German Immersion: Contemporary Issues in the German-Speaking World

We designed this course for students who have some German, but who want to jumpstart their language acquisition through an intense and immersive experience. If you have taken two or three quarters of German, or if you took German in high school, this course will allow you to dramatically improve your proficiency, all while you and classmates immerse yourselves in German-speaking cultures from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg and beyond.

We will actively engage our German through exploration of contemporary, socio-political issues in the German-speaking world, including, but not limited to, the current refugee crisis, issues of identity and language, the environment, pop cultural trends and more. Working with various forms of media (film, music, texts), guest lectures, as well as class excursions to a local German immersion school, the Goethe Institute San Francisco, and other local cultural events, you will progress more quickly towards gaining Advanced proficiency in German. Students will develop their ability to more actively start and participate in culturally nuanced discussions and gain greater confidence and linguistic and cultural dexterity in giving presentations. Students from all disciplines with interest in this type of linguistic immersion and intellectual engagement are encouraged to apply!


Meet the Instructor(s)

Paul Nissler


Paul Nissler is a Lecturer and Coordinator of the Stanford German Language Program. He holds a B.S. from UW-Madison in German Culture and Economics  and a Ph.D. from the Pennsylvania State University in German Literature. He  publishes and presents regularly on German and Latin American literature, language acquisition and teaching.



Jens Pohlmann

Jens Pohlmann is a Lecturer for the Stanford German Language Program. He holds a MA in Modern German Literature and Philosophy from the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and a PhD from Stanford in German Studies. His interests include German literature and culture, cultural branding, and Internet policy.