The University of Vermont
Living/Learning Center Programs
The German House Program has been designed to provide students the opportunity to deepen their understanding and appreciation of the German language and culture in ways not commonly possible in a traditional classroom setting and timetable. Through a program of films, discussions, guest lecturers, group meals, excursions, festivities and other cultural and social activities, an environment is created in which German is not only encouraged but becomes a medium of expressing the students' personal interests. In the past, the German House has proved to be both a good preparation for study abroad in German-speaking countries as well as a means for students to retain fluency upon returning to UVM.
With the aid of the faculty program director, students can reinforce language learning and share
their experiences and knowledge of German culture. German House residents traditionally have identified personal and social aspects -the group spirit and the quality of life in the suites - as being among the strongest features of the program.
The basic objectives of the German House Program activities are to deepen students' awareness of German culture and to further their ability to express themselves in spoken and written German. The process through which these objectives will be met is thus cumulative, rather than end-goal oriented.
Language learning as an ongoing process.
1. All formal group meetings are conducted in German.
2. German House students will take a German course offering appropriate to their level of speaking ability.
3. As part of their fulfillment of the one academic credit awarded each semester for German House activities, students will write four essays on specific subjects and give oral presentations on subjects of their choice.
4. It is the student's own willingness to speak and use German which will determine the value of the preceding "action steps" of each participant.
Promoting awareness of German culture.
1. Screening of German films and discussions of German news events will be part of our group meetings from time to time. In addition, presentations will be conducted by individual group members on topics related to German culture and civilization. A new option would be to make use of the wide array of information on German-speaking countries, including on-line newspapers and magazines, available on the World Wide Web.
2. Given the student exchange program between UVM and the University of Augsburg, Germany, some of our student guests or professors visiting from Augsburg could be invited to share information and impressions about student life on our respective campuses.
3. As occasions present themselves, German House members will attend off-campus events relating to German culture, such as concert performances of German/Austrian composers, dinners with members of Burlington's German Club, or conferences/lectures held at other universities.
4. German celebrations and festivities will be held during the course of the academic year to encourage socializing among German House residents, German Department faculty, and non-resident students interested in German studies.
It is important to note that the program is listed as faculty designed. Nevertheless, the students living at the Center will design and articulate their own goals. There will be an ongoing discussion on how to broaden the span of activities and to increase the participation of everyone living in the German House. It will be the task of the faculty director to provide direction and guidance in the implementation of these ideas, including publicity for German House events in German classes and through the German and Russian Department's mailing list.