Ashbourne students are encouraged to speak German from the outset helping them to build confidence and fluency. Topics are tailored around students’ needs and interests as much as possible to get them fully engaged in learning the language. This involves exploring how German-speaking communities around the world live and behave.
The nearby Goethe Institute puts on plenty of cultural and science events, including film, theatre, talks and music, which provide a great opportunity for our students to practise the language.
Why Study German?
Germany offers a rich cultural heritage for lovers of music, literature, philosophy, science and art including musicians like Beethoven, Bach and Mozart; writers like Hermann Hesse, the Grimm brothers and Goethe; philosophers Kant, Marx and Nietzsche; inventors and scientists Diesel, Geiger and Enstein; and artists Friedrich and The Expressionist. Austria and Switzerland also have a wealth of culture for you to explore.
There are many similarities between English and German making it comparatively easier to learn than Latin-based languages if your first language is English. And if you are a true lover of words then there are not many languages that offer you the chance to learn unfeasibly long words like rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz, which is 63 letters long and means ‘the law for the delegation of monitoring beef labelling’; sadly no longer in use. But there are plenty more to get your tongue around.
Learning German can also lead to great job opportunities across Europe and the world as Germany has a diverse industry sector and strong economy. And German is commonly used in scientific language, thanks to a strong history of research and development, and is becoming more and more prolific on the internet.
Which syllabus do we follow?
What is covered in this course?
You will learn the skills (speaking, listening, reading and writing) necessary to express yourself fluently in German. In both AS and A level students will develop their these skills by exploring a range of social, political and cultural issues relating to Germany and German-speaking countries, organised in the themes outlined below.
AS level students will cover themes 1 and 2. A level students cover all themes. AS level students also study a film. A level students study a film and a book and undertake an independent research project for speaking: this offers a free choice of any topic relating to countries where German is spoken.
Germany is a champion of sustainable development and technological innovation. You will be able to explore what pressures there are on our natural environment and what can be achieved to develop a sustainable future.
You will also look at the German education system, discuss what opportunities it offers students and what restrictions and obligations it impresses on them.
Once young people enter the world of work, what should they expect? What is the work ethic like? What do businesses and industry have to offer? You will cover issues relating to employment.
In this theme you take a look at how trends, traditions and change in music, festivals and communication (media) affect popular culture in German-speaking countries.
Germany has become an extremely attractive country to live in thanks to its strong economy and welcoming immigration policies. How have immigrants made a positive cultural and economic contribution to the country, how have they integrated and how have the German people responded? These are some of the questions you will address as well as current political issues relating to second and third generation immigrants, policy developments and integration.
In 1989 the Berlin Wall, which divided East and West Germany, was torn down. It signified a new beginning as one nation and became a symbol for reunification. In this theme you will examine the historical and political context and build up to reunification, migration of East Germans to the West, and the social, political and economic relations within the country since.
Who teaches this course?
BA (Joint Hons) German and Italian (Reading University)
Louise has been teaching German at Ashbourne for many years. She is half-German but also speaks French and Italian. Louise has lived in Berlin, and studied at Munich and Bologna as part of her degree. She enjoys opera, art history and creating textiles.
Beyond A level German
German A level is a great asset for going on to study Modern Languages or European Studies. You can also combine German with other degree subjects like Business, Management, Law or Linguistics.
Learning German provides you with the chance to get involved in cutting edge medical developments, innovative design and engineering, sustainable energy technology, industry, and research and development.
Suggested reading and resources
German cultural centre in London offering news, views and events on a variety of themes from architecture, design, art and fashion to film, literature, culture, politics and science.
Penguin Parallel Texts
Penguin produce a range of fiction Parallel Texts in German, French, Spanish, Italian, Russian and Japanese. These contain classic short stories in the chosen language with parallel versions in English.
The German Bookshop
German and European Bookshop short walk from the college on Gloucester Road, South Kensington.
Grant & Cutler (Foyles)
Long established foreign-language bookshop with books and media in more than 150 languages, as well as national newspapers and magazines. Now owned by independent bookseller Foyles on Charring Cross Road.