My Graduate Exchange Year in Seattle (Nina Doejen, Muenster)

Submitted by Michael Neininger on
Nina Doejen, Muenster
Nina Doejen and Jason Groves

Coming to Seattle and the UW in the beginning of September 2016, I found a beautiful city and an even more beautiful campus in a perfectly warm and sunny autumn week. Although the weather changed for the worse soon, what then started was one of the most important experiences of my academic life so far. Not only did I study at UW, a dream I’ve had since my Bachelor’s; I also had the chance to teach German as a Foreign Language to talented and engaged students on an everyday basis. Teaching my own class was of great help developing my teaching skills and personality. I learned a lot about communicative language teaching from the intensive courses that prepared me and my fellow TAs for the academic year. The things I learned have not only been of great value at UW but are still helping me now, being a language teacher back in Germany. I loved being a part of Kaffeestunde, which gave us as TAs an opportunity to spend time with our students outside our classrooms and to address their questions and interests on a more informal and playful basis.

What I appreciated most besides teaching was the personal atmosphere in the department, which allowed me to feel at home away from home. With two literature classes I took per week I was allowed enough time to prepare both the classes I took and the classes I taught. Being in a seminar with not more than ten people provided an incredibly rewarding work atmosphere in which a lot of lively discussions about readings took place; some of which I still remember today. In my final quarter at UW I was a mentor in Jason Groves’ undergraduate class on Cultures of Extinction. Not only did I learn a lot from watching Jason preparing and teaching this incredibly interesting and relevant topic, I also had the opportunity to teach a lecture on my own, something I still greatly appreciate.         

Having been a part of the Germanics Department for three quarters, I can resume that I have developed academically as well as personally during my time here. I am very grateful for finding new friends, new ideas and most importantly a new perspective on myself as a teacher, a student, and an individual.