Palestine’s First German Bachelor Degree Offered
The Department of Languages and Translation has officially begun teaching German as a comprehensive undergraduate program, with full support from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).
Due to high demand and the absence of similar undergraduate programs in Palestinian universities, Birzeit University has worked hard to develop elective German courses into major and minor courses of study.
According to Languages and Translation Department head Majdi Abu Zahra, the program enables students with no prior knowledge of the German language to enroll in an extensive five-hour per week course while allowing others with background in the language to enter at a more advanced level.
Students who are interested in studying German take a language test to determine where they stand.
German Language Program Director Ulrike Mitter said excellent students enrolled in the program will be rewarded with incentives and scholarships, such as training workshops in Germany, Master’s degree scholarships, or the opportunity to be appointed as a research and teaching assistant after graduation.
Students specializing in other fields could also study German as a minor, enabling them to skip the program’s one-year mandatory language course in Germany. The program also offers students in schools the chance to register in a training program if they chose the education track.
Abu Zahra said there is a shortage in German language graduates despite Palestinian society’s growing need for such expertise. Nowadays, there are numerous work opportunities for those who speak. Many schools like the Schmidt School, Al-Tifel Al-Arabi School in Jerusalem and Lutheran Schools teach German to their students and graduates can work in embassies and ministries.
He added that many students switched to the German language program after taking elective courses, having realized the importance of this language in Palestinian society and the need to add a new language to the spectrum of languages available.