Writing / Video competition for German students / speakers

The DAAD – in cooperation with the Institute of Modern Languages Research IMLR – is calling on #German students/speakers to take part in their annual competition. This year, the competition branches out into new territory: after successful (and exciting!) forays into poetry, prose, translation and dramatic dialogue writing, competitors are asked this year to make a short video on ‘Auf deutschen Spuren – In the footsteps of German-language culture’.

The competition is not only about written texts: everyone eligible to register should send a video alongside the written script. Catch an inspirational moment on screen, whether you have already gained experience in the art of film-making or are just about to start your very first short film!

The competition is open to

– students at secondary schools/ Sixth Form Colleges
– undergraduates
– postgraduates
– German mother tongue speakers and
– anybody else who feels up to the challenge!

Submissions are welcome from single authors and from pairs or groups of contributors, and they must be entered online.

Firstly, you are asked to register. Secondly, you will receive a link via email where you can upload your film.
The deadline for registration and upload is 5 October 2018.

For more information, click on the link: https://www.daad.org.uk/en/2018/09/10/daad-imlr-competition-2018-launched/

Manner-wafers and Halloren-chocolate coming to Britain?

Last weekend more than 40 students arrived at Aston University to attend international marketing workshops given by Aston staff. Pupils from all over the country came to Birmingham and experienced a weekend full of fun and information. On Saturday morning, the weekend began with a Welcome session after which the students went into different groups depending on their language.

Five pupils joined our German workshop and did not only learn a lot about marketing and its different areas but of course got the chance to improve their language skills as the workshop was held in German. Different marketing theories such as “The four P’s” or “AIDA” were explained to give them an idea of what marketing is about.

On Sunday, the students then had to put their knowledge together by designing marketing strategies for different Austrian and German products such as Manner-wafers and Halloren chocolate bubbles. They prepared their presentations as well as TV advertisements. At the end of the day each group presented their project in front of the group as if presenting their marketing strategies to the companies that produce the products. Both groups came up with very creative ideas as well as great advertising spots. So put your hands together for the great turnout and thanks again for coming from all over the country!

The students as well as the LSS staff and all our passionate organizers had a lot of fun last weekend and enjoyed their time with the visitors.

And who knows…maybe someday we will get products such as Halloren and Manner in Britain! 🙂


The German students with our two Aston student ambassadors Hannah and Morgan.
An advert created for the marketing campaign for Manner wafers. Yum!



Award for staff publication: “Constructing a German Diaspora”

Aston Reader in German Dr Stefan Manz’s book on German emigration has been named a CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title 2015. The book has been reviewed in a number of highly regarded academic journals as being ‘a very significant contribution to the field of breathtaking scope’, ‘essential’, ‘a model of historical scholarship’, ‘pioneering’, ‘innovative’, ‘unique’, ‘fascinating’, and ‘important.

From the publisher:

“This book takes on a global perspective to unravel the complex relationship between Imperial Germany and its diaspora. Around 1900, German-speakers living abroad were tied into global power-political aspirations. They were represented as outposts of a “Greater German Empire” whose ethnic links had to be preserved for their own and the fatherland’s benefits. Did these ideas fall on fertile ground abroad? In the light of extreme social, political, and religious heterogeneity, diaspora construction did not redeem the all-encompassing fantasies of its engineers. But it certainly was at work, as nationalism “went global” in many German ethnic communities. Three thematic areas are taken as examples to illustrate the emergence of globally operating organizations and communication flows: Politics and the navy issue, Protestantism, and German schools abroad as “bulwarks of language preservation.” The public negotiation of these issues is explored for localities as diverse as Shanghai, Cape Town, Blumenau in Brazil, Melbourne, Glasgow, the Upper Midwest in the United States, and the Volga Basin in Russia. The mobilisation of ethno-national diasporas is also a feature of modern-day globalization. The theoretical ramifications analysed in the book are as poignant today as they were for the nineteenth century.”

