For many reasons German is an important language to know. In Europe it is the most widely spoken language with over 100 million native speakers in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Luxemburg and Liechtenstein, where it is an official language, and in Northern Italy, eastern Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, eastern France, parts of Poland, Russia and Rumania as well as in other parts of Europe. It is also an important second language, the third most popular language taught worldwide and after English, the second most popular language in Europe and in Japan.
Germany presently has the third strongest economy in the world and is one of the top export countries. This economic strength indicates that there are employment opportunities for people who know German. German tourists are to be found in all parts of the world; in the U.S.A. they are the third largest group behind Great Britain and Japan. In the U.S.A the largest single heritage group is the German group, with over 42 million Americans claiming German ancestry. In book publishing German holds the third position behind Chinese and English.
German-speaking countries possess also a rich cultural heritage, which one can readily see in literature through such writers as Goethe, Thomas Mann, Kafka, Hesse, to name a few, and in music through composers such as Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Brahms, Schubert and many more. In architecture, art, philosophy, psychology and the natural sciences Germans have made many important contributions. For study and research in the Humanities, the Fine Arts, the Social Sciences and the Natural Sciences knowledge of German can be not only helpful but also essential.
Sweet Briar offers majors in German and in German Studies and a minor in German. A German major concentrates on language and literature and a German Studies major allows a student to combine her interests with other disciplines. The student considering such a program or planning to study abroad should consult with Dr. Horwege as soon a possible to assure proper preparation,
The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures recommends participation in a Junior Year Abroad Program or a residence of six weeks or more in a summer school where the exclusive use of the foreign language is required. Courses taken in programs abroad must be evaluated and approved by the Head of the German Program before credits are granted toward the major or minor. A student who begins the study of German at Sweet Briar will still find it possible to fulfill the major requirements by arranging her courses in consultation with her major professor.
Departmental Web pages: http://www.german.sbc.edu