Last week, the German department at Monash’s School of Languages, Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics (Faculty of Arts) held three days of seminars focused on aspects of German culture in Australia and the experience of living between the Anglophone (or better, Australiphone) and German cultures.
The events were enthusiastically attended and it was great to see seminar rooms full to overflowing with students interested in participating and learning more about the possibility of academic exchanges between Australia and Germany.
German cultural and academic institutions have had a long-standing history and presence in Australia. The Goethe Institut, for example, has been providing language training and presenting the best of German culture in Australia for decades. Representatives from the Goethe Institut where on hand to outline its role and aims in the Australia context.
The new head of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) in Australia, Dr. Ada Bieber outlined the possibility for graduate exchanges to Universities in Germany. Not only are many German Universities among the best in the world, the system is still largely publicly funded (as was the case in Australia in previous decades) meaning tuition fees are either waved or extremely low.
One institution which is unique to Australia and the world is SBS which presenst dozens of foreign language programmes for both TV and Radio, including in German. Maria Schaller from SBS Radio German gave an overview of SBS and provided insights into the specially developed content that is presented by the German Programme.
Finally, Silvia Siebold from BMW Australia gave a wealth of unique insights into working within a German multinational company, as well as the specifically Australian experience of relocating from Germany and mediating very different business cultures on a daily basis.