Launch of the Wales Think German Network

A new network has just been launched, with the aim of encouraging interest across Wales in the German language and the cultures of German-speaking countries. The project is led by the Universities of Bangor (Dr Anna Saunders) and Swansea (Prof. Julian Preece), and is one of several regional networks to start up across the UK, as part of a nation-wide initiative supported by the German Embassy to promote German language and culture.

The aim of the Wales Think German Network is to bring together universities, schools and businesses across Wales who have an interest in German-speaking cultures, to provide a forum for the exchange of experiences, contacts and materials. In view of decreasing numbers of schools offering German in Wales and falling student numbers, the Network hopes above all to provide a boost to the profile of German in schools, and to show the benefits of learning the German language.

Dr Anna Saunders said: ‘There are many good reasons to study German, and not only because it is fun and intellectually stimulating. The German economy, for instance, is the largest in Europe and the fourth largest in the world, and Germany is the UK’s biggest trading partner. German speakers are highly sought after by British employers, with a recent survey conducted by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) placing it top of the list of languages rated by managers as most useful to their business.’

Planned Network activities include schools’ workshops at local universities, themed competitions, a teachers’ forum and the establishment of local ‘Stammtische’ for learners of German. Following a successful South Wales launch event in Swansea in July, a North and Mid-Wales launch event will be held at Bangor University on 18th September, to which all school pupils studying GCSE and A-Level German have been invited. The day will enable pupils to learn about a variety of aspects of German history and culture, and to try a number of hands-on activities, such as translating comics and writing poetry in German.

More information on the Network and its associated activities can be found on the Network website, at http://walesgermannetwork.wordpress.com. If you are interested in getting involved in the Network, please contact Anna Saunders (a.saunders@bangor.ac.uk).

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Publication date: 1 September 2014