David Knowles

“Danke” was the first German word I knew.  I learned it at a young age because my mom had me write my birthday and Christmas thank you cards to my Uroma in German.  Every year from as early as I can remember, she sent me a card and small gift all the way from Kassel, Deutschland.  “Danke” was soon followed by “liebe, bitte,” and counting “eins zu zehn.”  As I grew up I was always interested in German but never really had the initiative as a boy to study it on my own.  My mom herself only knew a little, and I always lived several states away from my maternal grandparents, who are fluent.   

I didn’t begin to formally learn German until my sophomore year at Miami, but after my first class, I was hooked.  After my sophomore year, I took part in the Intensive German Summer in Heidelberg with Dr. Jeep.  Those seven weeks were some of the best times of my life: living with German host families, seeing famous sites in person, visiting my Oma’s hometown of Berlin, watching Die Nationalelf at Die Fanmeile with hundreds of thousands of other fans, practicing my language skills in everyday interactions, etc.  Being immersed in a foreign culture was both mentally exhausting and extremely rewarding.  I only wish I could have spent more time studying abroad.  If anyone were remotely considering studying abroad in a non-English speaking country, I would greatly encourage you to do it!  My German improved exponentially over that summer, and I developed an even stronger love for the language and culture. 

I’m about to being my third year as a medical student at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine (UCCOM).  Unfortunately, I have not been able to return to Germany since my summer trip.  However, UCCOM participates in an exchange program with the College of Medicine of Ludwig Maximillian University in München, Germany.  This partnership provides opportunities for UC students to pursue research opportunities and/or study in München, and I’m hoping to pursue this opportunity during my last year of medical school.    

I thoroughly enjoyed all my German classes and professors in the GREAL Department.  Miami University truly does have the best professors, and I can never thank them enough.  They helped instill in me a lifelong love and appreciation for the German language, culture, and people.  Every time I hear or speak Deutsch, I’ll fondly remember my time at Miami and what an impact the GREAL Department had on my life. Vielen Dank!