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Campus News
Your faculty and staff news since 1965
Current Issue: October 28, 2002
Volume 38, Number 8

German Summer School thrives in Taos Ski Valley

By Carolyn Gonzales

The German Summer School, founded by UNM German Professors Peter Pabisch and George F. Peters during the 1975-76 academic year, has thrived at the Taos Ski Valley.

In recognition of its longevity, Pabisch recently published, “Going on Thirty Years. The German Summer School of New Mexico,” University of South Dakota, Vermillion, 2002.

“Foreign languages has seen a steady decline and a waning student interest,” said Pabisch. “The German Summer School provides students with an immersion program without having to travel to Germany. And they have fun.”

This year, eight faculty taught during the 31-day program under Pabisch’s direction. He also taught five courses. Language courses were offered at various levels, depending upon student proficiency. Regardless of the students’ years of German study, they came away with an improved ability to understand and speak the language.

Students at the 2002 summer school speak German whether in class or engaged in a game of hacky-sack in front of Thunderbird Lodge.“Whether at the dinner table, in class, talking in their rooms or playing hacky-sack, the students are required to speak ‘nur Deutsch,’ only German,” said Pabisch. As a result, their language skills improve rapidly during the program.

At the summer school’s “Grundkurs,” or lecture series, the students heard about geology, the holocaust, European history, philosophy, and listened to the German Consul General von Graevenitz discuss German-European politics and diplomacy.

The high level of foreign language instruction is demonstrated through the students passing the intensive Goethe language examinations. Renate Saggau, a representative of the Goethe Institute in New York, coordinated and directed the exams.

“Forty-seven students took more than 240 credit hours bringing almost $30,000 in income to the University,” said Pabisch. Of those, 13 were from New Mexico, 13 from Texas and others came from Alabama, Colorado, Illinois, Missouri, Michigan, Washington, Wisconsin and even Greece.