German House Kaffeklatsch – Conversations, Cookies, and Coffee

By ARIELLE GORDON

Every Wednesday (except during fourth week) the German language house hosts Kaffeeklatsch (pronounced “kaffe-klatch”), an informal afternoon gathering to speak conversational German while enjoying cookies and coffee.

Photo by Nick Penzel

However, Kaffeeklatsch is open to anyone. Residents of the Max Kade German House often attend, along with students enrolled in German classes, some professors, and members of the Colorado Springs community. Currently, a few exchange students visiting from Germany for the semester also took part.

“It offers a more natural way of conversation, as opposed to speaking in the classroom,” German professor Seth Meyer said. According to Meyer, gatherings similar to Kaffeeklatsch are common at German Departments in colleges across the United States. Kaffeeklatsch has been a regular event at CC for over 50 years.

“The CC Kaffeeklatsch has existed since at least 1962, when the German house was dedicated,” Markus Breintner, the German CPC, said.  “It has a long tradition that we want to carry on. Just like in many other colleges, where they have similar events, Kaffeeklatsch creates an opportunity to learn about Germany and its culture.”

Speaking German is not a requirement to attend, though. Many informal conversations are held in English, and presentations are given in English as well. “I also want people to know that they do not have to know German to come to Kaffeeklatsch, Breintner said. “We want everyone who is interested in German culture to be able to come.”

The presentations usually relate to an aspect of life in Germany. “I really liked when we talked about the federal election,” Evva Parsons said. “That was really cool.”

Last week, German exchange student Melina Nitschker spoke about her home school, the University of Göttingen in Lower Saxony, Germany. The presentation was short and followed by a question and answer session.

CC student Joy Li attended the University of Göttingen as an exchange student last year and offered her perspective on her time in Germany. She took a variety of classes in English and German and would recommend the program to anyone looking for German language immersion.

According to Nitschker, University of Göttingen has 31,500 students and offers many undergraduate and graduate programs. She was able to compare and contrast student life in Germany with what she has experienced at Colorado College, the biggest difference being class sizes and student body population.

During third block, presentations will cover additional education opportunities in Germany, with another presentation from a CC student returning from an exchange program in Lüneburg, Germany. Eventually one week they will also discuss sports in Germany.

Additionally, for anyone looking to informally converse in German, the German department hosts other events to gather and practice language skills.

“Stammtisch, which is every second Thursday each block, is the time when we try to only speak German,” Breintner said.

Regardless of your mastery of the German language or understanding of local culture, Kaffeeklatsch is a relaxing time to meet fellow German speakers and learn about their language and experiences in Germany.

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