GERM 330 [Enhanced]

Civilization and Culture of Germany (GERM 330) [Honors enhanced] – Spring 2019

If you had asked me in high school if I thought I would be minoring in German in college, I would have said “no way”. But come sophomore year of college, I found myself signing up for one German class, then another, then I added a minor in German (in addition to my psychology minor!) — all thanks to the encouragement of my wonderful professor, Dr. Sarah Varela.

Civilization and Culture of Germany, taught by Dr. Varela (or Frau V. as her students fondly know her) was an especially fun class to take, and even more so as I got to enhance it to make it an honors class. For my independent project, I chose to research the history of German-made maps and their significance through time. This was really fun and incredibly enlightening, as it was a topic I found intriguing but had never had the opportunity to dive into. That’s one reason why I love doing individual research; it lets me pick a topic I’m actually invested in and dive deep into it. I suspect that I’ll be doing this kind of research even after I graduate!

During my research for this project, I was reminded of just how far humanity has come since written history began. It’s something we all know, but often forget about, and this project opened my eyes to it. Things we take for granted today, like maps of the world that can be found in classrooms everywhere, would be considered incredible to someone from a few centuries ago. And it’s just as important to remember that people of the past weren’t stupid or uneducated; they just weren’t able to learn about the world in the capacity that we can today. I think that’s an important lesson to remember — that we shouldn’t take our knowledge for granted, and we shouldn’t deride those who know less than us, because they just haven’t had the chance to learn yet.

(Below is the poster I made to present my research and some close-up excerpts.)

(P.S. I later dropped the German minor, since I had too many things on my plate, but I still had so much fun and learned so much during my time studying German! Und ich kann jetzt ein bisschen mehr Deutsch.)

“Novae Insulae Nova Tabula” from Cosmographia, Sebastian Münster, 1544.