More than a Language

Oct 19, 2012

German club membersHeidelberg has a vibrant German heritage that is displayed proudly in our traditions, but that doesn’t stop confusion about the campus German Club.
“Some people think we only speak German at meetings and events, but that’s not true,” said April Davidson. “This club is more about the German culture and we won’t exclude someone who doesn’t know the language.”

April is co-president of the German Club. She spent the previous year studying in Germany and is now back and excited to share her experience. In her time abroad she enjoyed meeting new people, trying new food, and experiencing a different culture. “I really liked traveling by train,” she said. “Public transportation is not the same over there.”

April has planned social events to promote German customs, history, and of course food. April’s favorite German dish is a cheesy noodle dish from southern Germany call Kasespatlze. “I know a market where I can get the ingredients to make it here,” she said. “I love it!”

Upcoming events include a presentation on German culture on October 27 and a weekend trip to Chicago in December. They will visit the famous Christmas market, the Goethe (German author) Institute, the National Day of the Dead museum, plus plenty of free time for students to explore.

Stella Wancke is the other co-president of the German Club. Stella is a German exchange student here for the year. She is majoring in American Studies in Germany and this is her study abroad experience. There are four German students on campus this year.

Stella’s experience is great for her and for Heidelberg students. She can talk about her own perspective of both cultures. “In Germany, clubs aren’t a big deal,” she said. “There are honor societies, but not a lot of social fun groups like there are here.” Students don’t think about our food as foreign, but Stella has tried a lot of new things. “I love sweet potatoes,” she said. “You can’t find them in Germany.” It’s also hard to find peanut butter, root beer, and pumpkin pie.

Both April and Stella want the campus community to get involved with their events. Campus is invited to a Stammtisch every Sunday at 6pm. Stammtisch is a German word meaning a gathering of talking and eating. The German club holds an open gathering usually in Fireside for people to get together, talk, and eat.

The club also hosts movie nights every other Thursday. They alternate between a German movie and an American movie. Don’t worry. There are always English subtitles. Yesterday they showed The Dark Knight in the Brown Hall basement.

April stresses that students shouldn’t let fear of the language stop them from attending events. “You don’t have to know one word of German to be involved,” she said. That’s a good thing because it looks like getting involved with the German club could be a great idea.