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German house will return to campus

The Max Kade House, once a German culture living experience at Belmont, is coming back to campus next fall in the brand-new Dickens Hall.

The soon-to-be-finished apartment suite will be open to five females, a mix of German and American students wanting to make German a part of their everyday lives. The only requirement for living in the house is an interest in the German language and culture.

The German facility will return to campus three years after the Max Kade House, now used as the Guitar House, was put on hold for not meeting code requirements, set by the fire marshall, as a student residence.

In the past, students have loved the opportunity to live in the house and fought to eventually have it back on campus. Sarah Neiles, who graduated with a degree in German in 2011, lived in the house on Compton Avenue as a sophomore and planned to live there in her junior year as well. She and her friends went to the provost and anyone who would listen about keeping the house on campus after the university changed the house’s use to office space. Though their requests were heard, they weren’t acted on until now.

“You can’t learn everything from a book … getting someone’s personal story of where they’re from is entirely different than reading a book by a historian about it. It just gives you a better feel for other cultures around us,” said Neiles.

Students like the opportunity because it gives them a chance to learn the language outside the classroom and maybe even learn some slang, said Regine Schwarmeier, associate professor of German and the teacher in charge of Max Kade House relations.

“It’s the interaction that goes on, that the American students can talk to the German students, especially the ones who plan to study abroad,” she said.

The house became part of campus in the fall of 1996 and is a part of The Max Kade Foundation. Its mission is to help foster German-American understanding and reconciliation. Pharmacist and chemist Max Kade, who came to the U.S. from Austria at the end of the 20th century, started the program which has German houses at colleges across the country.

Schwarzmeier helps students get into the house and is given a grant each year to put on German programs, sometimes advertised as convo, for students to take part in.

These events change all the time, but usually include students making German food and watching movies with discussions afterwards.

“It helps to form friendships that last beyond the experience,” said Schwarzmeier.

Julie Ann Snelling, a sophomore classical clarinet performance major, will live in the new Max Kade apartment next fall at Dickens Hall. After studying German since high school, she wants to study abroad in Dresden in two years and she figured it would be a good place to keep up with her German.

“I’m expecting it to be a place to learn more about German culture and a place to speak German in more than just class,” said Snelling.

For more information on The Max Kade Foundation visit Contact Regine Schwarzmeier for information on living in the house or German language and culture experiences at

– Chelsea Reed Kallman

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