Rodrigo De Leon ‘17

I’ve always enjoyed learning languages, but the faculty and students of the German Department make this language and cultural experience extra special. Throughout high school I attempted to learn German on my own, since it was not offered as a class, but I found it difficult and at times dull. However, arriving at Pomona meant the opportunity to experience new things and turn my interests into structured academic learning, so I jumped right into it my first semester.

I planned to take German for a few semesters and then move on. However, my German class quickly became one of my favorites. I actually looked forward to doing the homework most of the time! Going to Oldenborg to practice my conversation skills was very intimidating at first, and I remained quiet most of the time. Nevertheless, I kept going, and little by little, mistake after mistake, I began to get comfortable with my abilities and accept the idea that I was there to learn. 

Now I am in my 4th semester of German, serve as Department Liaison (if you have any questions, feel free to contact me!) and will probably study abroad in Freiburg next year. I still love going to class to improve my language skills, and I enjoy learning more about German culture, geography, and history. I can still tell how much the German professors care about their students, how much they genuinely want us to learn and succeed inside and outside the classroom. As for the students, I’ve met plenty of great people through the German department. It’s always nice to make new friends and reconnect with others at department events or Language Resident activities, and no one has a Winter Party that is as popular as the German one! The department brings together a great mix of social and academic experiences for those interested in learning German and about Germany, such as myself, which is why I chose to minor in German Studies. 

Emma Paulini ’21

Emma Paulini Headshot

Emma Paulini ’21

As a recipient of the German Department’s Sheirich scholarship, I was able to travel to Germany’s North Sea during the summer to conduct an independent project combining my love for German as well as biology. I worked together with nature conservationists and other young people on the island of Wangerooge to help foster the native flora and fauna, cultivate small freshwater biotopes and learn more about this unique world heritage site.

I love studying German and its capacity to reveal new pathways to learn about the past and present, express myself, and consider ideas from unique vantage points. My studies in German have enhanced my growth to become a more creative, effective thinker, discover exciting opportunities to engage with others, and approach the world in unexpected ways.