DSU German Club hopes to revive passion for Modern Languages department
By Aaron Guillen, Staff Reporter
Diversity has always been an important aspect at Douglas College, and one of the newest clubs has paved a way to appreciate language and culture even more.
Students in German courses—or any who are interested in learning a new language—have an opportunity to learn further about German language and culture. Reah Arora and Nicole Thom, President and Vice President of the DSU German Club, believe that this modern language deserves more appreciation.
“We are language buffs and language is something that is important,” said Aurora. “German is spoken officially in six countries, and is the official language in three of them. German is good to have on your roster. It’s like learning Mandarin; it just makes sense.”
In the Winter 2016 semester, both women were enrolled in MODL 1131, Basic German 1, and found that they didn’t have any additional support to learn the language after their weekly speech labs. As they moved onto Basic German 2 and the student pool narrowed, both found it necessary to create a space to study the language. As a German study group, Aurora and Thom ran the collective for the past year and have now opened it to all students—not only to increase awareness of the language, but in the aim of boosting all MODL courses.
“Not only is [the club] for personal interest, studying, and practicing, it’s beneficial for the school to draw attention to the Modern Language department, which is in decline,” said Thom.
“Here you can’t get a diploma in modern languages,” said Aurora. “It’s imperative that we create a need for it again so that the school will identify it as something that should be a diploma.”
In addition, the club hopes to find student interest from UBC and SFU, fellow institutions that run German courses. Thom expressed her concern that such courses would diminish in the future.
“Eventually, our goal is to find a way to campaign [for any student] to study here at Douglas to take German. It’s much cheaper and the class sizes are small,” said Thom.
While learning German in the club, Aurora hopes to break stereotypes.
“We love bringing on native Germans because they are our access to culture. Those in Basic German 1 or not in a language course might not know about the culture itself and have preconceived notions, [such as thinking] that Germans are too serious and can’t take a joke. For example, Annie, one of the native German girls, has probably the most lighthearted and charming personality. We want to fix the 1930s vision that people might have.”
Looking towards the future, both leaders hope to plan a wrap-up event that would promote their club further and open the floor for students to socialize and ask questions about the club.
The DSU German Club meets every Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. Stay updated on their Facebook page for where to meet, as the DSU has yet to find a permanent room for them.