German is the ticket to Europe. One of the three official languages of the European Union, German is spoken by more than 120 million people worldwide (around 95 million in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, and Liechtenstein). It is also one of the most widely used business languages in Eastern Europe (including Russia).
Germans are one of the most influential ethnic groups in the U.S.—30 percent of Americans have German ancestry. Among the many Americans of German descent are Dwight Eisenhower, Levi Strauss, Babe Ruth, Elvis Presley, Sandra Bullock, and many, many more.
German is the language of thinkers, poets, and musicians. Martin Luther and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Friedrich Nietzsche and Hannah Arendt, Clara Schumann and Ludwig van Beethoven, Albrecht Dürer and Gertrud Kolmar all spoke German. Expressionism, Dadaism, and Bauhaus design originated in the German-speaking world, so did the Waltz . . . and Techno Music.
German opens the door to the world. Are you interested in languages and literature, political science, international politics and economics, business, philosophy, history, natural sciences, music, art, or environmental studies? Thinking about majoring in the international studies program? For each of these fields, familiarity with the German language and culture is an important asset. Over the years, a number of German majors have been valedictorians at Middlebury.