My personal experience with the German language and the German culture began as an immigrant in 1990, when I was two years old. My family and I arrived as refugees from Iran to Germany in 1990. In Germany, we lived for seventeen years until we moved to the United States in 2007. Thus, I finished my high school education in Germany and graduated from the “Gymnasium” with the “Abitur” degree.
After being accepted as an English major to UCLA, I learnt about the Germanic department. Speaking to various faculty members, I learnt about the opportunity to add German as another major. I was delighted that the Germanic department was offering various courses with different subject-matters. Given that I was already fluent in German, I did not take any language classes. Rather, I took courses focusing on German literature, such as Goethe (which was taught in German), linguistics, as well as culture. The content of the courses challenged me intellectually. While I had grown up in Germany and had extensively studied these various subject-matters, I concluded that each course taken allowed me to learn something new, and develop a new perspective about the German culture, language, and literature from the point of view of a non-German resident.
On a personal level, I was happy that I could keep my ties to Germany via the Germanic Department at UCLA. In particular, I had the pleasure to learn from excellent professors, with whom I have even developed long lasting friendships. On a professional level, I was challenged to write an honors thesis. The challenging research conducted for that project is now aiding me in my current role as a law school student concerning research for law.
All in all, I am proud and honored that I have had the opportunity to be part of the Germanic department at UCLA, make friends for life, and above all grow both personally and intellectually through my studies and experience.