Hannah Scholl ’21 has had a passion for the German language and culture since high school.
When she visited a German high school as part of a student exchange program, Scholl recalls a particularly memorable moment from the welcome party: “I was astonished by the German students who brought their own plates, silverware, and cups from their home. It was a stark difference from how Americans often use plastic products in their social events.”
When Scholl came to Oberlin, she was able to directly enter into 300-level courses. Now, she is a third-year German and politics major. She was awarded the Delta Phi Alpha Scholarship to study at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich.
The Delta Phi Alpha National German Honorary Society seeks to honor excellence in the study of German, providing scholarships and promoting the study of German language, literature, and civilization. Oberlin College formed the Tau Lambda chapter of Delta Phi Alpha in fall 2014.
“My first class was about conversation and composition. I had the opportunity to really practice my speaking and get a lot of feedback directly from the professor because it was such a small group. I’ve taken a German class every semester since.”
Scholl lives in German House, one of Oberlin’s language-based Program Houses. A resident assistant, a faculty in residence, and a program assistant live on-site to coordinate activities that are often German in theme, such as movie nights, baking, and other events.
“Something I’ve enjoyed at Oberlin is the German language table at Stevenson Dining Hall,” Scholl says. “During lunch or dinner, if you sit at the German table, you’re only allowed to speak German. A professor from the German department or a program assistant who is a native speaker will always be there to facilitate the conversation. It’s a great opportunity to meet other students from the department and make friends.”
Besides practicing German through those casual activities, Scholl also enjoys taking courses through the German Writer in Residence program. Oberlin College has offered the program since 1968, and it is the oldest of its kind in the country. Supported by the Max Kade Foundation, the college is able to invite a German author to reside in Oberlin for a year. Last semester, Scholl took classes with German poet Nora Gomringer.
While Scholl was called back to the United States due to the COVID-19 outbreak that affected the safety of Oberlin students studying abroad, Scholl was able to keep her scholarship and hopes to return to Germany through a fellowship program or internship. She is interested in a career related to public policy and public service, and she plans to attend grad school to pursue a related degree.
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