Take part in the Oxford German Olympiad 2016

The Oxford German Olympiad 2016 – organised by the Oxford German Network – is now open for entries! This year’s theme is ‘Deutscher Humor – nichts zum Lachen?’ and the competition is open to learners of German between ages 9 and 18 years old and resident in the UK. Deadline for submissions is noon on Friday, 4 March 2016.

Full information on the tasks, guidelines for entering and more can be found on the OGN website: http://www.ogn.ox.ac.uk/olympiad

Please do share this with any UK teachers of German you know!

Oxford German Network

Kraftwerk conference time again….

Following the great success of January’s conference on Kraftwerk at Aston, Uwe Schütte has been invited to organise another one-day symposium on the German electronic music heroes. This time it will take place from 29 – 31 October at the place where it all began – the city of Düsseldorf.


The conference, which will feature papers in both German and English, is part of the 3-day “Electri_City – Electronic Music from Düsseldorf” event organised by Rüdiger Esch. In addition to academic papers, there is also an exciting programme featuring bands, DJ sets and panel discussions. Among the artists appearing and performing will be Peter Hook (ex New Order), Steve Mallinder (ex-Cabaret Voltaire) with his great new band Wrangler, Andy McCluskey (OMD), Heaven 17, DJ Rusty Egan and more. The highlight will be a concert by Michael Rother playing material from his former bands, the legendary Neu! and Harmonia.

More info here.

Midlands German Network launched at Aston in January 2015

Connecting Local Schools, Universities and Businesses

MGN logo

Graduates with German language skills are highly sought-after on the British and international labour markets. The Midlands German Network (MGN) is a university-led initiative which fosters cooperation between local schools, universities and businesses. Its aim is to make young people aware of the manifold opportunities, increase the uptake of German, and support recruitment for local employers.

The Midlands German Network will be officially launched at Aston University on January 21, 2015. This launch event will be an opportunity for networking across all three levels. Organisations represented include the German Embassy, the Goethe Institute, and UK-German Connection.

For: Secondary and Primary school teachers, pupils from Year 9 onwards; local businesses and universities, including students; anyone interested in German culture and language.

To find out more about the launch and to register for the event, please click here. Please forward details of the event to interested parties.

Registration deadline: 10 December 2014, although later registration is possible by contacting midlandsgermannetwork@aston.ac.uk. Any questions or comments should be addressed to this email address.

‚Helau‘ and ‚Alaaf‘


A little while ago a lot of superheroes, vampires, clowns, princesses, animals and many many more unusual sightings were reported in Germany. The phenomenon was especially prominent in Düsseldorf, Mainz and Köln. What was all of this about?

Germany celebrated Karneval or, as it is also called, Fasching. The Rosenmontagszug is the culmination of this celebration. People dress up and roam the streets, chanting ‘Helau’ or ‘Alaaf’. In many cities a parade takes place with lots of different floats depicting fictional characters , a persiflage of a political, economic or sports person/theme or representing a society. In between you can see traditional music bands marching. The last wagon is usually mounted by the Prinz who often is a known celebrity or politician. A lot of people wear costumes and celebrate while watching the parade. It is customary for caramel sweets to be thrown, as well as promotional gifts. That’s why it is not uncommon to see some people holding an umbrella upside-down in order to catch the thrown candy.

But where does Karneval actually come from? It is a Christian, mostly catholic, tradition that is meant to celebrate the time before the Fastenzeit. This is a time when people fast in order to cleanse their soul while awaiting Easter, which marks the resurrection of Jesus. In some region,s the Fastenzeit starts on the 6th of January because of the Heilige drei Könige but in other areas it starts earlier, on the 11th of November at 11:11 a.m. The latter is due to the fact that some people also fast for some time before Christmas. Karneval is a celebration right before the fasting time since all the food and drinks that weren’t suitable for the Fastenzeit had to be used up in advance. If you ever have the chance, don’t miss out on paying a visit to Germany while this event is taking place. It is definitely worth a trip!

