GRAMELAC Alumni Newsletter - May 2015

May 2015
Volume 16, Issue 1

From the Chair

Dr. Margaret ZiolkowskiDear Alumni,

This year GRAMELAC had a total of 86 majors (35 in East Asian Languages and Cultures, 23 in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies, and 28 in German Studies) and 157 minors (34 in Arabic, 52 in Chinese, 36 in German, 26 in Japanese, and 9 in Russian and Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies). During the winter term we had study abroad programs in Oman and China, and this coming summer we will have intensive language programs in Germany and China. In other words, we are thriving!

Best wishes for a good summer and pleasant travels!

Margaret Ziolkowski

Guest Writer-in-Residence

Tanja DuckersThis spring semester, GRAMELAC had the honor of hosting Tanja Dückers, German author and journalist, as a Writer-in-Residence and guest professor. Dückers taught GER 410A, Seminar in German Language and Literature. She focused the course on Berlin; students studied the city’s history since its foundation as a capital city in 1871 to the present through German literature. Dückers taught a full class of sixteen students, which was both exciting and challenging for her.

Dr. Mariana Ivanova, assistant professor of German, asked Dückers to teach at Miami. After reading her short stories, Ivanova was impressed with Dückers’s unique perspective on life and young people.  “She is very accessible herself, open to young people, understanding, and interested in them,” said Ivanova of Dückers. “All of that really spoke to me.”

This isn’t the first time Dückers has interacted with Miami students. Dückers came to Miami for a guest reading in 2013 and students have visited her twice on study abroad programs to Berlin, where Dückers resides.

According to Ivanova, these events received positive feedback from students and they were excited to take her course.

“It’s a unique experience to read books by your professor,” Ivanova said. “It’s very valuable for the students to learn about Berlin and see the writer’s insight into Berlin.”

The sprint class, which began March 30, involved reading works of famous Berlin writers, including Dückers. She wanted to teach American students about her home city for many reasons.

“I always tell them stories of my own impressions of Berlin. I’ve seen the city during the Cold War and the wall coming down,” said Dückers. “I generally really enjoy talking in foreign countries about German history and Berlin. I see myself as a messenger of this. I enjoy contact with younger people; they are our future.”

Dr. Ganeva Gives Book Tour

Mila Ganeva Book TourIn September 2014, Mila Ganeva, Associate Professor of German, published the book: Helen Hessel: Ich schreibe aus Paris. Über die Mode, das Leben und die Liebe, edited by Mila Ganeva (Zurich: Nimbus, Kunst und Bücher, 2014), pp.398. [title in English: Helen Hessel: I am writing from Paris]. This edition presents the first representative selection of the writings of Helen Hessel, the Paris correspondent for the cultural section and women’s supplement of the German newspaper Frankfurter Zeitung between 1921 to 1937. Helen Hessel’s articles on fashion and culture in Paris document the multiple ways in which urban women’s everyday lives have transformed during this period. Her publications at the time inspired Walter Benjamin’s Arcades Project; Theodor Adorno and Kurt Tucholsky were among her most avid readers; and she served as the prototype of Kate in François Truffaut’s cult film Jules and Jim. Nevertheless, Helen Hessel’s writings have slipped into oblivion for decades. In addition to a selection of Hessel’s nearly eighty original texts (from about 250 that have been rediscovered), the current annotated edition includes also a 30-page biographical essay by Dr. Ganeva based on extensive archival research of recently discovered materials and correspondence.

In December, Dr. Ganeva was on a ten-day book tour in Germany. She was invited by the Literaturhaus in Berlin and the Literaturhaus in Stuttgart, among other places, for a series of public readings and panel discussions. In June 2015, she will be presenting the book to audiences in Munich and Paris.

News from Alumni

Perry Manross (GER 2002), has been promoted to Head of Integrated Communications, SAP Australia & New Zealand.

Christopher Kovach (GER 2014 and GREAL Student Office Assistant), passed the CPA exam and has been hired by Lubrizol, a chemical company headquartered in the Cleveland area.

John S. Weilnau (Russian 2006) has been working for the United Bank of Switzerland (UBS) for the past 6 years.  He recently married and he and his wife live just outside Philadelphia.  John completed his Master's in Russian at Middlebury College.  He wrote his Master's thesis on Putin.

