Two towers -- one many hundreds of years old, one a modern office tower -- in West Berlin. Whatever your interests, knowledge of German can expand your opportunities. It is a global language, spoken by 100 million people throughout the world. When you know German, you can read German literature, enjoy German films, and follow current events in German-speaking Europe. You can pursue research and employment opportunities with the many German, Austrian, and Swiss companies that have operations in Alabama and across North America. Or you can venture abroad and live and work in German-speaking Europe. The ability to communicate in German will help you take advantage of these many possibilities.

From Our Students

I was interested in studying abroad. Dr. Rinker helped me apply to the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals. I was one of 75 students selected in the nation for a fully funded year in Germany. I received full-immersion language training, attended the Technische Universität München, and complete a practicum at a children's hospital in Munich. My experiences inspired me to change my major to nursing after returning to UAB. I started UAB thinking that German classes would be a fun way to complete some core curriculum requirements, but the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures and Dr. Rinker have become the greatest influences on my experience at UAB. — Catherine Black (graduating August 2016)

Here are 10 good reasons for learning German other than Bier, Mercedes, and the Autobahn . . .

Developments in media, information, and communication technology require multilingual communicators. A wide range of important websites are in German, and Germany is ranked fifth in terms of annual publication of new books. Knowledge of German therefore offers you extended access to information, and translations can never fully reproduce the cultural depth of German literature.

German is not only spoken in Germany but also in Austria, in large parts of Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and Luxembourg, as well as in areas of Northern Italy, Eastern Belgium, and Eastern France. Alongside Russian, German is the most frequently spoken native language in Europe and is one of the 10 most frequently spoken languages in the World.
A wide range of exchange programs exists for both school and university students between Germany and many countries in the world. Germany awards a generous number of scholarships and other support to study in Germany.
Germany is the most important trading partner for almost all European and many non-European countries. The ability to speak German improves business relationships with partners in the third largest industrial nation and one of the most important exporting countries in the world. A knowledge of German is a big advantage in business, as negotiations in a third language can easily lead to misunderstandings with costly consequences.
Learning and speaking German is no harder than English, French, or Spanish. Thanks to modern teaching methods it is possible to achieve a high level of communication skills in a very short time.
In many countries visitors from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland make up the largest and most important tourist groups. A knowledge of German is therefore a great advantage for many people working in the tourist industry.
A knowledge of German improves your chances on the job market. Working holiday visas are available for young foreigners from a range of countries, and special visas are offered to skilled workers and professionals.

Many German companies abroad, foreign companies in Germany, and companies with close business connections with German-speaking countries all look to recruit workers with language qualifications. Within the European Union, it is not only specialists but also students and scientists with a knowledge of German who can find many interesting training, study, and job opportunities.
A knowledge of foreign languages always broadens your intellectual and professional horizons. Those who learn German gain access to an important intellectual, economic, and culturally historic area of central Europe.
German is the second most commonly used scientific language. Germany is the third largest contributor to research and development and offers research fellowships to scientists from abroad.
Each year millions of tourists from all over the world visit Germany. Being able to speak and understand German means you to get to know the Germans better and gain a deeper insight into their history and culture.
A knowledge of German opens the door to the birthplace of one of the greatest cultures in Europe, for German is the language of Brecht, Goethe, Nietzsche, Kafka, Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, Freud, and Einstein.

We are indebted to the Goethe-Institut, a government-sponsored institution for the global dissemination of German language and culture with centers all over the world, for these reasons to learn German. If you want to learn more about the Goethe-Institut and the resources it offers, please visit its website.

Want to Know More?

If you are interested in taking German courses at UAB, pursuing a minor in German, or have other questions about German, please explore these pages. If you have any questions, contact Erika Hille Rinker at (205) 934-4652 or via email