German On-Campus Day at the University of Reading

On 12th December, students studying GCSE German had the opportunity to go to Reading University for a 'German on-campus day' to discuss migration and identity in Germany. 

We started the day by discussing how we would define identity and what many people may feel when they have mixed ethnic backgrounds. We then learnt about the ‘Wirtschaftswunder’, also known as the economic miracle, where, shortly after the Second World War, Germany invited many people from Turkey to join their workforce to help revive their economy. These Turkish workers were known as ‘Gastarbeiter’ (guest workers).  We watched a film, Almanya (2011) which followed the life story of a ‘Gastarbeiter’. The film illustrated his struggles to get used to German customs and how his successive generations tried to find their individual identities. 

In the afternoon, we had a translation workshop where we looked at a German poem and discussed how the meaning can be interpreted or warped when translated into a different language (in this case, English). The day ended with a talk about what it is like to study a language at a higher level at university.  This helped us to realise how learning a language isn’t just about vocabulary and grammar, but also about the culture and history of that country.

It was an amazing experience and I can proudly say that we all enjoyed the experience!

By Shivani - Year 11