Andrea Walter [email protected]
1) What is your current occupation and where do you live? Please briefly describe your duties and responsibilities. How long have you been at this position?
I live in a rural area of Western North Carolina. I am a fifth grade teacher, and have been working as a teacher for about 11 years.
2) Did studying German language and culture at Williams College help you in your professional and personal development? If yes, then how were German Studies useful to you? What opportunities and challenges did the German major open up for you both specific to your current occupation and more generally?
Studying German language and culture have always been important to me, since both my parents are German immigrants. I have been especially fascinated with events leading up to the World Wars, hardships during the wars, and Germany since World War II. I continue to be interested in how such a small country (with generally nice people, judging from my relatives there) can turn into such a deadly force, especially as it applies to current conflicts in other countries.
During college, I worked in divided Berlin for summer (thank you Professor Kieffer!), and then studied at Ludwig Maximillians Universitaet, Munich for two semesters.
After college, I worked with a small Williamstown -based nonprofit on global security issues, using my perspectives from studying Germany.
After receiving my teaching degree in 2006, I was hired to teach at the bilingual German American John F. Kennedy School in Berlin, and worked as a fourth grade teacher for 18 months. It was a fantastic opportunity to catch up with German aquaintances, and to enroll my daughter in a German kindergarten. She is now a fluent German speaker at age 15. I am currently a fifth grade teacher and do not use my German background directly, although I am always looking for people to speak with.
3) Please share your advice or recommendation about the German department at Williams to a prospective student who is considering taking courses or majoring in our program.
It has been a long time since I graduated in ’88, but I have very fond memories of my German classes and teachers. I was most closely connected to Dr. Gail Newman and appreciated the personal encouragement she provided. I especially liked the German Table and the chance to meet au pairs from Germany. The German Department had organized a summer work opportunity at Schering Pharmaceuticals in Berlin, which was an incredible experience for me.
4) Would you be willing to serve as a contact person for current students of German about your career or life path? If so, how should students contact you?
Sure, I would be happy to help. Students can reach me at [email protected]