German club celebrates Maifest

Santa Monica College students were given the opportunity to test and improve their knowledge in German culture on Tuesday, when the German Club at SMC celebrated Maifest, an event meant commemorate the arrival of Summer. Students who stopped by the event were welcomed with pizza and were allowed to take part in certain contests where they competed for prizes such as Red Bull and German chocolate. The contests consisted of German trivia, as well as a contest judging who could do the best pronunciation of certain words in German.

"The purpose of this event is to actually introduce students here at SMC to learn about the German culture, the German language, what it can be used for, how useful it is, and at the same time, it's a lot of fun," said SMC student Barbara Bassill, a member of the club.

Bassill, who arrived in the United States from Germany at the age of 16, says that besides celebrating events like Maifest, the club is there to give students a broader understanding of German culture.

Being comprised of students who understand the German language and culture at different levels, the club practices the culture through several activities such as a German version of "hangman" in which students must guess certain words in the specific language.

The club also takes students on a variety of field trips such as operas or more notably, the German Film Festival.

During the event, students could be seen reading several posters and flyers around the area which described the benefits of knowledge in German culture in many areas such as the top ten ways to learn German, what careers would be suitable for German fanatics, and what SMC majors require or recommend taking German in college.

To attract students, the club set up a jumper in the form of a castle; a move meant to refer to the fairy tale land of the Grimm brothers of Germany.

German professor and advisor to the club, Anneliese Gerl, wants students to know that the club is there to teach students, while also having a lot of fun.

"We try to inspire people to take the German language," said Gerl. "We talk about the German culture, the German music, German literature; we always feed them chocolate and they love it."

Gerl added that another reason the club exists is to show students that learning the language isn't as hard as it can be made out to be. She noted that English is the sister language of German and that the words are much more alike than people think.

"Once our students start, once we get them, then they continue," said Gerl. "But the thing is, it's hard for us to reach them and that's why we are here."