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Profiles: Mason Conley
Name Mason Conley
College Bowling Green State University, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Degree B.A. German and Russian
Current job title Department of Defense Security Contractor and Graduate Student
Employer Reed International Inc.
Location Kandahar, Afghanistan

Why did you first start learning German?
My paternal grandpa would often speak to us in German. My dad also taught himself enough to have basic conversations. Also, as a child I was heavily interested in WW2 history and wanted to learn German. I just thought German sounded cool when I heard it.

What did you get out of your German studies?
I got an actual fundamental understanding of the German language. I also was exposed to the history of the German language, which was very interesting. My studies also opened up a whole new area of literature that I wouldn't have been exposed to.

What influence did German have on your career choices?
German had an influence on my career choices because it established my "first-second language" and gave me confidence to continue my language learning. It also made me an asset in the army when dealing with the Zoll crossing borders or the Polizei when no one else understood/spoke German.

How you use German today at home or in your work?
I use German mostly for pleasure. I just recently bought a few books in German. I also read daily online German newspapers to keep my passive vocabulary. On the rare occasion, I engage in conversation with people I hear speaking German, since it's comparatively rare for me to hear that now.


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