2015 Department Awards Ceremony

This year’s Awards Ceremony took place April 22nd at 4:30pm in the McGuffey Hall Auditorium.  Dr. Margaret Ziolkowski, the Chair of the Department, welcomed everyone to the festivities. For the cultural presentation part of the ceremony:

Fonzie Steele Fitzwater, a Music Performance major, sang an operatic version of “Erlkönig” in German. This song is a German poem written by Johann Wolfgang Goethe.

Dr. Ziolkowski had her Russian 411 class sing “Seren ‘kii kozlik” (The little Gray Goat) in Russian for the crowd while a video of various images of live goats played on the screen in the background.  She then asked everyone to be brave and try to sing in Russian long with the students.  Fortunately Dr. Ziolkowski had typed up a copy of the song phonetically so that everyone had a better chance of knowing how to pronounce the words.  Everyone had a wonderful time joining in.

Dr. Ruth H. Sanders, emerita, Professor of German, presented the Outstanding graduating seniors’ majors awards.  The graduate in EALC was Sydney Lauren Powell, in German was Matthew Armelli, and in REEES was Nicholas Daniel Higgins.

The recipients of the Herr Jacques Breitenbucher Scholarship Award were Madeline F. Banks, a German major, and Emily Anne Walton, a major in Russian, Eastern European, and Eurasian Studies.  Dr. Mila Ganeva, the Chief Departmental Adviser, for German presented these awards.

Dr. Ganeva was very proud to announce that one of the Fulbright Scholarship recipients is a German minor.  Nicole Grace Smith was awarded a Fulbright Teaching Assistantship to Germany for the 2016-17 academic year.   

The Language Coordinators of each language handed out the awards for the Outstanding Students in each level. Mr. Saleh Yousef handed out the Arabic certificates.  The Level 1 winner was Grace C. Jackson, Level 2 was Megan R. Zimmer, and Level 3 went to Emma L. Maleug. The Chinese certificates were handed out by Dr. Haosheng Yang.  The Level 1 winner was Boyoung Choi, Level 2 was Kelsi White, Level 3 was Iris A. Patton, and Level 4 was Chase E. Meyer. The Level 1 winner in the German language was Ryan Pettit, Level 2 was Lauren M. Bauman, Level 3 was Jacklyn C. Heikes, and Level 4 went to J. Clark Daugherty Jr.  These awards were presented by Dr. Mila Ganeva. Ms. Rachel Rachovitsky cheerfully handed out the Hebrew certificates.  The Level 1 winners were Grace E. McKittrick and Adam G. Friedman.  The Level 2 winner was Chaim A. Winter. Unfortunately, due to the distance from the campus, neither of the Hindi language winners were able to make it to the Awards Ceremony.  The Level 1 finalist was Chandni R. Patel and Level 2 was Jyotsna Sharma. Dr. Noriko Reider handed out the Japanese certificates.  The Level 1 winner was Daniel W. Knettel, Level 2 was Yong Xie, Level 3 was Benjamin M. Krieger, and Level 4 was Whitney R. Hurston. Ziyi Yang was the Level 1 winner in Korean and Maria K. Moore was the winner in Level 2.  Mr. Won Ahn, Instructor of Korean, was who presented the certificates. The Russian certificates were handed out by Dr. Benjamin Sutcliffe.  The Level 1 winner was Dakota W. Potts and the Level 2 winner was Alex P. Leonhardt.

All graduating seniors were recognized and given a special gift by their Language Coordinator.  There were nine Arabic minors, six EALC majors with a concentration in Chinese, seven EALC majors with a concentration in Japanese, thirty-three Chinese minors, eight Japanese minors, nine German Studies majors, nine German minors, six REEES majors, one REEES minor and three Russian minors.


You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.
You’re on your own.
And you know what you know.
You are the guy who’ll decide where to go.


