My name is Audrey Schumacher, I will be turning 30 this year (I really don’t want to), and I have worked in Germany for the last 7 years. I live in Germany with my boyfriend of 4 years and our adopted dog. Central Michigan University’s German Foreign Language department helped me master the concepts I needed to feel confident in my German speaking and writing skills.
I currently work for a Credit Union as an Assistant Branch Manager on a military installation in southern Germany. The day-to-day operations are just like that of a U.S. bank or credit union. I work up and approve loan requests, open new accounts, schedule the staff, take care of event sponsorship requests from within the community and most importantly always make sure the members are helped first. My German skills allow me to communicate with many members of the credit union I otherwise wouldn’t be able to hold a conversation with.
My German skills also allow me to live in Germany and feel at peace knowing I can communicate with my neighbors, help someone if I witness an accident on the roads (this has happened, and you are required by German law to stop and help), and understand contracts I need to sign. I have several friends who have lived here for years, and their careers haven’t required that they learn German yet, but they feel lost as an outsider because they can’t communicate. I think that mentality is a shame. I am grateful for the study abroad opportunities that CMU brought me, furthering my German skills and helping me gain confidence in myself as a fluent second-language speaker.