CSSG courses are intensive (equivalent to a full-year university course in 7 weeks). They are taught in German and develop speaking, comprehension, writing, and reading skills as well as cultural knowledge through interactive classroom instruction and integrated activities and excursions outside the classroom. (Scroll down for the syllabi.)
Our immersion program leads to improved overall fluency, enhanced knowledge of German culture, and a more meaningful understanding of grammar through language use in context. Combining immersion with our one-on-one tutoring, materials completely in German, and innovative teaching, we support and encourage students to make the most of this learning opportunity and work through challenges they face in a new environment.
All CSSG courses are aligned with the Canadian University curriculum for German studies. Upon sucessful completion of the program in Kassel, students will have the necessary German language skills for the next course level at their home University. This includes literacy and literature study skills.
Course Content and Focus
Apart from excursion days and public holidays, we have classes from 9 a.m. till 12:30 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays (totaling at least 85 hours).
CSSG courses primarily focus on improving students' language skills, overall speaking proficiency, and listening comprehension.
Students improve their speaking and listening through:
- the immersion experience of living with a host family and talking with them in German;
- partner and group discussion tasks in class;
- interview tasks with people in the community;
- giving and engaging with individual and group presentations and performances.
Reading and literature study skills are greatly enhanced through the reading and interpretation of a novel or a collection of stories in each course.
Writing skills are improved through short written assignments as well as a personal guided journal in German. This journal encourages critical reflection on the student's integration into daily life in Germany and facilitates growth in intercultural awareness.
CSSG courses also review and cover key grammatical concepts. The selection of grammar content is level appropriate (from A2 to C1).
Assessment is both formative and summative: in addition to graded assignments and activities, you will write quizzes, a mid-term, and a final exam. The CSSG instructors are available to help you in the one-on-one tutorials offered in the afternoons.
Please remember that this is an intensive program (see: A Typical Day in the Program). We want all our students to succeed academically and to enjoy their learning experiences with us in Germany. This is how former students describe their path to success:
- Speak German all the time, right from the start, even when CSSG faculty members aren't around :)
- Do your homework immediately after the lunch break so it doesn't pile up.
- Make use of the individual help sessions provided by any member of the CSSG team to get updates on your progress.
- Be active in class! You will benefit most from taking part and using your imagination
- Be open-minded and inquisitive about new ways of learning language and culture.
- Ask questions, ask for help, ask for repetition.
- Communicate regularly with your host family in German, initiate conversations (even if they are basic or repetitive!), and help out around the home.
- Socialize with your tandem partner, their friends and other CSSG students.
Credits & Syllabi
CSSG courses are Saint Mary's University courses. The six credits are equivalent to one full-year course everywhere in Canada and are transferable to a participant's home institution upon successful completion of the program. The following are sample course syllabi (new syllabi appear each spring before the program):
- First-year, second semester equivalent plus extra intercultural learning (six credit hours): GRMN 1446: Waystage German Immersion & Intercultural Learning (1000-level syllabus 2019)
- Second-year equivalent (six credit hours): GRMN 2446: Intermediate German Immersion I & II outline (2000-level syllabus 2019)
- Third-year equivalent (six credit hours): GRMN 3446: Advanced German Immersion I & II outline (3000-level syllabus 2019)
- Fourth-year equivalent (six credit hours): GRMN 4446: Advanced German Immersion III & IV outline (4000-level syllabus 2019)
- Community Service Learning within the CSSG program (six credit hours): GRMN 4447/5447: German Immersion Community Service Learning outline (CSL Syllabus 2018)
- Teacher Professional Development (six credit hours): GRMN 4448/5448: German Language Teaching and Learning (GRMN 4848 & 5848 CSSG Syllabus)
- Community Service Learning within communities of Kassel (six credit hours): GRMN 4449/5449: German Intercultural Community Service Learnng (This is a new course; syllabus forthcoming)