German Studies

Before he opted to pursue a degree in German, Matthew Orvin studied Spanish in high school, and had never taken a trip outside the U.S. Flash forward a few years, and this South Carolina native is pursuing a double major in history and German, highlighted by a fully immersive semester spent in Germany.

Matthew came to the College because he wanted access to diverse areas of study. “The liberal arts and sciences format was really appealing to me,” he says. Still, he didn’t know that he’d be drawn to German language and culture.

After discovering German through his interest in history, he started taking classes right away. On the advice of professor Morgan Koerner, who chairs the German department, Matthew opted to spend a semester studying abroad at the University of Bamberg. He flanked that experience with a preparatory course immediately before and an advanced language course immediately after in Berlin. “Using the language on a day-to-day basis was probably the single most reassuring thing that I’ve done,” he says. “It taught me that this is definitely something useful and I’m so much more confident now as a result of studying abroad.”

Because the German major focuses on both language and culture, Matthew also had an opportunity to study film and poetry in courses he took after returning to the College. His favorite project from those classes required him to create subtitles – entirely in German – to accompany a silent film. “That was engaging and demanding all at the same time because I had to create my own dialogue based on how I interpreted the scenes.”

Now, Matthew hopes to pass the C1 proficiency exam, which will deem him proficient in German. He says that he never would have gotten this far without the guidance of the department’s faculty. “I definitely think the professors are fantastic. I’ve had classes with most all of them and each has been so supportive and just superb in class.”

German - matthew orvin

Contact Information

Morgan Koerner
department chair
Department of German and Russian Studies

Ours is one of the top German programs in the Southeast. Our students study the language, literature, cinema and culture of German-speaking Europe. Knowledge of German is important for anyone in international commerce, research and technology. That’s why our faculty are experts in a wide range of fields from cinema to performance, business to translation and sports to literature.

❱❱ Our department is the only authorized testing site in South Carolina for the internationally recognized Goethe Institut proficiency exams.

❱❱ One in five jobs in South Carolina is either directly or indirectly affected by the $14 billion that German companies have invested here over the past 15 years.