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Why Learn German

German is a user-friendly language!
Of the languages commonly taught in the U.S., German is the most closely related to English, so many German words and sentences are easy to understand.

Freund = friend
Wasser = water
Apfel = apple
Buch = book
Mutter = mother
Milch = milk
Vater = father
Katze = cat

Just compare:
Spanish: Tu puedes apprender
French: Tu peux apprendre
German: Du kannst lernen (!)

Did you know...?
German culture has had a substantial impact on the United States:

  • According to the 1990 census, more Americans (25%) can trace their ancestry to Germany than to any other country.
  • More than 60 million Americans are at least partly of German heritage.
  • Many Americans speak German, including: ex-President Clinton and his daughter Chelsea, statesman Henry Kissinger, General John Shalikashvili, California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Hollywood star Sandra Bullock, opera singer Jessye Norman, architect Philip Johnson, and TV stars Susan Lucchi and Eric Braeden.

You can connect with 200 million speakers worldwide!
Learning German opens new worlds and fosters understanding among peoples and cultures. It also opens the door to cultural enrichment.

  • German is among the top ten most commonly spoken native languages in the world. German is the most widely spoken language in Europe.
  • German is an official language in 7 European countries: Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Belgium and Italy.
  • After English, German is the second most used language on Internet.
  • One of every 10 books published in the world is published in German.
  • German is widely used as a business and scientific language in Europe, including Russia, and parts of Asia.
  • 20 million people in the world are currently learning German as a foreign language.
  • 68% of all Japanese students study German.
  • Well-known contemporary German-speakers include: tennis players Steffi Graf and Boris Becker, NBA basketball player Dirk Nowitzki, racecar driver Michael Schumacher, film directors Wolfgang Petersen, Roland Emmerich, Tom Tykwer, Michael Haneke and Wim Wenders, actress Franka Potente, music group Rammstein, punk rocker Nina Hagen, artist Gerhard Richter, Las Vegas entertainers Siegfried and Roy, fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, and supermodels Claudia Schiffert, Heidi Klum and Gisele Bundchen.

Did you know...?
American history has been shaped by Germans:

  • General Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben fought for American independence.
  • Politician Carl Schurz was an adviser to Abraham Lincoln.
  • Heinrich E. Steinway built high quality pianos.
  • Architect Johann August Roebling designed the Brooklyn Bridge.
  • Immigrant Levi Strauss created the ultimate American icon, blue jeans.

Learning German helps you get ahead in school!
Choose German and:

  • Better your SAT, ACT or GRE scores.
  • Improve your chances for college or graduate school admission.
  • Open doors to international scholarships and internships (Germany alone awards approximately 2000 grants annually to study in Germany).
  • German is widely used as a business and scientific language. A knowledge of German is also invaluable to the study of philosophy, literature and the other arts, including film, music and architecture.

Did you know...?
At many American colleges and universities, German is the world language required most often. At the University of California,for example:

56 majors require or recommend German,
43 majors require or recommend French,
21 majors require or recommend Spanish,
7 majors require or recommend Japanese.

Among the many academic programs requiring or recommending German are: Anatomy, Art History, Biochemistry, Biology, Biomedical Studies, Genetics, Linguistics, Logic and Methodology of Science, Molecular Biology, Music, Near Eastern Studies, Philosophy, Physical Science, Physics, Physiology, Religious Studies, Zoology.

Learning German gives you an edge in the job market!
Foreign language study will prepare you to become a competitive job candidate in the new millennium. German, in particular, can be your ticket to career advancement, because:

  • Germany is the most powerful country in Europe politically, financially and economically.
  • For those in business or service fields, German is a real asset, since Germany is the fifth largest trading partner of the U.S.
  • German is a key business language in the European Union and in the rapidly growing markets of Central and Eastern Europe.
  • More than 750 major U.S. firms are doing business in Germany.
  • 1100 German companies do business in the U.S. and their presence continues to grow.
  • More than 25% of all foreign tourists visiting the U.S. come from German-speaking countries, spending more than $37 billion annually around the world.

Did you know...?

  • In a 1994 survey conducted by the German-American Chamber of Commerce, 65% of all respondents stated they were looking specifically for German/English bilingual skills when hiring new employees.
  • German companies in the U.S. pay German-speaking employees premium salaries.
  • Every year hundreds of American students complete paid internships with German companies in the U.S. and abroad.
  • Well-known German companies include: Daimler-Benz, Volkswagen, Porsche, BMW, Puma, Adidas, Siemens, Bose, Miele, Lowenbrau.
  • Austrian companies include: Swarovski, Atomic Skis, Red Bull.
  • Swiss companies include: Nestle, Swatch, TAG Heuer.

[Information primarily from Goethe-Institute and German Information websites]