German at Oxford Personal Statement

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lucygibbons08
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Hey, I’m already beginning to think about the academic content for my personal statement, and I will be
applying for German at Oxford beginning 2022. Due to Covid, I will be unable to attend exhibitions or even go to a German speaking country therefore I am relying on books, films etc to show my interest. Has anyone got any literature/ films suggestions???
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harrysbar
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(Original post by lucygibbons08)
Hey, I’m already beginning to think about the academic content for my personal statement, and I will be
applying for German at Oxford beginning 2022. Due to Covid, I will be unable to attend exhibitions or even go to a German speaking country therefore I am relying on books, films etc to show my interest. Has anyone got any literature/ films suggestions???
I wonder if you have any suggestions Oxford Mum?
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lucygibbons08
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^^ I have just read Nachdenken Über Christa T (in english) and I am just starting Effi Briest (english) by Theodor Fontane. I am reading in English atm because I am a year 12 and as I am only 2 terms into German A Level , I don’t want to overwhelm myself
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Oxford Mum
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(Original post by lucygibbons08)
Hey, I’m already beginning to think about the academic content for my personal statement, and I will be
applying for German at Oxford beginning 2022. Due to Covid, I will be unable to attend exhibitions or even go to a German speaking country therefore I am relying on books, films etc to show my interest. Has anyone got any literature/ films suggestions???
I love Sansibar oder der letzte Grund, der Vorleser (Reader), die Leiden des jungen Werther (which helped my son get into Oxford for German), der Sandmann, Leben des Galilei, Tod in Venedig, die Brandstifter

Films - der Untergang (about the last days of Hitler), das Leben der Anderen, die Welle, die verlorene Ehre der Katarina Blum, of course die blaue Engel Goodbye Lenin
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lucygibbons08
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thank you so much! how much needs to be read in german and how much can i read in translation
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Oxford Mum
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(Original post by lucygibbons08)
thank you so much! how much needs to be read in german and how much can i read in translation
I would not recommend reading a translation, as how can you learn any German? Maybe start out with something simple like Emil und die Detektive or Biedermann und die Brandstifter.

If you come to a word you don't know, look up the English. Son used to make a file of unfamiliar vocab and learn it. also read simple articles like Bild and "build" up from there, lol.

But don't just read. Reflect and critique what you have just read. You don't have to read loads and loads of books. Goethe poetry can come in very handy as well.

It's relatively easy to get in for languages, even easier for German as many schools have dropped it in favour of German.

In fact, let me just ping you my son's chapter on German from Oxford Demystified

https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=6054206
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lrs_b
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Das Leben Der Anderen is an amazing German film and I barely know a word of the language. All Quiet On The Western Front was originally written in German, no?
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Oxford Mum
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(Original post by lrs_b)
Das Leben Der Anderen is an amazing German film and I barely know a word of the language. All Quiet On The Western Front was originally written in German, no?
Yep, in fact first year students at Oxford study it.
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lucygibbons08
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thank you so much, this is really helpful. have you got any knowledge/advice on the personal statement for the UNIQ summer school?
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Oxford Mum
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Let them know what German literature means to you. In fact die Leiden des jungen werthers will be on the radio very soon, I think tomorrow night. It will be worth a listen.
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Oxford Mum
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My son really liked werther and cried in frustration at the ending
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Oxford Mum
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It was on yesterday damn
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lucygibbons08
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sorry to bother you again ahaha, but i heard that reading literature in translation is fine for applying for the summer school? is that the case! sorry again ahaha
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Oxford Mum
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(Original post by lucygibbons08)
sorry to bother you again ahaha, but i heard that reading literature in translation is fine for applying for the summer school? is that the case! sorry again ahaha
I am sure it is fine to read the translation if you are wanting to read a lot at once. However call me a purist, but how are you going to learn any German if you read a book in English! Also some of the magic of a book can be lost in translation. There is poetry, for example, where you can see German on one page, English on the other, that may help.

Do what is easiest for you right now, however do take the plunge at some point and move gradually towards German (with a really good dictionary, either physical or online). Keep on looking up those words.
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wereonthewall
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(Original post by lucygibbons08)
^^ I have just read Nachdenken Über Christa T (in english) and I am just starting Effi Briest (english) by Theodor Fontane. I am reading in English atm because I am a year 12 and as I am only 2 terms into German A Level , I don’t want to overwhelm myself
Well those are definitely serious texts, Christa T is always at the top the post-45 texts written on for finals and Effi Briest is the most intimidating prelims text!
I don't think there's a particular issue with reading them in English (you should read them in German later) as long as you find them interesting, and ideally, are able to use them to make connections to wider contexts and themes. There's just a huge amount of stuff to talk about in Effi and some good things for applications: maybe think about the role of narrative as you're reading, and make sure to note the use of objects - they'll come up again and again, what function do they serve in the text? Does the text really offer much of a social critique?
I wouldn't worry about it too much at this stage, just see if you can join some dots to other books you've found interesting. You could try Herta Mueller's excellent Reisende auf einem Bein (the language is a bit weird but definitely accessible) or something new, 'Brueder' by Jackie Thomae; there's a lot in those you could think about in relation to both Christa T and Effi B. But there's also nothing wrong with the normal A level fare, I did Der Vorleser and it was a great starting point for lots of other Vergangenheitsbewaeltigung(ish) texts.
Poetry is also something to consider. If you're very keen you could get 'Deutsche Lyrik; Eine Anthologie' (the blue one on Amazon). We use it in first year and it has a good range of poems to flick through which obviously require less stamina than a novel! If you like Effi and poetic realism it has some nice Moerike poems you might also find interesting - they always seem to like teaching Rilke's Der Panther so maybe have a look at that if you've got a spare five minutes.

Best of luck, I'm sure you'll be fine whatever you choose to read!
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lucygibbons08
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Thank you so much! I really enjoyed Christa T and it defiantly gave me a lot to think about. I am enjoying those to books for the story in general if that makes sense ahahah. I am about to start my first novel in German though , which i’m excited for but I think I will have a look at the poetry you suggested!
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tinygirl96
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Focus on reasons why you love German literature and culture. Make a list to use as fodder for your ps. Goethe is a good author of plays.
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