Aston on tour – Das Auslandsjahr


As you might know, Aston University offers a wide range of opportunities to go abroad. This provides you with an excellent chance to get to know other cultures, improve your language skills, earn valuable work experiences and last but not least gain friends for life.

A stay abroad further offers you the chance to get an insight into the working culture of other countries. By doing a placement year in a German company, you will, for example, be able to tell whether German punctuality is reality or just a myth. You will also learn about work ethics and typical work environments. As an Erasmus student or as a teaching assistant you will get to know the German educational system and you will be  able to meet a lot of people your own age.

If you are an Aston student who is living in another country right now and writing a blog, feel free to send us the web address so that others can read about what you are doing and how you experience life in your new ‘Heimat’.

Some students already sent us a link to their blog, so take a look at what a placement year can be like:



Annual German Pubquiz – Big Success for Aston!

Yesterday, the annual German Pubquiz with students from Aston and University of Birmingham took place at Gosta Green. It was a huge success with 11 student teams, 2 staff teams and overall more than 60 people showing up to show off their intelligence. In 4 categories (picture quiz, general knowledge, music quiz and who am I?) they proved their superior knowledge of the German-speaking countries.

Thank you all for coming and turning this ordinary quiz night into a special event!

Would you have been able to answer our questions? Take a look and try:

  • One thing is named differently in the various German-speaking countries. This can be found especially among food items. We are looking for synonyms. Match the words.

Kartoffel; Tomate; Topfen; Obers; Erdapfel; Pfifferling;  Brötchen; Karotte; Karfiol; Möhre; Semmel; Quark; Sahne; Paradeiser; Blumenkohl; Eierschwammerl

  • What did Austria, Togo, Costa Rica and Albania have in common in 2012?
  • Which out of the four German politicians did not plagiarise when writing his/her doctoral dissertation?
    A) Annette Schavan
    B) Silvana Koch-Mehrin
    C) Angela Merkel
    D) Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg

And for those of you who missed the pubquiz this year – a couple of pictures to give you an idea of the great time we had.

In the end, all that’s left to say is: See you next year for the pubquiz 2014 – We can’t wait!


Everybody is excited to get to work on those questions!


Yes, the questions weren't too easy... The staff teams, too, had think hard


The staff teams, too, had think hard


A big thank you to our two student presenters who did a wonderful job!


And of course - the winning team! They certainly had their thinking caps on!

Grimms’ Fairy Tales Turn 200 Years

Datei:Grimm's Kinder- und Hausmärchen, Erster Theil (1812).cover.jpgOnce upon a time (exactly 200 years ago) the Grimm Brothers published their famous “Children’s and Household Tales” (Kinder- und Hausmärchen), most commonly known as “Grimms’ Fairy Tales” (Grimms Märchen). Today, Grimms’ stories are the most translated texts in German literature.


Though today politicians like Germany’s minister for family affairs Kristina Schröder discuss the antiquated image of women portrayed in these stories Snow White (Schneewittchen), Little Red Riding Hood “Rotkäppchen” and all the others are taken as a model not only for childrens movies but also big Hollywood action blockbusters like this year’s “Snow White & the Huntsman” or last year’s “Red Riding Hood”.


Deeply embedded into the German landscape is also the German Fairy Tale Route. Established in 1975 and 600km long, the route travels from Hanau (in Hesse), the birthplace of Jacob and Wilhem Grimm, all the way to Bremen and Bremerhaven (Bremen), the scene of the fairy tale “The Town Musicians of Bremen” (die Bremer Stadtmusikanten).


Even Google dedicates one of their doodles to the 200th anniversary of Grimm’s fairytale. So, check out the story of Rotkäppchen – it is Christmas time and what would that be without a little fairy tale?