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California State University Sacramento
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Why Study German?

The reasons for studying German are as diverse as the students who actually do so. German is spoken in three countries with widely diverse cultural, political and economic traditions: the Federal Republic of Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
As a language of business, diplomacy, and tourism in Western Europe, it stands second only to English. Much of the language’s current importance stems from the Federal Republic’s economic status. Economically the most important member of the European Union, it has the third-highest GNP in the world, is the second highest creditor nation, and every year occupies one of the top three spots among exporting countries.

There is the challenge and pleasure of mastering the German language. There opens up to the student of German a fascinating literary tradition. In becoming acquainted with a culture that is central to the history, economy, and civilization of the West, many students will simultaneously be deepening their knowledge of their own heritage. As a student of German one develops skills in critical analysis as well as spoken and written communication that will prepares one for a wide range of graduate studies and careers.

The study of German is a classic “liberal arts” major, comparable to the study of such subjects as English, Philosophy, or Sociology. While pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in German does not lead directly into a specific career track in the way that studying, for example, Engineering, Nursing, or Accounting might, it does stimulate both creative thinking and a contrastive outlook on American life. Experience abroad is regarded as a plus by many potential employers, who fully expect to provide specialized training to their new employees and are therefore primarily interested in your adaptability and overall intellectual organizational, and communicative abilities.

For graduate work and careers in the natural and social sciences, as well as in linguistics, comparative literature, history, art history, and music, facility with German is a decided advantage. With a BA in German you will be prepared for a number of different careers—a liberal arts background, especially in German, is a very strong plus in such diverse fields as communications, foreign trade, international banking, the tourist industry, libraries, archives, the book trade, film studies and/or film production.
German majors can successfully go on to careers in such diverse fields as law, computing, travel, journalism, theater, health professions, international business, high school or university teaching, the ministry, the military, and government service.

Click on these links for additional discussions of "Why study German?"
Why study German by Prof. Goulding, CSU Chico
Why study German? Goethe Institut

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Last updated by 7/21/2006 (ls)