Christopher Notaro

Christopher Notaro

"My name is Christopher Notaro and I am currently a graduating senior. I began my undergraduate career at Canisius as a history major in the fall of 2010 and started taking German classes the following spring. Normally students who have not had any exposure to the German language start with the first introductory level course of the program, German 103. My newly discovered interest in German came about too late to register for this class. But after a brief meeting with Dr. Böhm shortly before the winter break, he agreed to let me register for the second introductory level course in the spring if I were to study the material covered in the fall over the break. Eager to commence learning, I studied the first few chapters of our textbook for the entire winter break and found the transition into German 104 a smooth one. Compensating for the missed material in the fall was not without its challenges, but I found Dr. Böhm’s teaching methods and his focus on speaking German to be highly effective. After successfully completing my first semester of German, I decided to register for the intermediate level classes in my sophomore year and I eventually added German as my second major in the spring semester.

After nearly four years of studying German I can honestly say that my life has forever changed. Having no previous knowledge of the language as a freshman, I am now able to confidently read lengthy German texts, carry out extensive conversations in the language, and communicate basic and complex thoughts through writing. While my level of proficiency was achieved largely from my own efforts, consistent use of the language in class and the structure of Dr. Böhm’s lesson plans allowed me to gain the confidence needed to succeed in learning German.

But rather than rambling on about the structure of the courses, I will briefly conclude by revealing how learning German changed my life the most: studying abroad. 

I studied abroad at the Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt in the summer of 2013, and it was honestly one of the best experiences of my life. Not only was it my first trip to Europe, it also allowed (and forced) me to use my German outside of the classroom in everyday life. Naturally, I was very nervous to go off to a foreign country thousands of miles away from my family and my friends. But as soon as I arrived in Eichstätt, I met so many new people who were also learning German; I made so many friends with whom I still keep in contact, today. There are a million things I can mention about studying abroad in Germany: the delicious food, the opportunities to travel, meeting new friends; but simply listing these experiences fails to do any sort of justice to the wonderful time I had, there. Studying abroad is an opportunity which only comes once. Therefore, even if you have only the slightest interest in studying abroad, no matter where it may be, make some inquiries about it. You will thank yourself for doing so when you start your own experience abroad."