Skip to content
Connect
Stories

Students connect with German elders to reduce loneliness–and learn the language

People in this story

Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University
Students attend professor Caroline Fuchs’ German class in Richards Hall on Thursday Oct. 28, 2021.

A 72-year-old German woman is busy in her Hamburg home crafting yuletide trinkets for the holiday packages she sends out every year to friends and family. This year, Hannelore Schäfer will be sending a gift to Maisie Saganic, a journalism and political science student at Northeastern.

Maisie and Hannelore met at the beginning of the semester as part of a virtual intergenerational  exchange program in her Intermediate German II class led by teaching professor Carolin Fuchs. Fuchs began the exchange program in the spring of 2021 after partnering with Freunde alter Menschen e.V., an organization in Germany that coordinates visitor partnerships and social events for German seniors. At a time when lots of elderly people are isolated because of the pandemic, Fuchs thought the program could benefit both her students and the elderly community in Germany. 

“It turned out there were more Germans interested than I had students in my class,” Fuchs says. Right away, Fuchs expanded the program to the Intermediate German I class with help from her community partner Kerstin Hoffmann and her colleagues in Germany, and from Northeastern’s part-time teaching instructor, Sandra Ward. 

Continue reading at News@Northeastern.

More Stories

11/22/22 - BOSTON, MA. - Stock photo of Patricia Illingworth's new book, Giving Now, Accelerating Human Rights for All, on Nov. 22, 2022.

Human rights should guide all philanthropic giving, says professor

11.29.2022
The Harriet Tubman House Memory Project is one of four Boston Research Center efforts to preserve local history. The Harriet Tubman House, a community center which stood at 566 Columbus Ave, in Boston's South End neighborhood from 1975 to 2020, was demolished in 2019 but lives on through a detailed digital history hub created by the BRC. Northeastern University Library, Archives and Special Collection

Northeastern’s Boston research center creates a new model for preserving local history

11.23.2022
CHEROKEE, NC - MAY 11: A Native American poses for pictures along the highway on May 11, 2018 in Cherokee, North Carolina. Located near the entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park on the North Carolina side of the Appalachian Mountains, and at the southern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway, the region is home to the Cherokee Nation band of Indians.

Words—and tribal location—matter to citizen of Cherokee Nation

11.30.22
News@Northeastern