As a German minor, I sincerely appreciate how active the OU German Club is on campus. Every semester, the club organizes a variety of events to bring together faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates of all skill levels in their mutual appreciation of German language and culture. Throughout the semester, the club meets weekly, usually at a local restaurant, for a Stammtisch. Stammtisch translates as regulars table. An old German tradition, Stammtisch involves sitting around a table weekly and discussing events both current and personal. The club’s Stammtisch is often conducted in a mixture of English and German.
Every semester, the German club holds one big Stammtisch, gathering together as many people from the department as possible. This year, the big Stammtisch was held at Das Boot Camp on main street. An offshoot of Royal Bavaria, Das Boot serves traditional German fare, including schnitzel, bratwurst, spaetzle, and gurkensalat. The Stammtisch filled most of the restaurant, tables pushed together and overflowing with people. I recognized several professors, graduate students, and undergraduates with whom I had shared classes, but many faces were new to me. We discussed classes and teaching styles, unusual German traditions and regional dishes, and swapped stories from trips to Germany or Austria. The professors are either native speakers themselves or have extensively developed their fluency in German-speaking countries. Most if not all of the graduate students have studied abroad at some point and the undergraduate majors are required to spend a minimum of three-weeks immersed in the language. Although Germany is geographically smaller than Montana, it is home to roughly 80 million people and the differences from one region to the next are astounding. The big Stammtisch is a great way to gather an otherwise scattered population and bring a piece of Germany to the middle of Oklahoma.