  • Arabic book awards to majors and minors courtesy of the Middle East and Islamic Studies Fund
  • Chinese awards to outstanding students, majors, and minors courtesy of The Confucius Institute
  • German book awards to majors and minors courtesy of our wonderful donors to the GRAMELAC Gift Fund
  • Japanese awards to majors and minors courtesy of our wonderful donors to the GRAMELAC Gift Fund
  • Japanese publication awards courtesy of Consulate General of Japan in Detroit
  • Korean outstanding student awards courtesy of the Se Yung Chung Fund
  • Russian book awards to majors and minors courtesy of wonderful donors to the GRAMELAC Gift Fund.
  • Arabic, German, Hebrew, Hindi, Japanese, and Russian Outstanding Student awards courtesy of the Marion Lee Miller Award Fund.
  • Program cover designed by Nick Greene, Student Office Assistant of GRAMELAC and a Medical Laboratory Science major

Publications by Our Faculty this Academic Year

Beyong Alterity Book CoverCHI Lesbian Cinema Book CoverLudmila Ultskaya Book CoverThe Politics of Magic Book Cover

E, Li

The Formation of the Tonal Pattern and the Prosodic Transformation of the Pentasyllabic Line during the Datong Reign (535-546) of the Liang,” in Journal of Chinese Literature and Culture. Co-authored with Du Xiaoqin. Forthcoming, 2015.

Jeep, John M.

My translation (with commentary) appeared in:  Viacheslav Ivanov’s 'Vergils Historiosophie': Background, Translation, and Commentary, Appendix I in Zara Martirosova Torlone, Vergil in Russia: National Identity and Classical Reception. Classical Presences. Oxford University Press, 2014, pp. 252-270, a moderately revised version of translation etc. from refereed article 2009.

Shen, Qinna

Beyond Alterity: German Encounters With Modern East Asia, New York, NY: Berghahn Books, July 2014.

The Politics of Magic: DEFA Fairy-Tale Films, Wayne State University Press, June 2015.

Shi, Liang

Dr. Liang Shi, associate professor of Chinese language and literature, published a book through Lexington Books in 2014. His work Chinese Lesbian Cinema: Mirror Rubbing, Lala and Les, is an extensive study of lesbian cinema in mainland China. With their inception in the first decade of the twenty-first century, lesbian films represent a new and significant component of contemporary Chinese culture. By contextualizing these films, the book not only delineates the trajectory of Chinese lesbian cinema and offers a critique of its significance, but also examines, from historicist and comparative perspectives, Chinese homosexual traditions and yields insights into their cultural articulations and interpretations.

Sutcliffe, Benjamin

Ludmila Ultskaya and the Art of Tolerance, a monograph coauthored with Elicabeth Skomp (Sewanee, University of the South). Foreword by Helena Goscilo. University of Wisconsin Press, April 2015.

We are the People Event

On November 12, 2014, a commemoration took place in Miami’s Art building 100, under the title “We are the People: Berlin, Tiananmen, and the Legacy of 1989.” The panel discussion marked the 25th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall from both sides of the East/West divide as well as the Tiananmen Square Democracy Movement. Dr. Erik Jensen moderated the discussion and five panelists presented their experiences and memories of these world-changing events. In addition to Dr. Yihong Pan in History and Dr. Venelin Ganev in Political Science, three of these presenters were members of GRAMELAC.

Dr. Qinna ShenDr. Qinna Shen, Visiting Assistant Professor of German, a native of Zhejiang province, spoke of her personal understanding of the Tiananmen Square Democracy Movement while in China. Dr. Mila Ganeva, Associate Professor of German from Bulgaria and Dr. Sascha Gerhards, Visiting Assistant Professor of German from Germany spoke of their memories, impressions, and family experiences in divided Germany.

Dr. Shen shared her thoughts about why the June Fourth movement failed based on documentaries, publications, and interviews. She discussed her realization that the failure of the movement revealed lost opportunities for peaceful resolutions due to power struggles with the Chinese Communist Party and disagreements among student factions from various universities. Dr. Shen also discussed how pragmatism and economic interests dominated international relations. Her analyses of multiple resources shed some light on her ideas of the tragedy that happened and the fight for democracy in China.

Dr. Sascha GerhardsDr. Sascha Gerhards discussed how the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961 and subsequent division of Germany affected the father’s side of his family. He told fascinating stories about the various attempts of the families to communicate with one another and the trials each family had to endure. Dr. Gerhards’ tribute to his family was informative and tragic but also revealed how exciting the fall of the wall in 1989 was for many German families.

