German Ambassador visits the Department of Languages, Cultures, and Film

Posted on: 4 March 2024 by Natalie Woodhead, German and History Student in 2024 posts

Group picture of the German Ambassador and Langauges Students at the University of Liverpool
Group picture of the German Ambassador and Languages Students at the University.

The Department of Languages, Cultures, and Film was visited the German Ambassador, His Excellency Miguel Berger, on 22 February 2024. Ambassador Berger met with staff and students from across German Studies to learn about the programme and range of activities on offer at Liverpool. He was also interested to hear about the experiences of students, given the declining numbers studying languages across the UK. Natalie Woodhead tells us about the visit.

Insights into LCF programmes

Staff in German Studies talked about different elements of the languages programmes in LCF, from the range of languages to the types of modules on offer to students of German Studies. Ambassador Berger was particularly interested to learn that – alongside dedicated German language and linguistics modules – many optional modules relating to German politics, culture and society are also available to students of History, Politics, English and other areas; other cross-disciplinary modules also feature German content, such as the modules Cinematic City or Terror Remembered. He was also interested in the combination of subjects that students took with German, given that each of the 10 students present was taking German with another subject, including History, Law, Sociology, Chinese, French and Spanish.

Student experiences

Students spoke about their experiences of learning German from different starting points, and Ambassador Berger was especially interested to hear about the experiences of students learning German from beginner’s level, given the frequent lack of opportunities to study German at school. He was acutely aware of this problem in the UK and spoke about current initiatives to boost interest in the language. Another topic of conversation was the opportunities provided by the Year Abroad as well as the difficulties caused by the need to acquire a visa. Ambassador Berger mentioned future plans to help ease travel for young people between Germany and the UK, and was interested to hear about Liverpool’s partner institutions in Germany and Austria, as well as the experiences of final year students while abroad. It was notable that many students envisaged working and living in Germany in future and had clearly benefitted enormously from their time working or studying abroad.

Introducing the student newspaper

During the meeting, final year students introduced their student newspaper to the Ambassador: the German language Scausländer Zeitung ( The online newspaper includes articles and videos about contemporary affairs, travelling and student life in Germany, as well as some creative writing pieces. The Ambassador was impressed with the project and commented on the range of topics covered.

Final thoughts and future plans

The meeting ended with a brief discussion of the exciting fact that Germany is hosting the 2024 Euros, and that there would be many English football fans travelling to Germany to watch the football.

Overall, it was a lively meeting and exciting for us to be able to talk in German to the Ambassador and tell him about the range of activities in Liverpool. It was also interesting to hear about the concerns, interests, and plans of the German Embassy, and to discuss ways of encouraging more young people to learn languages – specifically German – and to benefit from the rich experiences offered by spending time studying or working abroad.