Number of German language freshmen at Sana’a University doublesBreaking down the language barrier [Archives:2005/883/Local News]

October 6 2005

Last Saturday, 1st October, the German Embassy's Cultural Attache Hendrik Selle invited all first year students of the German Department of Sana'a University to an already traditional reception party. The fact that the event had to be transferred for reasons of space to the large mafraj of the Yemeni-German Friendship Society is a remarkable testimony to the rising interest in German language and culture among young Yemenis. 80 freshers this year (i.e. an increase by nearly 100 per cent in comparison with 2004) – a record figure for the German Department of Sana'a University's Language Faculty, which was doubtless helped by the promotional 'German Day' held at Sana'a University earlier this year!

After the warm reception speech held by the host and vice chairman of the Friendship Society, Mr Amin Dirhem, Mr Selle praised the excellent Yemeni-German relations on all levels and highlighted the important role of the German language for the professional career of Yemeni students.

Feasting on coffee and cake almost like in Germany, and with the presence of German Department's director Prof. Dr. Ali Mansoor, Mrs Judith Zepter and the language assistant Rafael Sanchez (both representatives of the German Academic Exchange Service, DAAD), the students then had the chance to ask all their questions about Germany and everything that goes with it. A wide range of different aspects were discussed: the system of academic studies in Germany, the most famous German universities (a question easy to answer for Mr Selle, whose home town is Heidelberg, known worldwide for its ancient university), the most important sights for tourists, the international role of the German language. But also questions having to do with recent and forthcoming events, like the German elections and their results, which not only Yemeni observers are finding difficult to understand, and of course the Football World Cup, which will take place in Germany in 2006.

As far as the relations between Germans und Muslims are concerned, the students learned that there are nearly 3.5 million Muslims living in Germany and that in many German cities Turkish and Arab life-style is quite common and visible in the streets.

Mr Selle also pointed out that the German language is on its way to enter the Yemeni school curricula. Actually, German is being teached as a foreign language at six secondary schools in Sanaa and Taiz.

The reception party was a perfect chance for all the participants to get to know each other and to start the adventure of learning German with fresh information and motivation.