Dr. Mila GanevaDr. Mila Ganeva shared her experience of studying abroad in East Berlin in 1986-1987, when both sides of Berlin celebrated the city’s 750th anniversary. As a Bulgarian citizen, Dr. Ganeva was not allowed to visit West Berlin but her curiosity pushed her to go close to the wall to eavesdrop on a rock concert staged in West Berlin. She returned to Berlin in the 1990’s and stayed in the West as it was once forbidden. Her return in 2009 to a bustling, lively Berlin was her own, personal vindication of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Dr. Shen, Dr. Ganeva, and Dr. Gerhards provided thought-provoking, personal stories of the events of 1989 and are greatly appreciated for doing so.

GRAMELAC’s Very First Online Language Course

Ms. Su LiuThe department offered CHI 101, the elementary level Chinese language course, during this past winter term. Nine students completed the course, which was taught by Professor Su Liu on Miami’s new Canvas site.

Through Canvas, Liu was able to effectively use all the online tools the site has to offer to make the course interactive and engaging, without intimidating or overwhelming the students. Through the website VoiceThread, students recorded their voices for vocabulary quizzes.

“I tried to think a lot about how to keep my personality in online teaching,” Liu said, “I mean the part that will help the students to learn, like being easy to work with and available when help is needed.”

At the end of the three weeks, all nine students were in close contact with her and successfully passed the course.

The most challenging component of this online course was the timing aspect. According to Liu, many students found it difficult to learn sixteen weeks of information in merely three weeks. Another challenge was the adaptation from Liu’s traditional course to a fully online course.

Despite the challenges, the experience was educational for Liu, as it was her first time teaching an online course.

“I learned about a lot of online tools and resources which will be helpful for online education…I’ll definitely understand better and work harder to address [students’] needs in the future.”

Delta Phi Alpha - Beta Kappa News

Paul BackMr. Paul Back was informally initiated as an Honorary Member of Miami's Beta Kappa Chapter of the National German Honorary Delta Phi Alpha based on his dedication, commitment, and contributions to our German program. This took place at a special dinner held at Stella 12 Beech on Wednesday, April 22, 2015.  Congratulations to Mr. Back and thank you for being such a par excellence example to our German students over the years.

2015 Winter Term-Study Abroad in China

China Winter Term GroupLihong Wang, professor of Chinese, led a group of seven students on a trip to the heartland of ancient China during winter term. From December 27 to January 16, students learned and explored different aspects of traditional Chinese culture. The students who attended the workshop are interested in Chinese culture and language and come from diverse academic backgrounds.

According to Wang, the trip was very successful and students learned a lot about Chinese culture that they could not have learned from the classroom.

“They gained further and deeper understanding of Chinese people and society by not only visiting various places and attending lectures, but also by mingling with natives,” Wang said. “The impact on students’ outlooks about a different culture and on their career choices is beyond what I expected.” According to Wang, two students continued their Chinese language education at Miami, and two others want to work or study in China next year.

Wang hopes the trip will be offered again in winter 2017. The workshop offers two classes: CHI 272 and CHI 273. These courses can be counted toward for a Chinese major or minor. In addition, by taking six credits in a study-abroad workshop, six or nine (depending on the student’s catalog year) credit hours of the Global Perspective will be waived.

Conferences Faculty Have Attended

Dr. Mila Ganeva

  • German Studies Association, Kansas City, MO, Sept. 2014.
  • German Historical Institute Workshop, Warsaw, Poland,   Jan. 2015.

Dr. Sascha Gerhards

  • German Studies Association, Kansas City, MO, Sept. 2014.

Dr. Mariana Ivanova

  • Screen Industries in Central Europe Conference, Olomouc, Czech Republic, Nov. 2014.
  • The Ohio German Studies Workshop. Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, Oct. 2014.
  • German Studies Association, Kansas City, MO, Sept. 2014.
  • Society of Cinema and Media Studies Annual Conference, Seattle, WA, March, 2014.

Dr. John M. Jeep

  • Selected for Hess Seminar (Washington, DC, January 2015), among 20 selected from 80 applicants. Week long workshop on teaching the Holocaust.

Dr. Noriko T. Reider

  • Annual Meeting of American Folklore Society, Santa Fe, NM, Nov. 2014.
  • Japanese Studies Lecture Series: Religion, Art, and Gender. University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH, Oct. 2014.

Dr. Qinna Shen

  • German Studies Association, Kansas City, MO, Sept. 2014.
  • Kentucky Foreign Language Conference, Lexington, KY, April 2015.

