Hello, everyone!

Firstly, I would like to congratulate all members of this year’s graduating class at Skidmore. You all are incredible, and I wish you the best of luck for the future! 🙂

Things are starting to wind down in my IES courses, but my university classes are really picking up the pace. As I said in an earlier blog post, all classes are in German. However, all of the readings for my EU class are in English. This is somehow more challenging for me because it forces me to translate my thoughts from English into German, rather than staying in one language. It makes the readings a lot easier, but the amount of thought is practically doubled. Studying in German has made me a lot more conscious of what English learners in the U.S. are going through. My German is advanced, but I still have trouble understanding things and articulating myself in certain situations. On top of that, I chose to come here. People who go abroad to live and study full time deserve so much respect! Another thing that this experience is making me aware of is my status as a native English speaker. The readings for this class are in English, and that’s obviously great news for me. However, not everyone gets that privilege and here in Germany, I am constantly aware of it. English has made a big impact on modern German, so I hear English everywhere. It must be very confusing for someone who can’t speak the language. Also, I can exist in an international environment and not have to worry about getting my point across. I am very glad that I can speak German, but this is the first time that I have truly been confronted with my privilege in this way.

At my internship this week, I gave a presentation to one of the classes about Chicago, my hometown. After I was done speaking, the students were allowed to ask me questions. As was expected, a lot of the questions were political in nature. This was such an interesting discussion because I got to understand things from the German perspective, as well. They even let me answer a couple of questions in German so that I could practice my skills! I also helped the younger students with the Simple Past tense, something that native English speakers don’t ever have to worry about doing. The kids are really enthusiastic about learning English! When it comes to my German, I’m still working on improving my spontaneity while speaking… I have a tendency to think about the grammar when I have to speak with someone, which kind of slows down the conversation. Speaking of German, I should probably get back to working on my final project for my language course… Haha.

Thanks for reading!

~Derrick 🙂