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J. M. (James Morgan) Hart.

German universities: a narrative of personal experience, together with recent statistical information, practical suggestions, and a comparison of the German, English and American systems of higher education online

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Online LibraryJ. M. (James Morgan) HartGerman universities: a narrative of personal experience, together with recent statistical information, practical suggestions, and a comparison of the German, English and American systems of higher education → online text (page 26 of 26)
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over night, the veterans of Austria and France have gone
down before the charge of the Prussian citizen-soldier,
the first have become last, and the last first, but we have
still to learn how this wonderful change has been effected.
We count our German citizens, adopted and native, by
the million, yet no one has told us in our^own language
what the change means, how it came to pass, what were
its conditions and its remote origin, what it portends in
the history of European civilization. We are left to the
dreary platitudes of the English press and the incoherent
Jeremiads of the French. Will not some one of our
future scholars write for us the history of Germany,
based upon German authorities but conceived from the
American point of view ? The harvest is there, awaiting
the harvester. Let him show how the German race, fore-
most in the Middle Ages, misdirected by the inordinate
ambition of the Hohenstaufen and the Habsburgs, be-
wildered by the Reformation, crushed by the Thirty
Years' War, crazed by the Revolution, has nevertheless,
by virtue of its marvelous vitality, regenerated itself, re-
constituted itself from crown to sole, regained its former
ascendency through the one great revival on record. The
labor, I am aware, is immense, but the reward will be



PRACTICAL HINTS. 397

commensurate. The initiatory discipline can be acquired
only at a German university.

I conclude with a practical hint. Most Americans
who visit Germany for the purpose of study leave home
at the close of the so called commencement season.
But many of them travel during the summer months,
instead of proceeding direct to Germany and locating
themselves permanently. This is a mistake. As a student,
one has abundant opportunities for travel during the
regular vacations. One's first aim should be to acquire
some familiarity with the language. By leaving at the
end of June, one can reach almost any city or town in
Germany by the middle of July. From this date to the
middle of October, the commencement of the wintei
semester, is a period of three months, which can be
devoted exclusively to the study of the language. If
this time is put to account, there will be very little diffi-
culty in attending lectures in October. The Christmas
vacation will afford ample time for visiting Berlin and
Dresden, the spring vacation can be taken for the Rhine,
and the succeeding summer for South Germany and the
Alps. There can scarcely be a better adjustment of
study and travel for the first year. One loses no time in
going to work, and has the additional gain of traveling
when he is already familiar with the language of the
country, the coins, and also the ways of living. It will
not be necessary, perhaps not advisable, to spend the
three months above mentioned in a university town
Any place where the language is correct and living
34



398 GERMAN UNIVERSITIES.

economical will answer. Hanover, in itself considered,
would be perhaps the best place. But it is somewhat
expensive, and is overrun with English and American
families. Brunswick is a handsome city and offers many
inducements. Next to it in desirability come Gotha,
Weimar, and the other towns of Thuringia. From Leip-
sic eastward, and Cassel southward, the German loses in
purity and elegance. But wherever one may go, one
point should never be overlooked, namely, to secure good
letters of introduction from Americans and Germans to
their personal friends in Germany. Mere general letters
will not be of much avail. The letters should emanate
from men of some distinction in America, and should be
addressed to their personal acquaintances abroad. One
such letter may secure the bearer a kind reception and a
home at the start, and will certainly save him weeks of
vexatious search after lodgings and the other incidentals
of life. Even if the addressee can do nothing in the
way of direct assistance, he can always advise, and to a
foreigner, young and inexperienced, the smallest grain of
advice is worth many a pound of self-bought wisdom. J




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Online LibraryJ. M. (James Morgan) HartGerman universities: a narrative of personal experience, together with recent statistical information, practical suggestions, and a comparison of the German, English and American systems of higher education → online text (page 26 of 26)