Helping to create inspiring experiences to international destinations across Europe and beyond, we’re proud of the fact that many members of our team are lovers of language.
We asked Education team Tour Coordinator, Catherine, about her experiences studying German, as well as the importance of the language and culture.
Cath’s experience as a linguist
Having enjoyed learning languages at secondary school, I went on to study a dual honours degree in German and European Studies at Keele University. I planned to use my language skills in a future career and the European Studies subject allowed me to choose from various modules in European history, politics and international relations.
As part of my degree, I spent 10 months abroad in the beautiful Lower Saxon town of Lüneburg where I had the opportunity to put my language skills to use in a real-life context, discover more about German culture and make friends with international students from all over the world.
In my current role working for Rayburn Tours, I use my language skills as a Tour Co-ordinator, operating school trips across Europe and beyond. The opportunity to travel and use my language skills is definitely one of my favourite parts of the job. In addition to conversing with suppliers in German, I have enjoyed being a Rayburn Tours Courier to Germany many times where I have been able to provide language support, as well as taking part in inspection trips across Europe.
Why learn German?
Whilst German does not necessarily spring to mind when we think of the most prominent languages, did you know it is the most widely spoken native language in the European Union and ranks in the top ten most commonly spoken languages in the world?
German is also an important business language with the nation being a vital player in global business and economics. Germany is the world’s second largest exporter and their economy is ranked number one in Europe and number four worldwide. What’s more, there are many German international organisations, such as the car manufacturer BMW, the insurance company Allianz and the engineering company Siemens, just to name a few!
Whilst English is considered to be the international language, there are a large number of Germans who speak little or no English. During my time abroad in North Germany, I was forced to speak the language in most shops, restaurants and bars as they simply didn’t speak much English there (of course, this was fantastic for me to improve my linguistic skills!).
With German being such an important business power in Europe and beyond, German speakers are in demand! As one of Britain’s biggest trade partners, German speakers are amongst the highest paid linguists in the UK and are most sought-after by organisations.
Experiencing German Culture
Whilst we may have the preconceived view of German’s being Lederhosen-wearing, Oompah-playing individuals, for the most part this couldn’t be further from the truth! Most German’s I have met don’t conform to this stereotype at all.
The food is definitely a unique part of German culture. Whilst the well-known ‘Currywurst’ (sausage covered in a tomato curry sauce) is not to everyone’s taste, you shouldn’t visit Germany without heading to a bakery to try the much-loved pretzel!
The traditional German Christmas markets are also world famous and ideal for trying such culinary delights, as well as sampling the excellent German beer (sadly not suitable for students) with its purity law to keep to the simplest of ingredients. Lined with quaint wooden huts selling German toys and gifts, the beautiful Christmas markets were one of the highlights from my time abroad!
Spending time immersed in German culture, heritage and tradition is a unique and fascinating experience. Your students’ love of the country is sure to be ignited, whether it’s the magnificent medieval towns, cosmopolitan cities, pretty rolling countryside, the lovely locals or the delicious cuisine that do it!