Das Konzept – concept

Ger 497 (Directed Studies)
Germany Today: Science, Technology & Culture J-term

Why are we interested in offering a Winter Session course?
For students enrolled in the rigorous five-year dual Bachelor degree International Engineering Program and the International Business Program it is crucial to get some short-term immersion experience in the country in which they will spend their senior year. This short-term, faculty-led exposure to the country whose language they are studying, will allow them to experience the context of their language and engineering/business studies, opportunity to explore the culture and technology environment and communicate with their budding language skills. Retaining first year engineering students is not an easy task, and any incentive and excitement about their studies and future internship sites you can provide to them will increase the rate of students you retain. In addition, students will feel as part of a cohort, a learning community of some sort, enabling them to make friends with those with whom they will go abroad later on, and to feel comfortable in the foreign environment.

Why offer course in the winter session?
Engineering students’ curricula, and especially dual Bachelor degree curricula are jam-packed during the academic year; hence any opportunity to offer courses during the summer or J-term are most welcome. Students can then really immerse themselves into the language and culture without having to constantly switch their attention from science to math to general education to language content. In fact, they will experience all those topics within the context of the country they will eventually study and intern in for a year, so they will learn content within context.
Furthermore, accompanying faculty have the time to really get acquainted with the students as advisees. It has been proven that close contact and ample opportunity to talk to an advisor is key in raising the retention rate of first-year engineering students.

Target population for the course
The target population includes first-year and sophomore STEM students (science, technology, engineering, math), as well as pharmacy, and business majors who also pursue learning German, either as part of their dual degree program, or as part of their language requirement. The earlier we can get students excited about staying their course (double majoring in German and another major, the better!) The German IEP has offered short-term study tours to Germany for many years, but not as part of a three-credit bearing J-term course. The study tours of the past have been an instrumental part of keeping GIEP/GIBP students excited about the program over a long time. Taking a year of a foreign language is one thing, but it needs a lot of persistence and determination to keep studying the language all the way to the 5th year to complete a second major! We expect that the more structured and credit bearing Germany Today J-Term course will attract even more first and second-year students to join us in January.

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