A lecturer giving a presentation

German is one of the world’s major languages and is the most widely spoken mother tongue in the European Union after English. It's an official language of five European countries (Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Liechtenstein). The lingua franca of Central and Eastern Europe, it is a commonly spoken language in many other areas and has growing numbers of learners worldwide, notably in Brazil, China, and India.

German is at the center

Germany is Europe’s strongest economy and plays a central role in current issues such as the environment, migration, and 21st-century globalization. A major force in international business, engineering, and science, it is a leader in innovation and creativity. In addition, German speakers have played a prominent role in literature, art, music, and philosophy. Learning German introduces you to the lands of ideas and diversity.

Where German can take you

Your possibilities are unlimited when you study German. “Made in” Germany,  Austria, or Switzerland are labels that signal the quality of products, design, and lifestyle. That reputation translates into business and career opportunities, intellectual achievements, and vibrant cultural exchanges. Learning German unlocks the door to many career paths.

  • US subsidiaries of German companies employ 1 million Americans (plus 8.6 million indirectly), according to recent figures from the Center for Transatlantic Relations.
  • Over 2,000 American companies conduct business in German-speaking countries; over 1,000 companies based in German-speaking countries have US subsidiaries.
  • The competitiveness and desirability of “Made in Germany” products are indicated by Germany’s substantial trade surplus—162 Billion Euros ($209 Billion).
  • Minnesota’s top industries (2014) for export to Germany are medical devices, machinery, electrical machinery, and plastics.
  • Austria, as the host to many UN organizations and international diplomatic meetings, has a long-standing partnership with the US in promoting global security and East-West trade. The University of Minnesota’s Center for Austrian Studies is internationally recognized as a focal point for multidisciplinary research and connections to Austria.