Dr. Benjamin Sutcliffe

  • British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies (BASEES). Cambridge. April 2014.
  • Panelist for “Russia and Ukraine: Inside Perspectives.” Havighurst Center for Russian and Post-Soviet Studies. Miami University, Oxford, OH, Sept. 2014.
  • Introduction to Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies. Miami University, Oxford, OH, Nov. 2014.
  • Dvadtsat’ piat’ let postsovetskoi literatury. Kakie izmeneniia proizoshli? [Twenty-Five Years of Post-Soviet Literature, Which Changes Have Occurred?]. Centre d’études franco-russe de Moscou. Moscow, Russia. Jan. 2015

Dr. Nicole Thesz

  • The Ohio German Studies Workshop. Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, Oct. 2014.
  • German Studies Association, Kansas City, MO, Sept. 2014.
  • Third Berlin Program Summer Workshop, Berlin, Germany, June 2014.

Dr. Margaret Ziolkowski

  • International Society for Religion, Literature, and Culture, Leuven, Belgium Sept. 2014.

The Department Chair’s Dream Comes True

Canyon de ChellyIt all began when she lived in El Paso, Texas. At that time Dr. Margaret Ziolkowski, GRAMELAC department chair, and her husband traveled often throughout the Southwest. She soon became fascinated by the history and culture of the Native American tribes living there.

Though her background is in Russian studies, she was interested in studying Native American tribes, in particular the Navajo. She decided it would be interesting to write a book that compared the tribe with the Chechens as portrayed in American and Russian Literature. Her book, Alien Visions, was published in 2005.

In October 2014, Dr. Ziolkowski and her husband visited Canyon de Chelly in Arizona. The canyon was home to the Anasazi people, who built cliff dwellings into the walls of the canyon. The canyon is near Bosque Redondo, which is where the Navajos were deported in 1864 by the US government, known as the “Trail of Tears.” Canyon de Chelly is the only national park owned by a Native American tribe, and Navajo guides give tours.

“I really wanted to see it because I have a whole chapter in [my book] about the experience of the Navajos,” Ziolkowski said. “I had never been there when I lived in El Paso, and I really wanted to see it.”

She describes the experience as “intensely meaningful.”

“It was one of the best experiences of my life,” said Ziolkowski. “It was exciting to me because it was a place that had a lot of meaning for me since I had spent a lot of time working on the book, and it’s a place that had such traumatic associations. It was fantastic to be able to see it.”

New Faculty Profiles for 2014-15

E LiMs. Li E

Ms. Li E, from China, teaches the first and second-year Chinese language classes. Prior to Miami, Ms. E was working on her dissertation, as she is a Ph.D. candidate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  She plans to defend at the end of this summer.

Dr. Qinna ShenDr. Qinna Shen

Dr. Qinna Shen is a Visiting Assistant Professor of German with a Ph.D. in German from Yale University. She teaches all levels of German language and culture courses. This past year, she has taught first and second-year German. In the Fall of 2015 she will teach a Miami Plan course entitled The German-American Experience. In Winter 2016, she will be conducting the “Americans in Berlin” workshop, her first study abroad trip as an instructor.

Her native language is Chinese but she speaks English and German fluently. Dr. Shen started her teaching career at Miami in 2008, teaching all levels of German for three years. She then left for Loyola University in Maryland. She is happy to be back and thinks highly of the German program and her colleagues here.

George SweatMr. George Sweat

Mr. George Sweat teaches Elementary Japanese (JPN 102). He is from Japan and moved to Ohio in 2009. Before working as a Japanese instructor, he was an undergraduate student here at Miami University. He studied Psychology as a major and management and German as minors. Mr. Sweat was excited to start instructing and recognized the differences between student and teacher perspectives within the classroom.

Fond Farewell to Robert Di Donato

Dr. Robert Di DonatoProfessor of German Studies, Robert Di Donato, received his M.A. and his German Studies Ph.D. from The Ohio State University and came to Miami in 1987 from MIT. His teaching centered on German language acquisition courses from beginning to advanced levels with an emphasis on German Language through the Media and he also taught a seminar on Adolescent Literature in German regularly.  He was Chair of German, Russian, & East Asian Languages (GREAL) in 1989-1991 and 1994-2009 and Acting Chair of Spanish & Portuguese in 2009-2010 and Chair in 2010-2012. Beginning in 2009 he served as Director of Global Initiatives and initiated the American English and Culture Program (now ACE).

