"Teaching German is my passion" – Interview with Maren König, incoming German Teacher Abroad in Winnipeg

Maren König, incoming German Teacher Abroad in Winnipeg, sent by the Central Agency for Schools Abroad Enlarge image Maren König is the incoming German Teacher Abroad in Winnipeg, sent by the Central Agency for Schools Abroad. (© German Consulate Toronto) Maren König is the new German Teacher Abroad in Winnipeg - one of about 2,000 teachers employed and sent by the German Central Agency for Schools Abroad (Zentralstelle für Auslandsschulwesen, ZfA). She will be teaching German as a second language to Winnipeg students for at least two years. Dur­ing her em­ploy­ment abroad, she re­ceives sup­port in or­ga­ni­za­tion­al and ped­a­gog­i­cal mat­ters from the ZfA.

Maren König is born and raised in Germany and spent most of her school years in North Rhine-Westphalia. In Germany she teaches German and English languages at a German Gymnasium (i.e. a secondary school), and is now very much looking forward to teach German as a second language in Winnipeg, where she will be serving four German-English bilingual schools of the River East Transcona School Division (Donwood Elementary School, Princess Margaret School, Chief Peguis Junior High and River East Collegiate).

This is her first assignment as German teacher abroad.

Did you have a choice of where you would be posted and if so, why did you choose Canada?

I could choose a region of preference, and I chose North America because of my love for the continent. I really wanted to spent some time here and represent the German culture, and to pass on my passion for German language to North American students. When I got the offer to go to Winnipeg  I applied, I did the interviews, and now I am here.

How did you prepare for your Canadian adventure?

Actually I am still in the process of preparing (laughs). There was a lot of support from the German Central Agency for Schools Abroad; they made sure that I got a lot of education and information, I visited seminars to be prepared and familiar with the Canadian culture. I also have been in touch with my predecessor, Ulla In Der Stroth. I read a lot, I am in touch with the headmaster of the school, and I also use Pasch-net to make sure that I am up to date.

How important is the German language to compete internationally, and how will you prepare your students for the international job market?

German is my passion. I love to speak my language. German gives you a lot of ways to express yourself and to play with words, especially in literature. There are also economic reasons - German is still the language spoken by almost 100 million native speakers in Europe.
As I am passionate about my language I believe I can give this passion to my students and make sure they can communicate in my mother tongue.

What do you think you’ll miss most about Germany?

I was afraid that I would miss German bread, because whenever I spent time abroad I missed bread a lot. But then I read that there are many German bakeries in Winnipeg. So now I believe I will mostly miss my family, especially my brother, so whom I am very close. 

Maren König

Woman holding up globe

German Central Agency for Schools Abroad (ZfA)

ZfA-Schulmanagement weltweit

The German Central Agency for Schools Abroad (ZfA) sup­ports German language ed­u­ca­tion­ abroad. World­wide, about 140 Ger­man schools abroad re­ceive per­son­nel and fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance from the ZfA, as well as about 1.100 oth­er schools where the Ger­man Lan­guage Cer­tifi­cate (DSD) can be ac­quired. The ZfA is also responsible for the de­sign and eval­u­a­tion of the German language ex­am­i­na­tions at ac­cred­it­ed DSD schools.

English-German Bilingual Program at the River East Transcona School Division in Winnipeg

The River East Transcona School Division offers the only English-German Bilingual Program in Winnipeg. German language studies begin in kindergarten and can continue right through to Grade 12. Students have the opportunity to obtain an international credential of German language proficiency (Deutsches Sprachdiplom), which qualifies them to study at university in Germany.

PASCH Network

Logo zu Schulen: Partner der Zukunft

PASCH is short for "Schools: Partners for the Future". It is a network linking more than 1,700 schools worldwide where German has a particularly high priority. PASCH is an initiative of the Foreign Ministry in cooperation with the Central Agency for Schools Abroad (ZfA), the Goethe-Institut (GI), the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Educational Exchange Service (PAD) of the Standing Conference.