Professor Dave Limburg shares his experiences

Dave Limburg grew up in Sioux Falls, S.D., where his father worked as a professor of religion at Augustana University. Limburg was the second of four children, with an older sister and two younger brothers. Much of his childhood was spent riding bikes and playing sports with his friends on the Augustana campus.

Limburg was introduced to German at a very young age. At 8 years old, Limburg went with his family to Germany for three months. He and his siblings were taught in a one room schoolhouse in a small village near Heidelberg.

“We all kind of fell in love with Germany that summer,” Limburg said.

His family would also frequently travel the area and visit castles and hiking trails. Limburg continued to take German classes all throughout high school and college, although he did not see himself ever using his German knowledge in a career.

After he graduated from Augustana University with a double major in English and German he moved to Anchorage, Alaska with his friend. In Alaska, Limburg had a job as maintenance worker for Anchorage Daily News. Limburg and his friend soon decided this path wasn’t for them.

“We were like, ‘We can’t do this, we can’t do normal, real 9-to-5 jobs,’” Limburg said.

Limburg then applied to graduate school for both German and English. He received an offer for a doctoral program in German from Ohio State University. After he received his doctoral degree, Limburg applied to all the open positions in the field.

He was offered two interviews: one from Vanderbilt University and one from Guilford College. His first interview with Guilford went well, and he was invited to live on campus for a couple days. During that time, Limburg fell in love with the Guilford campus and community.

“It was so beautiful,” Limburg said. “The lake and the woods and walking through campus and seeing all the cool buildings.”

Over his years at Guilford, Limburg has taught many German classes at Guilford. He has also supported the Munich Program, which allows Guilford students to spend a semester in Germany taking classes and immersing themselves in the culture. Limburg also spent some of his January terms taking a small group of students to Germany for a short immersion experience.

“I called it Alp Dreams,” Limburg said. “We read scary stories in German and went skiing in the Alps.”

In his classes, Limburg implements a flipped classroom style where students do most of their learning at home and discuss learned concepts in the classroom.

“We do as much different practice as we can where there’s actual communication,” Limburg said.

Limburg also explained that if his students haven’t gone over the material beforehand, it is much more challenging to keep up with the German language. Limburg said that doing so can detract from learning. If there’s one thing Limburg wants his students to learn, it’s how to be their own teacher.

“You can teach yourself a lot of things that maybe you thought you couldn’t,” Limburg said.