His first-year textbook Deutsch: Na klar! is in its 7th edition. He is the chief academic and series developer of Fokus Deutsch, a course for TV in the form of a soap opera with accompanying texts and materials for teaching and learning German that is produced by WGBH TV and the Annenberg Foundation, and is co-author of The Big Yellow Book of German Verbs. In addition to articles on foreign language teaching methodology, he has edited two volumes for the Central States Conference and given numerous keynote speeches, workshops, and presentations on teaching methods and teacher education in the U.S. and abroad. He has won awards for his work, including the Outstanding German Educator Award from the American Association of Teachers of German (AATG, 2012) and the Florence Steiner Award for Leadership in Foreign Language Education (1991) from the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). He was national president of AATG from 1986–1987.

Bob’s favorite memory of GRAMELAC is meeting with department faculty in the old 1809 Room in the Shriver Center to do planning for program building in the department. After his retirement, Bob will continue to travel and work in publishing.  He also plans on getting involved in community volunteer work in Cincinnati. And, of course, he also looks forward to spending a lot of time in Germany and in San Diego.

On Sunday, May 10, 2015, there will be a gathering of friends and colleagues at Ruth and Al Sanders home in Oxford.  Stella 12 Beech will be catering this brunch that will begin at noon.

Bob will be greatly missed by this Department and many colleagues across the Oxford campus. We wish him all the best as he undertakes future adventures.

Guest Lecturer Manfred Flügge

Manfred FlueggeManfred Flügge is an award-winning German author who has lived in Berlin since the early 1970s. He has written extensively on the fate of German writers in exile during the 1930s in Paris, in Sanarysur-Mer on the Riviera, and in California and has published over dozen books on related topics. He is also the author of a documentary novel on the German resistance to Hitler. In 2003, Manfred Flügge was a writer in residence at Miami University. Flügge’s lecture entitled, "The Ever-changing City: A Writer's Experience of Berlin," was held Monday, April 6, 2015, at 4:30pm in room 322 of McGuffey Hall. The lecture was given in German and was free and open to the public. This event was co-sponsored by Miami’s Humanities Center.

Two Special Thank-Yous

The College of Arts and Science this fall 2014 semester assigned to our department two talented Professional Writing majors as Communication Interns. The Interns are to assist the department by using their communication skills in writing, editing, interviewing, social media, etc. Adrienne Moncrief hails from Hudson, OH, and has a second major of Strategic Communications. Rianne VanDervoort calls Sylvania, OH, home. It is a fact that the department would not have a newsletter to send out if not for these two ladies. The department would like to extend a heart felt thanks to Adrienne and Rianne for all the hours spend throughout the academic year setting up interviews, sending out questionnaires, and doing all the things necessary to come up with most of the articles contained in this issue. You both have been wonderful to work with.

Adrienne MoncriefRianne VanDervoort

Oman 2015 Winter Term Trip

Dr. Elizabeth M. Bergman, Associate Professor of Arabic in the Department of GRAMELAC, and Dr. Nathan French, Assistant Professor in the Department of Comparative Religion, co-led the first student trip to Oman during Winter Term 2015. These departments combined to organize a trip for eleven Miami students and traveled to three major cities. The purpose of this trip was to allow students to think critically about Omani culture from religious, cultural, political, social, economic, and historical perspectives.

According to Dr. Bergman, the trip was highly successful: “Students saw Omani life from a variety of perspectives and wrote about their research and their experiences in detail and with the kind of critical thinking that we work to develop in our students.”

Prior to the departure, students learned about Omani culture through readings, presentations, and videos for a week in Oxford. While in Oman the students had a set itinerary, which included lectures about transitions and traditions in Oman, visits to museums, villages, and historic and religious centers, and free time to explore.

In addition to observing and living in a new culture, some students practiced their Arabic language skills. Political Science major Sara Dastagir said that it was a great opportunity for her to study Middle Eastern politics while actually being there. 

“What I liked most about going to Oman was that I was able to talk to Omani political science professors and ask them about their oil economy,” Dastagir said. “You don’t get that opportunity often, so I think that was probably one of the highlights of my trip, and being able to go to the Sultan Qaboos mosque and spending time at the beach.”

