Meeting Germany and Austria in Chicago
Last May, nine students in Johannes Strohschänk’s German 316 class (German for Professional Communication II) traveled to Chicago in order to visit the German American Chamber of Commerce, the Austrian Consulate General, and the Goethe Institute. At the Chamber, they were greeted by the director who introduced them to the agency’s important role of supporting and strengthening the—already strong—business ties between Germany and the American Midwest. Our students were invited to post their résumés on the Chamber’s website, allowing the Chamber’s approx. 800 German-American member companies to view them for internships or potential hiring.
The Austrian Consul General welcomed our students with a detailed presentation of the Consulate’s responsibilities and activities, followed by a lively discussion about Austria’s sensitive geopolitical role between Europe’s north, south, east and west.
During their visit with the Goethe-Institute, the students learned about the institute’s mission to familiarize the Chicago region with Germany’s culture and language. On this occasion, the students proudly received their certificate, "Deutsch für den Beruf" (German for the Professions), after having taken a challenging exam back in Eau Claire the week before. (UW-Eau Claire is one of the country’s few official test centers for this internationally recognized certificate.)
At each of the three visits, which were conducted entirely in German, our students were complimented on their fluent proficiency, a great boost for their self-esteem!
The day also included some sightseeing and ended with a special dinner at Berghoff’s, a well-known German restaurant. It was a long day, but everyone agreed that it was well worth their while, both professionally and culturally.
In fact, the annual field trip to Chicago has become a tradition with the German 316 class, an eagerly awaited reward for the students’ hard work toward the coveted German business language certificate.