Name: Jay David Miller
Location of Study: Mannheim, Germany
Program of Study: Goethe Institut
Sponsors: Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures
A brief personal bio:
I am currently an English PhD student at the University of Notre Dame specializing in colonial American literature, with particular interest in the political and theological backgrounds informing the ways colonial American writers imagined their relationship to the land. Prior to my studies at Notre Dame I completed an MA in English at the Pennsylvania State University, and a BA in English and Politics at George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon.
Why this summer language abroad opportunity is important to me:
While the traditional study of colonial American literature often begins with Puritans in New England, my point of departure is the writing that was produced in the Middle colonies during the seventeenth century, which includes literature written by a substantial population of German immigrants. This literature, which includes manuscript poetry, devotional writing, and autobiographical forms such as diaries, has not be widely studied. By attaining excellent German reading skills I will be able to include this German language literature in my dissertation, and read scholarship written in German. I also hope to begin developing my German conversation skills so that eventually I will be able to interact with scholars in the German academy. This will enable my research to use the broadest possible frames of analysis in collaboration with both English- and German-speaking scholars.
What I hope to achieve as a result of this summer study abroad experience:
My goal is to develop my German reading skills from beginner to advanced intermediate, and my conversation skills from beginner to intermediate. Learning German will be the sole purpose of my time abroad, but there will also be benefits of access to regional German culture (many Germans immigrated to America from southwest Germany where I will study).
My specific learning goals for language and intercultural learning this summer:
- At the end of the summer, I will be able to efficiently read and translate seventeenth- and eighteenth-century German primary texts as well as contemporary German scholarship.
- At the end of the summer, I will be able to carry on basic conversations with native German speakers
- At the end of the summer, I will gain familiar with German culture and history, particularly in the southwestern region of Germany where I will be living.
My plan for maximizing my international language learning experience:
After completing a “German for Reading” graduate course at Notre Dame this spring, during the summer I will be participate in two consecutive four-week intensive German courses offered by the Goethe Institut in Mannheim, Germany. The Goethe Institut is the language learning institute of the Federal Republic of Germany, which employs the most recent research in teaching and learning to integrate classroom lessons, self-study activities, and practice into systematic language learning programs. These courses offer the maximal amount of language learning in the short period of time I will be in Germany.