I started UCLA as an engineering student, but soon found myself missing the conversational and collaborative environment of my high school German classes. So, I decided to take German 5 at UCLA. I liked it so much, I eventually took enough courses to have a minor, then decided not to stop until I had my secondary major in German. I did not set out to major in German, but ended up there simply because I truly enjoyed every course I took, always learned something new, and really appreciated the smaller class sizes that encouraged active discussion and debate.
What began as a fun break from my engineering courses progressed into a immensely rewarding journey into Germanic literature, cinema, history, linguistics, and politics. I gained a greater appreciation for other cultural perspectives not just from the subject matter, but also from my peers who came from a variety of countries and backgrounds. I am forever grateful I was part of a department with inspiring professors who offered diverse courses they were passionate about and who encouraged me to explore my own passions, including aerospace engineering, through German authors, films, and current events. I still find it incredibly rewarding when I can pick up classic novels by Kafka or read articles from German news sites in their original language. It’s true that German grammar can be rigid and strict, but learning the language in this welcoming community at UCLA actually opened me up to be more creative and allowed me to see the nuances and beauty of the German language and culture.