Dastagir believes the experience of this trip and the connections she made will help her with her post-graduation goal of moving to Istanbul or Egypt to continue her studies of Middle Eastern politics.

2014 Tianjin Intensive Chinese Summer Program

Tianjin Group PhotoDr. Liang Shi took twenty-four Miami students on an immersive, six-week trip to Tianjin. Students took Chinese language and culture courses, visited historical sites such as the Great Wall and Forbidden City in Beijing, and traveled to Qinghai Province to see some of the most beautiful scenes in China. The students studied at Tianjin Foreign Studies University, in the heart of the city. Students were integrated into local, Chinese society while on their immersion trip.

Intensive 2014 German Summer in Heidelberg, Jena, Dessau, and Berlin

German GroupDr. John M. Jeep led eighteen students on a seven-week trip to Germany. This trip offered eight credit hours for students to fulfill in conversation, composition, and reading in German literature, culture, and current events at the 200 or 300 level.

Students began their trip at the University of Heidelberg and then traveled to Jena and visited Weimar, from where some traveled to the concentration camp at Buchenwald. From Jena, the students went to Dessau where they visited a theater and the German Federal Environmental Agency. The last ten days of the trip were spent in Berlin, where students visited the Berlin Cathedral and the German Parliament’s Reichstag building, among many other sites.

The students lived with German families during the Heidelberg and Jena portions of their trip, were guests of the Moses Mendelssohn Gesellschaft in Dessau and surroundings, and experienced Berlin on daily outings.  These experiences gave students a global perspective while learning a foreign language.

Here the group is joined by Heidelberg Professor of German Dr. Thomas Wilhelmi.

New Arabic Course for Fall 2015

Arabic TapestryDr. Elizabeth M. Bergman will be teaching a new upper level Arabic course this coming fall semester. ARB 401: Advanced Arabic Conversation and Composition enhances the basic sequence of Arabic language courses. It meets the needs of the increasing number of students who want to continue their study of Arabic for the duration of their Miami degree program and for students who come to Miami with prior study of Arabic. This course develops abilities to communicate orally and in writing through reading and discussion of literary and cultural topics from the classical period to the present day. It integrates comprehension and communication skills in spoken and standard Arabic. Prerequisite: ARB 302 or permission of instructor.

Reasons to Learn Arabic

1. Arabic is a major world language, one of the six official languages of the United Nations. It is spoken by over 200 million people in the Middle East and elsewhere.

2. Arabic continues to grow and expand in the US. People who identify themselves as Arab increased by 40% between 1990 and 2000, according to the US Census Bureau.

3. The need for Arabic continues to outpace the supply of people who can fill jobs in the US government, in NGOs, and in private industry. Over 25 US government agencies and offices, including but not limited to intelligence and security, identify Arabic as essential.

4. There are financial incentives for Arabic. Scholarships are available from the US government and private industry to help US students study Arabic in the US and overseas. Some jobs offer salary supplements to those who can demonstrate their knowledge of Arabic.

5. Arabic contributions to the sciences and the arts began while Europe was still in the Dark Ages. Arabic libraries preserved Greek and Roman knowledge, and speakers of Arabic made major contributions to astronomy, mathematics, medicine, and philosophy, among others. Knowing Arabic makes it possible to investigate these developments in their original form.

We Count on Your Support

The Department of German, Russian, Asian, and Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures encompasses eight languages which are deemed of critical importance in today’s multicultural world. Development and cultivation of any of these languages may enhance your earning or hiring potential in any field of science or business. Fulfilling the Global Perspectives part of the Miami Plan requirements for graduation becomes much easier with a language as study abroad options become wide-open avenues for personal, and future career development.

We are very proud of all our programs. This summer we are running intensive summer language programs in Germany and China. We hope to again run an Arabic program in Oman during Winter 2016. In this connection we have just established a specifically designated departmental Travel Award Fund for students studying abroad for the summer, the semester, or the year. With Miami's institutional emphasis on study abroad, the number of students so engaged increases every year. Any contributions you may make to this endeavor will be very welcome.

Below is the web address to Miami’s University Advancement gift giving page.

If you wish to give to GRAMELAC, under the “Designations” section, type in 1587-001.

Your support is very much appreciated!