Why learn German?

Why learn German at Aiken High School?

Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire. – William Butler Yeats

If you want lists of “practical” reasons why you should study German, just go to Google ( http://www.ahsgerman.com/wp/about/why-learn-german/?xurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2Fsearch%3Fhl%3Den%26amp%3Bq%3Dwhy%2Blearn%2Bgerman ). There are dozens of such lists on the Internet. And they are often very good lists. We recommend them to you. At Aiken High School, though, we have our own opinion about why you should learn German and it’s not exactly what you will find on those lists, good as they are: At Aiken High School, we think you should learn German to increase the happiness in your life and create opportunities and options for a more rewarding and interesting future.

Think about that for a minute or two, please, because a statement like that has different meanings for different people.

For example:

  • Some students are deep-thinkers who enjoy the intellectual stimulation that they get from learning German.
  • Some students are future diplomats who enjoy learning about and experiencing the cultures of the German-speaking countries.
  • Some students are highly-social and they enjoy speaking German with their classmates and their friends in Aiken and all over the world.
  • Some students are natural-born linguists who enjoy mastering the intricacies of the German language.
  • Some students are budding historians who enjoy connecting with their German, Austrian or Swiss heritage.
  • Some students are already infected with Wanderlust (a great German word) and they enjoy preparing for the life of an American living or working or studying abroad.
  • Some students will be engineers one day. In the meantime, they enjoy building gingerbread houses — and sometimes whole villages!
  • Some students are quite techie and they enjoy the emphasis we place on online learning and sharing. (Go, Moodle !)
  • Some students are on their way to becoming excellent amateur and professional chefs and they can’t get enough of our Bratwurst and Strudel .
  • Some students are becoming accomplished musicians and they enjoy speaking the same language that Mozart, Beethoven and countless other great composers spoke.
  • Some students are quite creative and they enjoy making movies, podcasts, etc. in German. (Yay, sock monkeys! Woohoo!)
  • Some students love German cars, others are supporters of German soccer, still others can’t get enough Rammstein. They all have their own reasons for learning German. The list goes on and on and on and on.
  • There must be a thousand reasons that learning German will make you a happier person: What’s yours?

Of course, you may discover the ways in which German makes you happier only after you begin learning the language. That’s okay – as long as you do, indeed, make that discovery.

By the way…

Is this not the point of all of your courses and extracurricular activities at Aiken High School? Should you not be preparing yourself for a richer, more rewarding, happier life all day, every day? Should you not always be getting ready to take advantage the many wonderful, beautiful opportunities that will soon come your way? Should you not approach every hour of every day as an opportunity to increase your current and future happiness?

And should you not be striving for happiness right now, doing things you enjoy, taking part in activities that stimulate your mind and get your creative and critical (in the very best sense of the word) juices flowing? Things like learning German?

We think that the answers to the questions above are obvious. And for many students, the German they learn at Aiken High School becomes an important part of their happy, rich, rewarding, interesting, wonderful lives.

And that’s why we hope you, too, will learn German at Aiken High School. (And if you choose not to learn German, we hope that you will find a language that does make you happy. Really, we do.)

Art and Lisa Lader