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A Language for Life Abroad


There are times when Reed Johnson ’18 reaches for the correct words in German and is surprised by what he can produce. He can’t yet translate all his thoughts but he’s well on the way.

“My grasp of German is strong and broad enough not only to speak my mind, but to speak my mind in a manner that reflects who I am,” says Johnson, who majors in German studies and anthropology.

When he started at Hamilton he’d only planned to take some German courses, not major in the language, but then he discovered he loved it, in particular its grammar and word structure. He will study for a semester in Germany, and he and his advisor are brainstorming research possibilities for his time abroad that involve both his majors.

Johnson plans to apply for a Fulbright award that would allow him to teach for two years in Germany after he graduates. He’s not sure yet what he wants to do long term, but he’d like to live abroad.

“If I end up getting a Fulbright and teaching in Germany, the language proficiency will obviously be a huge help. Otherwise, regardless of what I end up doing for a living, it will be nice to have that skill on the back burner,” he says.

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