German Background

The German department offers courses in the language, literatures, and cultures of German-speaking Europe. We study the cultural, social, and political lives of German-speaking communities in their historical and international context.  We attract students beginning their study of German as well as those with more advanced skills. In addition to continually advancing their language skills in comprehending, reading, writing, and speaking German, students in our courses analyze texts, cultural objects, and practices. They become able to communicate the historical significance and transnational impact of the German-speaking world and to evaluate this impact on the United States and in a global context. From the first course they take in our department, students acquire critical, cultural and linguistic knowledge that gives them skills applicable beyond Bowdoin and in their future careers.

Bowdoin’s Department of German has consistently produced one of the largest number of Fulbright Fellows and winners of German and Austrian government fellowships. Graduates have excelled in graduate and law school - proving that in-depth knowledge of a foreign language is one of the most valuable assets and indicators for success - and gone on to distinguished careers: in secondary schools and universities, in business and finance, science, international relations, politics and environmental and health policy.

Our students’ success across many fields draws on the interdisciplinary connections we model in our varied and rich curriculum on campus, and which students are encouraged to create while studying abroad.

Student Spotlight

Julia Littlefield '11 I had always planned on spending a semester abroad from Bowdoin, as I believe that studying abroad greatly enriches what a college student can learn...

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Study Abroad

Study Abroad "My first priority for my study abroad experience was to improve my fluency in both German and Spanish, so it made sense for me to pick a country where each of those languages is spoken..."  


Fellowships, Grants, & Prizes

ResoFulbright Scholarships It doesn't take much digging to discover why Bowdoin students consistently win Fulbright fellowships for teaching and research overseas following their graduation.

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Events The German Department sponsors and co-sponsors lectures and visits by writers, artists, filmmakers and scholars.

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