Engineering student finds multiple ways to enjoy German


Gabriel Sandler

Sophomore Mohamad Alkahlout studies civil engineering, with a special interest in public transportation and urban planning. Wanting more out of his time at ASU, he decided to add German language into the mix, both for fun and his own professional ambitions.

Alkahlout began studying German when he was much younger, more as a hobby than anything else. At the School of International Letters and Cultures, however, his personal interest launched him into a bigger community.

“I enrolled in a few classes, German 101 and 102,” Alkahlout said. “Now I’m president of the German club and use that as a way to better my skills, proficiency and understanding.”

Alkahlout uses German club to balance his academics when engineering dominates his schedule. He appreciates that at SILC, there are multiple outlets through which he can study language.

“I stumbled on a Facebook event when I started getting involved [at SILC]; it was a few events every few months,” Alkahlout remembered. “I went to it as a social thing, but professors also incentivized going.”

Keeping up with German is important to Alkahlout, from both a professional and personal stance. Professionally, it means more opportunities at more firms, especially the ones throughout Europe that he researches. Personally, Alkahlout continues finding new things to appreciate about German, culturally and linguistically.

“I want to be able to travel to Europe and not be automatically labeled as an American. … That would be an incredible milestone,” Alkahlout said.

“It’s a marathon, it’s not something you can cram into a few semesters,” he continued. “Ultimately it’s something that, on a personal level, unlike engineering or any course where you’re just sitting down … it’s continuous, it has to live through you, beyond the classroom.”