What Our Students Think

Current Students

Rebekah Slodounik, entered in 2009 - "Since the very first graduate level class I attended at the University of Virginia’s Department of Germanic Languages & Literatures, my intellectual curiosity has been promoted.  One of the many strengths of the department lies in the professors’ ability to train, nurture, and encourage rigorous academic scholarship while at the same time allowing students the flexibility to pursue their intellectual interests.  The professors truly encourage graduate students to engage critically with the texts and to use their own intellectual insight rather than solely focusing on what has already been said in scholarship about the texts.  In my own time at U.Va., I have been fortunate enough to take a wide variety of coursework in the German department that has provided an excellent foundation in the field of German literature.  In addition, the strong theoretical background stressed by the department allows students to become well versed in the study of literature as a whole.  Furthermore, the German department fosters interdisciplinary collaboration with other departments and programs, especially the Center for German Studies.  I am involved with the Jewish Studies program and have also taken classes in the English department, Comparative Literature program, and Teaching Resource Center." 


Beatrice Waegner, entered in 2011 - "After spending a wonderful year in Charlottesville as a graduate exchange student from the University of Mannheim, I decided to stay at UVA to pursue my PhD. The faculty and other graduate students were very welcoming and helped me find my place in the department. In my colleagues and professors I found an appreciative and engaged audience. With their help, I have been able to more thoroughly pursue my research interests. The academic opportunities in the German Department are without equal: no obtrusive hierarchies, a friendly community, small classes tailored to the research interests of the graduate students; and I should not forget to mention a library which leaves nothing to be desired. After having studied German Literature in Mannheim, I got the chance to combine my academic roots with new approaches and an expanded canon of literary texts.   

When teaching German classes here at UVA, the rather abstract concept of cross-cultural Bildung comes to life for me: exchanging ideas about literature, questioning country-specific peculiarities and having had the opportunity to direct the annual German play have taught me more about the United States, Germany and my native language than any university class. This combination of an excellent scholarly environment, rewarding teaching experiences, and working alongside other gifted people have made my time at UVA fruitful and enjoyable." 


Kathryn Schroeder, entered in 2011 - "One of my favorite parts of being at the University of Virginia is getting to teach and interact with my students. I love how bright and motivated they are to learn, which pushes me to make my lessons as interesting and engaging as possible. I feel that they give me a lot of good feedback, and really help me to improve my teaching. Finally, I just enjoy the experience of watching their language skills advance and their confidence with the language increase.

I too have found that my own knowledge of and confidence in my subject has increased exponentially since I have been here, in large part because of the extremely knowledgeable and committed faculty. I feel that I have really been able to explore my interests and broaden my knowledge of the German language, literature, and intellectual history. I like the intimate feel of our small department and the fact that I can engage with others in the department on a wide variety of topics. It feels like a small close-knit community, quite the opposite of a large impersonal institute, where no one really knows who you are."


Geraldine Suter, entered in  2011 - "The UVa German Department has exceeded my graduate school expectations. As a member of this department I feel I am part of a community of professors and graduate students, who collaborate with and support each other. Faculty consider graduate student interests when planning course schedules and designing new courses, allow graduate students to shape and create undergraduate language courses, and assist in organizing the annual graduate student conference. Graduate courses are academically challenging, well-structured and -taught, as well as thought-provoking and relevant to current debates in the field. The faculty express genuine interest in their students’ work and always have an open ear. Our German professors not only produce cutting-edge academic work, but are also approachable and always open to discussion. They offer valuable feedback on coursework, and advice on practical matters, while providing professional insights, e.g., involving students in the editing and publication processes of their works. The German department environment fosters academic growth in a close-knit atmosphere, in which I have consistently felt supported and challenged."


Danielle Pisechko, entered in 2011 - "Teaching has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life – and teaching German at the University of Virginia is particularly satisfying. The student body here always seems highly motivated to learn and interested in improvement, which makes teaching them not only easier, but really quite fun.  However, being able to help students develop new cultural awareness while watching them learn the language skills required to actually interact with that culture is only one positive side of my graduate experience. The professors in the German department at UVa are encouraging and inspirational – each new seminar brings interesting insight into literature, interpretation, and theory." 


Frank Hall, entered in 2013 - "Born and raised in Virginia, I grew up hearing about what a wonderful university UVA is. In studying Modern Foreign Languages and working with exchange students I constantly heard from faculty, both at the high school and university level, what an amazing and impressive Germanic languages department UVA has. It was these reasons that drew me to pursue my passion for German at the University of Virginia, and I have not been disappointed. The faculty and fellow graduate students here are of the highest quality in regards to knowledge, professionalism, and approachability. The community is close and friendly and I look forward to the opportunity to expand and learn in this wonderful environment."


Ani Tramblian, entered in 2013 - "The University of Virginia’s graduate program in Germanic Languages & Literatures is a comprehensive and well-rounded program that uses its strength in comparative literature and theory to expose graduates to many realms of the Germanic world. I am happy I chose UVa because here I have the opportunity to teach German to undergraduate students and also explore teaching methodology. Graduates in the department are encouraged to get involved in interdisciplinary studies, and professors are very approachable." 


Former Students