Madison Bollenbacher

Recipient Profile


Language: English

Location of Study: Dresden, Germany

Program of Study: Geothe Institut

Sponsors: The Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures and the College of Arts and Letters

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A brief personal bio:

My name is Maddie Bollenbacher, and I am a rising junior Political Science major. I grew up in Dayton, Ohio with my twin sister who is currently attending Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Though I came to the University of Notre Dame knowing that I wanted to be a Political Science major, I had little idea about what I wanted to do or where my specific interests lay. After studying at Notre Dame for almost two years, I have found an interest in International Politics and hope to further this interest while studying in Dresden, Germany this summer.

Why this summer language abroad opportunity is important to me:

For me, becoming more fluent in German is important to both my long and short-term goals. After coming to Notre Dame, I realized that I wanted to study abroad during my spring semester in Germany as a part of Notre Dame’s Heidelberg Program. For this program, it is required that students complete language courses through Intermediate German II. However, as a student who entered Notre Dame as a sophomore through the Gateway Program at Holy Cross College, I was unable to study German during my freshman year. Through the SLA Grant, I will be able to meet this requirement. Further, since studying at Notre Dame I have developed an interest in International Politics, and have considered pursuing a job in the State Department – for which knowing more than one language would be important. With the SLA Grant, I will come a little closer to reaching this goal.

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

This summer while in Germany, I hope to greatly improve my German language skills – especially my speaking skills. While I hope to improve my German comprehension and writing skills, speaking is the main category in which I hope to improve. As a current German student, my listening and reading comprehension skills are much further ahead of both my writing and speaking skills. While in Germany in an immersive program, I hope that my speaking skills will grow from beginner to intermediate level, hopefully become more natural and instinctive. Additionally, I hope to gain a greater understanding of German language and culture which a classroom alone is not so equipped to provide.

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

1. By the end of the summer, I will be able to speak, read, write, and listen at a level of proficiency equal to at least one semester beyond my current German placement at Notre Dame.

2. By the end of the summer, I will be able to read and comprehend a full book of average difficulty in the German language.

3. By the end of the semester, I will be able to write in the German language at a proficiency level closer to that of my English writing.