Mitchell Sullivan '18

Mitchell Sullivan '18, alumni, majored in German

Below, Mitchell responds to a few questions about his experiences since graduating from St. Thomas.

What have you been doing since graduating from St. Thomas?

Since graduating from St. Thomas, I have been living and working in Cologne, Germany with the Fulbright Program. I am an English Teaching Assistant at a technical college (Berufskolleg) for adults who are pursuing careers in IT and media tech. Working with adults means that most of my lessons are focused on English for the workplace and professional communication.

Why did you decide to major in German?

I decided to major in German not only because it paired well with my studies in Political Science, but also because of the transferable soft skills that a foreign language education strengthens.Having the language skills is excellent, of course, but perhaps more important is that majoring in a foreign language changed the way I navigate my personal and professional life. Intense  study of a foreign language shaped me into a patient problem solver and a culturally-aware colleague. The faculty at St. Thomas also played a large role in my decision to major in German. They provide a program of stunning calibre and are clearly invested in the success of each of their students, both pre- and post-graduation.

How has knowing German benefited you personally and professionally?

Before graduation, my training in German provided the opportunity to do rewarding work at the Twin Cities German Immersion School. Additionally, having German under my belt before my year abroad in Salzburg made me comfortable navigating unfamiliar cultural and personal spaces. I owe my post-graduation professional life nearly entirely to my German studies and the support I had along the way. I use German daily, whether it be communicating with students or colleagues or while I'm out taking care of everyday goings ons.

What advice would you give to incoming or current students who are considering majoring or minoring in German?

I would tell that only good that can come from majoring in German or any other foreign language. Having a language under your belt makes you a competitive candidate for jobs and scholarships post graduation, and the soft skills that language study develop will only benefit you, both personally and professionally.