The summer before formally beginning at Princeton, Natalie took “German for reading knowledge” class and gained a strong reading knowledge in the language. To supplement this initial training, she took German 101 and 102 to be able to do a stricter rhetorical analysis of Georges Perec’s radio play, Die Maschine, which was written in German and never translated to French.
The summer prior to her fellowship at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, Natalie spent two months in Berlin. While in Berlin, she took advantage of the cultural attractions, visiting all of their phenomenal museums, seeing two musicals that had been translated into German (Cabaret and Mamma Mia), and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. She also took a B2-level course at the DeutschAkademie. Read personal reflections on that summer here.
That summer, a trip to visit a colleague who was doing an intensive summer program in Yiddish in Vilnius, Lithuania introduced her to her latent Yiddish abilities. Given her passive knowledge of the Hebrew alphabet (from 8 years at a mediocre Hebrew school) and German, it was possible to communicate in Yiddish!
Thanksgiving 2014, Natalie visited a colleague who was completing a postdoctoral fellowship in Trier, learning about a different part of Germany with a friendly group of international academics.