Currently I'm a logistics officer in the Army, temporarily stationed at Ft Riley, Kansas, training with a team in preparation for our role as Iraqi advisers. While I haven't used my German major in any direct way yet, I use the skills I gained as a German major every day. For my assignment as an Iraqi adviser, we are required to learn at least basic Arabic. Not an easy language by any standard, but being familiar with one foreign language has made learning a second much less overwhelming.
Being a German major was a big part of establishing my love for travel. Knowing another language has given me another tool and confidence that makes travel that much easier and more enjoyable. It's also kindled a desire to learn other languages.
I decided to study German because I enjoyed learning it in high school and it was time to choose a major. As with Germans, practicality rules.
Mein Name ist Timothy Bostick. Ich habe Deutsch als Nebenfach (Alte Sprachen als Hauptfach) an Wheaton von 1994-1998 studiert.
Ich arbeite momentan an der Justus-Liebig-Universität in Giessen, etwa eine Stunde nördlich von Frankfurt a.M., als Fremdsprachensekretär im Institut für Ernährungswissenschaft für Prof. Katja Becker. Mein anderer Job ist als Schichtführer für eine Sicherheitsfirma, die U.S.-Militärkasernen in Deutschland überwacht.
Ich wurde vor 10 Jahren in Giessen von der U.S. Army stationiert und bin einfach dort geblieben, außer einem 6-monatigen Einsatz in Kosovo und einem Jahr im Irakkrieg. Ich bin auch immer noch im Reservedienst hier. Meine Einheit befindet sich in Wiesbaden etwa 20 Minuten westlich von Frankfurt.
Mein Kenntnis der deutschen Sprache ist sehr nützlich gewesen. Ich hatte ursprünglich entschieden, Deutsch zu studieren, weil ich deutsche Vorfahren habe. Mein Großvater, dessen Muttersprache Deutsch war, wuchs vor dem 2. Weltkrieg in einem deutschen Dorf in Rumänien auf. Wegen seines Einflußes und da ich mehrere schöne Reisen nach München gemacht hatte, um Familie zu besuchen, wollte ich die Sprache lernen und vielleicht dort leben. Jetzt ist das eine Realität. Ich werde aber irgendwann, vielleicht in 10-12 Jahren, zurück in die USA ziehen.
I took German in high school and didn't intend to take any German classes until I heard about the Wheaton in Germany summer program, which I attended after my freshman year. I had a great time there, learned a ton, and decided to keep taking German classes, primarily to improve my language skills. After taking enough classes for a German minor it was only a few more for a major, so I just kept going. I was also a Business/Economics major, but I spent a lot of time doing ROTC as well.
Since graduation I've had one job (Army officer) in many different forms (staff officer in an armor battalion at Ft. Stewart, Georgia; platoon leader in Kuwait/Iraq; battalion logistics officer in Korea; staff officer in Baghdad; and company commander at Ft. Meade, Maryland). Currently (and most bizarrely) I'm in a graduate nuclear engineering program at the Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base; and , to be honest, it's a career path that my German major didn't directly prepared me for.
The German department did teach me, though, to read and think critically; skills far more important over the course of a lifetime than the ability to solve differential equations or understand nuclear fission.
I'm married and have one daughter, and we're members of an Orthodox Presbyterian church in Dayton, Ohio. The only German I've read lately was a little bit of the Heidelberg catechism, which I actually prefer to the OPC's Westminster catechisms. In recent years I've spoken German with a reporter from Der Spiegel in Baghdad, with the German wife of one of the officers I worked with at Ft. Meade, and with a German air force officer I ran into in Washington, D.C. They've mostly said that my German is good, but Germans are good liars.