Name: Brennan Dour
Location of Study: Munich, Germany
Program of Study: Carl Duisberg Centrum
Sponsors: Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures and Nanovic Institute for European Studies
A brief personal bio:
My name is Brennan Dour and I’ll be studying German in Munich this summer. I’m a rising sophomore at the Notre Dame pursuing a major in the Program of Liberal Studies with a prospective supplementary major in German. I’m originally from Bremerton, Washington. I’m a Midshipman in the Navy ROTC unit so I’m looking towards a military career following my time at Notre Dame. I’m very grateful for the opportunity to advance my language skills in Germany this summer.
Why this summer language abroad opportunity is important to me:
The SLA grant is important to me because it will allow me to bring my German skills to a greater level of proficiency. I love studying language in the classroom, but I feel that being fully immersed in German for an extended period of time is the next step necessary to take my speaking and comprehension to the next level. Increasing my German abilities will prove very helpful in my academic studies, since doing so will allow me to access the works of some of the world’s greatest authors, such as Kant, Goethe, Hesse, and Mann, in the original language. Examining these texts in their German forms will allow me to glean unique insights and better understand their content than if I were to only read them in translation. The degree of language ability I need to study such texts can only be achieved by spending time in Germany. Additionally, a working knowledge of German will open up unique opportunities in my future Naval career, such assignment to US European Command, or as a Defense Attach̩ in the US German embassy. As an ROTC student, my course schedule for the next three years is fairly locked in, and studying in Germany this summer will allow me to enroll in a higher level language course this Fall, giving me the ability to potentially earn either a minor or supplementary major.
What I hope to achieve as a result of this summer study abroad experience:
My main goal is to be conversational in German by the end of my time in Munich. I hope that I will be able to carry on a regular conversation with German speakers without stuttering or needing to ask for repetition, as well as having the ability to respond to others quickly. I’m also hoping to greatly increase my breadth of German vocabulary. I want to gain a greater knowledge of the German culture over this summer as well. Munich is one of the cultural capitals of Europe and offers incredible opportunities to immerse one’s self in the German culture through museums, churches, and architecture. The close proximity of Munich to a number of other German cities such as Nuremberg and Stuttgart, as well as Austria, will allow me to engage with a wide variety of German speakers on the weekends and thereby experience the culture on a deeper level than if I were to never leave Munich.
My specific learning goals for language and intercultural learning this summer:
1. Next semester I will be able to comfortably hold a German conversation with my professor on a broad range of subjects.
2. At the end of the Summer, I will be able to speak and write with the proper adjective endings.
3. At the end of the Summer, I will be able to read and understand a novel in German without using any translation resources.
4. At the end of the Summer, I will be able to discuss how Germans view a variety of world and cultural issues.
5. At the end of the Summer, I will be able to watch a film in German without the use of subtitles.
My plan for maximizing my international language learning experience: