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Andrea Wilberding

May 26, 2016
Photo of Andrea Wilberding

Graduation Year: 2017

Hometown: Chicago, IL

Why did you choose to major in German, Scandinavian, Dutch?

When I started at the University, I actually was in a completely different major: environmental science. I changed my major to GSD last spring after taking a German course and getting to know some of the people in the department. I realized that this was something that I was really interested in and the department was just the kind of place that I wanted to be. I felt like I could really thrive here, and after changing my major, I found out that I was right about that!

What has been your favorite part of your experience in the department?

I really do appreciate the faculty in the department. They have helped me so much by being great teachers who are interested in me. They helped me realize what opportunities are available and how I could achieve my goals. I will be studying abroad all of next year in Freiburg, Germany. That would not be possible if I hadn’t spoken with professors who encouraged me to apply for the program and scholarships. The professors also provided me with recommendations. This opportunity is really exciting to me and not something that I would have thought about doing before joining GSD.

Why/how did you choose German?

I have always had an interest in language learning, but didn’t start learning German until after I started at the U. I actually studied Japanese in high school and took a German course on a whim because I have German heritage and have family members who speak or are learning German. After taking that course, I fell in love with the language and decided to learn as much as I can!

Are you pursuing any minors, internships or fields of interest outside your GSD major? How do you feel they enhance your studies in GSD and/or your career plans?

I hope to finish a minor in environmental science by the time that I graduate. I’ve also done course work in linguistics, which I have a strong interest in. I also had the opportunity to visit the Andrew Peterson Farmstead in Carver County in one of my GSD courses this semester, which has led to a possible internship with the Carver County Historical Society. I want to go on to graduate studies and I feel that the GSD major really lends itself to exploring other academic fields that I can think about pursuing in graduate school and beyond.

What is something about the GSD department that most people wouldn’t know?

I think something that people may not realize is how versatile and useful a major in GSD can be! Within the department there are so many different fields of knowledge and expertise represented and there are a lot of creative career options out there for people who want to pursue a GSD major, whether you are combining that with another major/minor or not.

What GSD courses would you recommend for majors? For non-majors who want to take a GSD course?

A course that I really enjoyed taking this past semester was the Intro to German Literature course. Being able to read and discuss complex concepts in German was a great feeling and really helped improve my language skills. It was especially exciting this semester, as the instructor was a visiting professor from Graz, Austria. I would definitely recommend that course or courses like that are not taught in english for majors, as they are really useful. For non-majors, I would suggest that they take GSD 3511W: Vikings, Knights, and Reformers. That’s a really fun class, taught completely in English, and I think it’s a great introduction to the department!

When you are not in class, where can you usually be found on campus?

I work at the University of Minnesota Bookstore and am also involved in the Queer Student Cultural Center, so when I’m not in Folwell Hall, I’m usually in Coffman!