Union University
Union University Dept of Language
german students outside during a language class



Union offers two years of German language courses:

The German courses are taught by Professor Betsy Pingen. If you have questions about which level would be most appropriate for you, please e-mail Professor Pingen.

Please see the syllabi and course descriptions below for a more detailed description of the courses:


Course Description
German 111:
Beginning German 1
(Fall Semester)
This course is designed for students with no prior knowledge of German and includes topics such as introducing yourself and your family, discussing food and drink, talking about where you live, describing your daily activities, and narrating events that happened in the past.
German 112:
Beginning German 2
(Spring Semester)
This course follows German 111 and includes topics such as holidays, working, traveling, health, and shopping.  Students who successfully complete German 112 will have achieved at least an A1 level of competency, based on the CEFR.
German 211: Intermediate German 1
(Fall Semester)
German 211 is designed for students with some prior knowledge of German and those who have completed German 112.  This course includes topics such as self, home, food, work, sports, careers and holidays. At this level students can read and write longer passages and explore German culture in German.
German 212: Intermediate German 2
(Spring Semester)
German 212 will be offered for the first time in Spring 2014. After successfully completing this course, students will have achieved at least the A2 level of competency, based on the CEFR.

Betsy Pingen with German student

Study Abroad Opportunities

There are many opportunities to study abroad in German-speaking countries.  In fact 12% of all students studying at German universities are international students.  Here are a few of the opportunities Union students should consider:


Salzburg College Salzburg College is located in Salzburg, Austria. They offer both semester programs and summer sessions.  Students take a German course but also other courses that can be applicable to their majors (including European Studies, Communications/Marketing, Art & Photography, Music, and Cultural Communication).  There are also plenty of opportunities to travel.  Union partners with Salzburg College to help students coordinate this study abroad opportunity. Contact Victoria Malone or Betsy Pingen for more information.
Cultural Experiences Abroad CEA (Cultural Experiences Abroad) offers students the opportunity to study in Berlin, Germany.  They offer summer sessions at Humboldt Universität zu Berlin and at the Berlin School of Economics and Law.  You may choose one of three programs (European Business & Economics, the European Union in a Global World, or German Language & Cultural Studies).  Courses are available in both German and English.  Contact Victoria Malone or Betsy Pingen for more information.


Why Study German?


  • Germany is the world’s second-largest exporter.
  • The German economy ranks number one in Europe and number four worldwide.
  • Germany is home to numerous international corporations (companies like BMW, Daimler, Siemens, Lufthansa, SAP, Bosch, Infineon, and BASF).
  • Two-thirds of the world's international trade fairs take place in Germany.  These include CeBIT, the world's largest trade fair for information and communications technology, and the IFA consumer electronics trade fair.


  • German has the largest number of speakers in the European Union (more than English, French or Spanish).
  • German is among the ten most spoken languages in the world.
  • German is the official language of Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein.  It is also the native language of a significant portion of the population in northern Italy, eastern Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, eastern France, parts of Poland, the Czech Republic, Russia, and Romania.
  • Germans travel.  They spend more on foreign travel than any other nation in the world.
  • Germany has a huge presence on the web. The pages available with the top-level country domain .de is second only to .com.
  • One out of every 10 books published worldwide is published in German.


  • English is a Germanic language, meaning that many English words are easily recognizable in German words. 
  • German has far fewer words than English.  Rather than create totally new words, Germans usually just form compound words out of shorter ones.  (i.e. krank = sick, so Krankenhaus = hospital, Krankenwagen = ambulance, Krankengymnastik = physical therapy, Krankenschwester = nurse)  This also allows you to make really fun long words like Krankenversicherungskostendämpfungsergänzungsgesetz (an amendment to control the cost of health insurance).
  • The German government actively supports international exchanges and offers students many opportunities to study in Germany.  There are many, many opportunities for scholarships and financial assistance available. And foreign students enrolled in German universities are not required to pay tuition fees.

Science and Culture

  • Germans have always been and continue to be great innovators.  Think of Gutenberg's printing press, Hertz' discovery of electromagnetic waves, Ehrlich's development of chemotherapy, Einstein's theory of relativity, and Brandenburg's creation of the MP3 format.
  • Germany is often referred to as the land of "Dichter und Denker"--poets and thinkers.  Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Thomas Mann, Franz Kafka, and Hermann Hesse are just a few authors whose names and works are well-known internationally.
  • The world of classical music is inseparable from the names of Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, Strauss, and Wagner--to name only a few renowned German-speaking composers.
  • Philosophy and the sciences would also be unthinkable without the contributions of German speakers. The philosophies of Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, and numerous others have had lasting influences on modern society. The psychologists Freud and Jung forever changed the way we think about human behavior.