching Assistantship in Austria. The TESOL minor and the additional language experience in Germany will provide me with both theoretical and practical knowledge applicable to my short-term post-graduation goals.
What I hope to achieve as a result of this summer study abroad experience:
I hope to significantly improve my German speaking and reading ability by the end of the summer. I would like to greatly expand my vocabulary so that I am able to use more precise terms in conversations in and out of the classroom. I would also like to improve my use of gender and case marking in order to sound more competent and speak more confidently. I would also like to improve my reading comprehension and speed so that I can digest German texts more efficiently in the classroom and while researching in German.
My specific learning goals for language and intercultural learning this summer:
1. At the end of the summer, I will be able to communicate with native speakers about complex and specialized theological topics such as asceticism, liturgy, and faith and reason.
2. At the end of the summer, I will be able to read and comprehend German texts at a speed closer to my English reading speed.
3. At the end of the summer, I will be able to demonstrate a greater competency of the culture, lifestyle, and history of the city of Cologne and of Germany as a whole.
My plan for maximizing my international language learning experience: