German Department to hold Easter egg hunt
The easter eggs will contain slips of paper with fun facts about the German language as part of an initiative to tackle declining enrollment in beginner German courses.
Tim Tai, Photography Editor
The German department will host an easter egg hunt this Saturday and Sunday as part of its “Find Your Reason to Study German” initiative.
Approximately 200 plastic eggs in total will be hidden throughout Cross Campus and the surrounding area by 2 p.m. each day. Each egg will contain German candy and a slip of paper outlining a reason to study German. There will be six white, easter-bunny shaped plastic eggs that students can return to Language Program Director of Germanic Languages and Literature Theresa Schenker for a special prize — a large bag of gummy bears.
“Really the idea came up because I have a son who is two, and we attended an egg hunt last weekend, ”
Schenker said. “We’re trying to boost enrollment in our language classes, [and] I felt that this could be a way to combine giving [students] a fun activity over the Easter weekend, and spreading the word about German classes. ”
Schenker said that in an attempt to be mindful of the environment, she is awarding the special prize for students who find and return at least 20 empty plastic eggs, all of which will be reused next year. She also said that students who know the language may opt to also receive a German book along with their bag of gummy bears, as well as a tote bag, pen or pin.
“I didn’t want [the eggs] to just be thrown around on campus,” Schenker said. “So I had the idea of students returning the empty plastic eggs to us in exchange for a prize.”
The paper slips inside the eggs will allude to the language’s importance in the fields of science and engineering — including the fact that it is the second-most commonly used scientific language in the world.
Liesellotte Sippel, Senior Lector I of Germanic Languages and Literature, said that the easter egg hunt is also a way for the department to highlight its new partnership with the Yale School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. The program will launch in Fall 2023 with an introductory, elementary-level German course catered toward students interested in engineering and science.
The Department plans to build subsequent courses as students progress through the language, offering the second part of the course sequence in the Spring 2024 semester. Sippel said that the classes will also come with internship opportunities at German companies.
“We already have many engineering and science students in our current classes, so we thought we would offer a separate German track in the German program for them,” Sippel said.
Schenker added that, above all, the egg hunt and the new partnership with Yale SEAS are tactics that the German department is employing to boost enrollment in its courses, which has seen a decline in recent years.
She also said that the German department has made other changes to encourage students to take introductory courses, such as eliminating the use of textbooks in intermediate German classes and switching to lower-cost textbooks in introductory classes.
“We’re just trying to make students aware that German is also a very valid choice, especially if they have plans to go to Europe [since] German is such an important language in the field of business, engineering, medicine [and] all kinds of fields really, ” she said.
Astou Nkouyate ’26 said that she became interested in studying the language after visiting Germany this past summer for a backpacking trip. She added that she has had a good experience with the German department at Yale so far, mentioning that the department is supportive and provides ample opportunity to engage with the language beyond the classroom.
As someone who took Spanish for six years prior to coming to Yale, she said that although the introductory German course presented an initial challenge, she feels her comprehension of German is already much better than of Spanish.
“It’s not one of the first languages people think of when trying to decide to take a language, but the German language is actually very interesting, ” Nkouyate said. “I [also] really like the fact that there’s so many activities to do outside of the classroom, that you can go to Spieltreff [game meeting in German] and play games and to go to other events and talk to people who are also interested in German language and culture.”
Among the reasons to study German included in the Easter eggs this Sunday is the following fact: German is among the ten most commonly spoken languages in the world. It is also a lingua franca of Central and Eastern Europe.
Correction 4/9: A previous version of this article misquoted Nkouyate.