House celebrates German culture



by Jane Garland

Pretzels. Beer. Lederhosen. Oompa Bands. Schnitzel.

Thinking of Germany yet?

If this is your mental image of a German, then you may have difficulties spotting the German culture and its presence on campus. Most students involved in the German community at UK do not fit stereotypes.

The Max Kade German House at 212 E. Maxewell St. celebrated its 10-year anniversary at October’s end with “An Evening of German Lieder [Songs],” presentations by various departments and readings by four nationally known translators of German literary texts.

Ted Fiedler, German studies professor, said his vision for the Kade House had more or less come to fruition.

“It has become a residential place for students to speak German, has  seminar rooms, a guest suite for visiting writers, and serves as a venue for campus-wide event discussions important to the German-speaking world,” Fieldler said.

The Kade House is not restricted to any one group, though.

Greg Rohde, the Kade House resident adviser and MA German Studies student, said “[the Kade House] is concentrated on two cultures, both American and German.  Since I happen to like both cultures quite a bit, the house fits to my interests, and it is fun to live here.”

Both German exchange students and American students with an interest in German culture live in the house. Students try to speak as much German as possible while residing in the Kade House.

“One hundred percent German is not usually feasible, but our true goal of 90-95 percent German is definitely attained,” Rohde said.

A bonus is that “non-native speakers are able to improve their German since they are in a German only environment … where no one will ridicule them,” Rohde said.

However, German-speaking students who also live in the house do not get to practice English as much.

“The general rule is that as soon as you leave the house, we can all speak English to each other so the Germans can get their practice as well,” Rohde said.

Professor Fiedler helped initiate the development of UK’s Kade House after  serving as chair of the former department of Germanic languages and literatures from 1983-91, and serving as acting chair from 1997-98.

“It’s known in the German studies community in the U.S. that the Kade Foundation supports such things [as the Kade House],” Fiedler said. “Institutes have also been supported by the Kade Foundation.”

Professors in the Division of German Studies also benefit from the Kade House’s presence on campus.

“It is really nice to have this option,” Professor Hillary Herzog said. “We can offer the immersion you usually get abroad right here on campus… and Living and Learning Communities can help students get connected at a big university.”

The Kade House will celebrate Winterfest on Dec. 8, 2010, at 6 p.m. with German Christmas songs and traditional German foods. Further information about Winterfest and other events can be found on the Division of German Studies website.