Chen, Yanlin


Language: German

Location of Study: Munich, Germany

Program of Study: Carl Duisberg Center

Sponsors: Nanovic Institute for European Studies, the College of Arts and Letters, Department of German, and the Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures


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A brief personal bio: 

My name is Yanlin “Elaine” Chen. I come from Shanghai, China. I am a rising sophomore and a philosophy major in the College of Arts and Letters. I have been learning German under the guidance of Professor Weber for a year. In my spare time, I like reading, writing, watching movies, doing yoga and traveling.

Why this summer language abroad opportunity is important to me:

Learning German will help me realize my dream of becoming a professor and researcher in philosophy. I aspire to read the original texts of many German philosophers like Kant, Nietzsche, Marx, and Arendt, which is critical to understanding their thoughts accurately. The unique, rigorous structure of German language plays a significant role in breeding the preciseness of its philosophy. My study in German will undoubtedly help me read fluently and grasp the essence of the thinker’s works. I am also looking into a semester-abroad program at Heidelberg University, so studying in Munich will enable me to visit the university and help me make the decision. The SLA award will give me the opportunity to enhance my German language skills, understand German culture better, and ultimately conduct my philosophy research with the help of language proficiency. I will be able to improve my oral skills largely in this immersive language environment by practicing with both my class and my host family. I will also be exposed to a profound, diverse German culture in some world-renowned museums in the charming city of Munich. Those experiences will prepare me for the advanced German academic work in Notre Dame in the future.

What I hope to achieve as a result of this summer study abroad experience:

I am going to take the course German Intensive Course 24+6 at the Carl Duisberg Training Center Munich for six weeks. The lessons have three parts: the intensive group course consisting of 24 TU/week (TU=45 minutes), 6 TU/week supervised tutoring program in the “Lernstudio,” and the Afternoon Program for activities. Being immersed in training with native speakers will be very beneficial to improving my pronunciation. Frequent communication with tutors in “Lernstudio” will not only improve my pronunciation efficiently but also cultivate the social aspect of foreign language learning. In addition, I hope to get immersed in the diverse and dynamic culture in Munich, experiencing the best aspects of German culture. In short, I intend to be able to communicate with locals fluently and have the knowledge of basic German culture and customs by the end of the summer. I also hope to acquire the ability to read some German newspaper and articles after this summer’s study.

My specific learning goals for language and intercultural learning this summer:

1. At the end of the summer, I will be able to communicate in German with native speakers on everyday topics with less hesitation and more confidence.

2. At the end of the summer, I will be able to minimize grammatical errors in both speaking and writing in German and maximize the variation of sentence structure I use in the process.

3. At the end of the summer, I will be able to read German newspaper and children’s books with comfort, and hopefully start to read some German literature.

4. At the end of the summer, I will be able to improve my German listening ability by constant practice. 5. At the end of the summer, I will be able to have a better understanding of German culture and customs and also engage in more discussions about them.