Eckel, Theresa


Language: German

Location of Study: Schwäbisch Hall

Program of Study: Goethe Institut in Schwäbisch Hall

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

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A brief personal bio:

I am a freshman from Rochester, Minnesota, majoring in Political Science and minoring in Catholic Social Teaching. Although I am not a German major or minor, I intend to develop proficiency in the German language and a greater understanding of the country and its people. A liberal arts education challenges its students to tackle pressing societal issues and I believe that communication is the best way to understand and find effective solutions.

Why this summer language abroad opportunity is important to me:

At this time, I am considering a career in International Law and Human Rights. Germany has been a leader in this area and influenced how other countries approach this field. Language is one of the best vehicles for such exploration. By deeply engaging in the country and society, I hope to better understand the strengths, weaknesses, and unique insights of this influential country and culture. Language is one of the skills necessary for exploring this human library, as it will enable me to better appreciate the nuances of spoken and written word. Immersion is another, as it will allow me to more fully comprehend and intimately experience the Germany I seek to know better. The SLA award is not a destination, but rather a bridge to a more knowledgeable future.

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

After spending two months in Schwäbisch Hall, Germany, I hope develop the language skills necessary to enroll in a late intermediate or advanced German language course and I believe that the Goethe Institute will help me achieve this goal. Furthermore, this immersion experience will build a foundation for my understanding of German culture and people. I hope to develop confidence in navigating a foreign country, make new friends, and encounter new ideas and beliefs. I also hope to gain a greater awareness of how German culture has molded the nation’s history and politics over the course of time.

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

1. At the end of the summer, I will be able to speak, read, write, and listen at a level of proficiency equal to or exceeding Intermediate II of German language study at Notre Dame.
2. At the end of the summer, I will have developed a network of connections with Goethe students and local civilians whom I hope to keep in contact with for years to come.
3. At the end of the summer, I will be able to navigate German cities confidently through the use of public transportation and daily interactions with locals.
4. At the end of the summer, I will be able to communicate in German about current and historical differences in German and American lifestyle, culture, and politics.