A Glimpse of Germany

A Glimpse of Germany

Jorge Blanes, a senior at University of Michigan, is teaching a new CR on the topic of German culture and language around the world at Community High School.

“Basically, it’s an intro-level outlook on German culture with the basics of the language mixed in,” Blanes said. “We learn about the people, the food, the music, and at the end, they’ll be able to have a basic conversation in German.”

Originally, to wrap up his senior year, Blanes thought he would simply tutor individuals for his International Relations major, but his teacher discovered the CR program and asked if Blanes wanted to try his hand at teaching. He jumped at the opportunity. Trying new things was what drew Blanes to languages in the first place.

On his second day of teaching, Blanes revealed that he was still nervous, but he expressed how much he enjoys teaching the class, especially when his students engage with the material. What drives Blanes to teach is his passion for learning languages, instilled early and deeply.

Blanes wants this class to be as special for his students as it is for him. While he started this semester with a loose curriculum, the class is ultimately for the students and their interests and he wants to cater the curriculum to them.

“The goal is getting [them] interested in the culture, so we’re going to go over music, hobbies and what is there to see in Germany,” Blanes said. “The students mentioned that they were interested in not only learning about Germany but also other [German-speaking] countries. So now [we’re] going to look at other cultures like Austria, Switzerland and a big minority in Brazil.”

Margret Alpern, a student at CHS, explained that she was inspired to take the CR after having a conversation with her grandmother about their German heritage. She wants to understand her family’s past by learning about the German culture they’re tied to.

Blanes’s goal for the end of the year is to broaden the student’s horizons in terms of German-speaking countries and cultures, in addition to opening their minds to learning about different languages and cultures all over the world. Blanes encourages students to take a risk and join him in widening their perspective of the greater world around them.