Gabrielle Scheder-Bieschin

I signed up for my first German class to better explore my German heritage, and it quickly became the best decision I made at UCLA. This is a department that is truly committed to its students and to teaching languages through a variety of topics – from business to linguistics to gender theory. There is something for everyone here.

The department is full of dedicated instructors who work hard to set students up for success. Learning isn’t confined to the classroom, and instructors host guest speakers, Kaffeestunde and numerous other events to help students learn with and from peers. With such support, learning a language becomes less overwhelming and much more engaging – and UCLA’s large campus starts to feel more like a tight-knit family.

Most importantly, your language studies do not exist in a vacuum. After all, understanding not just Angela Merkel’s words but their cultural and political context is key to becoming an informed global citizen. Learning the business environment and how to apply to German companies? Even better!

My most memorable example of this commitment to learning in context was my independent study class with Dr. Tarnawska Senel. With her guidance, I was able to combine my German studies with my career goal of working in sports. Over the quarter, I conducted research on the German sports industry and turned my findings into a series of essays on the topic. As I applied for jobs, this research paper was a compelling conversation starter for interviewers – and even helped me land my first job!

I cannot speak highly enough of my experience with the Germanic Languages department. Whether a student wishes to major, minor or simply take a few classes here, they will find they have made a great choice. I graduated from UCLA with not just a fluency in German, but also greater appreciation for my heritage, a better understanding of world affairs and a group of like-minded friends with whom I still keep in touch. I am extremely thankful for the lessons I have learned and the family I have made through this department.