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Learn German for your future profession.

Learning German in North Carolina isn’t as exotic as some might think.

North Carolina is home to over 240 German subsidiaries. In the Research Triangle alone, there are handfuls of German and Swiss firms specializing in manufacturing, clean technologies, consumer goods and services, engineering, the life sciences and various professional services. According to the Charlotte-based Zeitgeist Foundation, a supporter of German-American business collaborations in Mecklenburg county, Germany creates more than 30,000 jobs in the Tar Heel state and German companies and subsidiaries own roughly $436 million in North Carolina real estate.

Regardless whether your career aspirations take you to Europe or keep you home, learning German can make a real difference on the job market.

Explore the following five opportunities to up your German game by professionalizing your knowledge of German.

1. Business German

Carolina’s German Program offers a two-course sequence designed to professionalize students’ German-language abilities: Business German I (GERM 304) and Business German II (GERM 305).

Eligible to anyone who completes GERM 204, Business German I (GERM 304) emphasizes the acquisition of advanced business-related language skills through the completion of three practical projects: 1) authoring a Federal State profile; 2) researching and presenting a profile on a publicly traded company; and 3) concocting a marketing plan for the German market.

Business German II (GERM 305) focuses on current German economic and business debates and events. Emphasis is also placed on strengthening relevant German language skills by acquiring in-depth knowledge about publicly traded German companies to be included in individual Stock Portfolios. Students who complete GERM 305 are eligible to take the WiDaF exam.

Prerequisite for both GERM 304 and 305 is GERM 204. Students may take take either or both courses in or out of sequence.

2. WiDaF Certification

Carolina is a certified WiDaF (Business German as a Foreign Language) testing center of the German-French Chamber of Industry and Commerce. The WiDaF exam offers advanced students of Business German the opportunity to get their German language proficiency certified according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

The WiDaF exam requires a small fee and is only offered in conjunction with Business German II (GERM 305).

3. German Internships

Studying abroad isn’t for everyone. Internships are a great way for Carolina students to learn and work in Germany. GSLL currently offers students two formal opportunities to secure summer internships with a German firm based in Germany:

Option 1: FU-BEST Internships

Carolina’s partner in Berlin, the Free University, offers an interdisciplinary exchange program called FU-BEST that is identical to Carolina’s fall and spring semesters and that offers both German language courses and English-language content courses in disciplines like literature, art, film, business, law, music, political science, philosophy and religious studies. FU-BEST also offers internships in the summer as an extension of its exchange program.

Past interns have been placed with businesses working in architecture, business analysis, marketing, finance and online marketing, just to name a few areas.

FU-BEST internships last eight weeks and include accompanying course work dedicated to such important topics as work life in Germany, communication and etiquette in the work place and cultural differences in business.

FU-BEST internships are ideal for students less advanced in their German language skills. Applicants need to have completed at least two semesters of university/college level studies at their home university/college and have a GPA of at least 3.0 (students whose GPA is below 3.0 are welcome to apply, but cannot be guaranteed admission until their overall qualifications are more closely reviewed). German language abilities beyond the Beginner level are recommended but not mandatory. For a FU-BEST internship, students must pay an application fee, tuition, a program fee and housing.

Students interested in applying to the FU-BEST internship program should first approach Study Abroad office, which oversees Carolina’s relationship with the Free University.

Option 2: German-American Exchange Internships

Some Carolina students of German have secured internships through GSLL’s relationship with the Atlanta-based German-American Exchange (GAE). The GAE strives to match advanced students of German with companies operating in Germany, assists successful applicants with securing work visas, and offers them excursions to Munich and/or Berlin. In order to apply with the GAE, you must have successfully completed:

    • GERM 204 and possess a upper intermediate command of German (meaning be currently enrolled in GERM 301 or higher), and
    • four semesters of university coursework within one single field (like German) or another major or minor.

You must also currently be:

    • enrolled in a degree-seeking program at Carolina with a projected graduation date after the completion of your intended internship, and
    • be willing to commit to a full three-month internship in Germany.

A complete GAE application is comprised of the following documents:

    1. a cover letter (who are you? what do you seek? can you work both independently and in a team? are you an excellent communicator? can you operate professionally in a business setting?);
    2. the GAE application form (available from Dr. Jocelyn Aksin);
    3. a one-page statement of purpose (why do you seek an internship? what strengths and abilities can you offer? how ideally would you like an internship to impact you and your education? — your statement should use 1.5 spacing and a 12pt Times New Roman);
    4. a professional resume;
    5. a statement of language proficiency (page three of the GAE application form, to be completed by a Carolina faculty member);
    6. two letters of recommendation;
    7. a scanned copy of Form I-20/F-1 visa (for international students only); and
    8. a scanned, color copy of the first two pages of your passport (must be valid at least 6 months after your intended internship ends).
    9. “Certificate of Enrollment” (Immatrikulationsbescheinigung) (available from Dr. Aksin). Your form must state that your internship is mandatory for your degree at Carolina. Your form must be signed, dated and stamped by UNC-Chapel Hill’s Registrar.
    10. application fee ($50) paid to “info@german-” through PayPal.

Your application should be sent via email to GAE: info (at)

Applying to GAE does not guarantee an internship. If a company does select your application, you will be required to pay an additional $150 processing fee also payable via PayPal. All applicants are highly encouraged to read carefully the detailed information contained in the GAE’s “Student Information Package” (available from Dr. Aksin). For more information about the required application documents, visit the German-American Exchange website.

In order to be considered for an internship in the summer, the GAE must receive your application by October 31. It must be authorize beforehand by Dr. Askin. In order to submit an application to the GAE, please be sure to contact Dr. Aksin via email well before the deadline.

Option 3: Independently Organized Internships

Some students with specific needs, lots of drive, and good trans-Atlantic connections have managed to secure an internship with a business in Germany entirely on their own. If you wish to pursue this route, be sure to speak with Dr. Aksin in advance.

4. Experiential Education Connection in Germany: GERM 493

Students who complete an GAE internship or an internship with a German company they arrange themselves, may receive three Experiential Education credits by enrolling in the independent study course GERM 493. This course allows students to earn a maximum of three credit hours for a faculty-supervised internship directly related to the study of German literature or culture, or that uses the German language in the day-to-day conduct of business in a German-speaking environment. Enrollment in GERM 493 usually occurs in the fall semester following the successful completion of a summer internship involving no less than 100 hours. Successful completion of GERM 493 can also count towards the German and Central European majors.

Students interested in enrolling in GERM 493 must secure a faculty supervisor no later than end of the preceding spring semester and complete and submit an internship contract no later than the last of classes in the semester preceding the internship. For a detailed outline of the policies, requirements, and timetable for GERM 493, see the internship’s general guidelines.

For more information about GERM 493 and internship opportunities through FU-BEST and the German-American Exchange, please contact Dr. Aksin.

5. Delta Phi Alpha: German Academic Honors Society

Get German honors on your transcript.

Delta Phi Alpha is an academic honors society dedicated to the recognition of academic excellence in the study of the German language, Germanic cultures and German commerce. Carolina’s German Program invites sophomores and above with a GPA of no less than 3.3 in German to join its Beta Rho chapter every spring semester. Guest speakers from German industry based in North Carolina are regularly invited to hold a lecture in conjunction with the awards ceremony.