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10/1/2020 » 10/4/2020
German Studies Association Conference

Member Accolades

Profiles: Barry Post
Name Barry Post
College University of Florida, Georgetown University
Degree B.A. History and Political Science, M.A. German & European Studies
Current job title Senior Analyst, Commercial & Energy Policy
Employer The Representative of German Industry & Trade
Location Washington, DC

Why did you first start learning German?
My choice to begin learning German in high school was the result of a happy accident. Having learned a bit of Spanish while growing up, I originally intended to take Spanish classes to improve myself. However, all my friends who had taken Spanish 1 had barely learned anything in a full year and had found their coursework wanting.
On the other hand, I heard from several other classmates that the German and Japanese classes were fantastic and engaging and, not only that, happened to be taught by the same teacher. So, I figured:

  1. That teacher must be talented, as those two languages have nothing in common, and
  2. Japanese is probably difficult to learn because of the required character memorization and its distance from English, ergo
  3. Might as well try German.

What did you get out of your German studies?
The lion’s share of my professional career, the ability to live in Germany as an English teacher, several unforgettable internships and semesters abroad in Germany, a Master’s degree from Georgetown, and a large circle of friends in Europe on whose couches I may always crash.

What influence did German have on your career choices?
Six of the last seven positions on my resume have utilized German in one form or another. While I have several other selling points on my resume, the cherry on the cake is that I’m completely fluent; this has allowed me to gravitate toward organizations that need speakers of German and English that can work and conduct analysis and research in both languages for various projects.
When choosing positions, I tend to gravitate towards those that require fluency in German, as I know the applicant pool will be far smaller and therefore I will have more leverage in negotiations. Moreover, organizations that require German language are oftentimes based in Germany, which means the benefits (like having one month’s vacation) tend to be better than their American peers.

How do you use German today at home or in your work?
I use German everyday at my job. I also use it when talking to my German friends who are back in Germany. Additionally I enjoy helping lost German, Austrian and Swiss tourists who are utterly stunned when I randomly strike up a conversation.

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