Through a new partnership, students taking German at the University of North Georgia will travel next summer to any of 16 locations in Germany to learn with the premier organization promoting the study of the language globally.
The university on Sept. 7 signed an agreement with the Goethe-Institut, which has 159 centers in 80 countries, including one in Atlanta. The local Goethe-Zentrum was integral to facilitating the partnership, the first in which the Munich-based institute is allowing American university students to directly enroll in courses for language credit, according to a university news release.
Before heading to Germany, North Georgia students will have taken introductory courses, enabling them to focus on higher-level learning and cultural immersion while on the ground. After the program, they’ll be placed in internships with universities, nonprofits and military organizations already allied with North Georgia.
The move is the latest step in North Georgia’s quest to broaden its portfolio of offerings in German, which is increasing in popularity partly thanks to the growing presence of German companies in the region.
Miriam Bruns, executive director of the Goethe-Zentrum in Atlanta, said the center was impressed by the North Georgia’s strong focus on German instruction.
“This agreement is just the beginning of the partnership between the Goethe Atlanta and the University of North Georgia,” Ms. Bruns said in a statement.
Goethe Atlanta has been one of many institutions promoting broader uptake of German courses at the high school and college levels as the influx of German manufacturers in Georgia and the Southeast has led to significant demand for speakers of the language. The Georgia Department of Education, along with partners like the German-American Chamber of Commerce in Atlanta, is exploring ways to adapt the German model of apprenticeship to an American context, better connecting companies here with skilled labor while providing opportunities for Georgia vocational students.
North Georgia has full-time instructors teach 145 students, and officials hope to eventually add a German major to complement a current modern languages bachelor’s program that offers concentrations in Arabic and Chinese.
In the meantime, partnerships like the Goethe agreement and other programs are needed provide advanced instruction and vital opportunities for students to apply what they’ve been taught.
The university earlier this summer took a group of dual-enrolled high school students to Berlin as part of the Federal Service Language Academy, a federally backed program for intensive learning in languages that in are high demand in the U.S. military, intelligence services and diplomatic corps.
The FSLA is generally hosted at the UNG campus each summer, bringing high schoolers into what organizers have called a “language boot camp” for three weeks of instruction, usually conducted almost exclusively in target languages like Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, Korean, Portuguese and Russian.
The FSLA study abroad will next year be held in France. Learn more about the program here.