Germany takes on AQ with multitude of programs


After the film screening of “Oray,” the film’s team spoke on a panel about faith and culture.

Story by Abigail Safago, Reporter
Photo courtesy Daniel De La Rosa

“The culture is more a part of people’s lives here than they think. It’s everywhere,” said Mehmet Akif Büyükatalay, a German-Turkish film director and screenwriter, who visited campus Sept. 19 for the showing of “Oray”. 

This fall, the German program will be hosting many events again thanks to the German Embassy helping out. This collaboration will include films, meet and greets and big chances to grow your cultural understanding of German and European cultures and how they work with others.

What you missed: 

If you missed “Oray”,  here’s a quick recap— it’s about a man named Oray who struggles to find the balance between his hard past and his hope to be a good Muslim husband. His role as a husband quickly falls apart due to his fighting with his wife. He then moves to Western Germany to Cologne in hopes of rebuilding his life within his Muslim community, despite his battles with his own identity. 

Aquinas had the honor of hosting both Mehmet Akif Büyükatalay and producer Claus Reichel. Büyükatalay and Reichel have earned “Best Debut” awards on this movie, and there’s plenty of reasons why. One reason this movie came out so strongly was because of its attentiveness to its culture.

“It’s rare and hard to see my faith or how traditions can be represented accurately or in an authentic way,” said one student. “Usually when my people [of faith and race] are shown in movies or media, it is shown in a negative way or it’s misrepresented. They miss part of the story. But thank you [Büyükatalay and Reichel] for not skipping over the ‘real-life’ aspect of this.”

“Oray” was the first German film shown this fall at Aquinas. 

Why German?

Many people don’t know how Germany plays a key role in the United States. As a powerhouse of Europe, and a constant in churning out scientific and creative products, it’s hard to miss the country.

Germany has become even more cosmopolitan, with its history of cross-cultural connections. That’s part of why Germany connected to Michigan—its many ties to businesses located here in the heart of Grand Rapids. 

This fall, the German program is in full swing with many events. “Oray” is done, but there is much more you can do to get involved with international events. Even if you don’t speak German, you can join in to open new doors for yourself across the globe. 

What to expect: 

The next German event you can attend to get a bigger perspective would be just before Fall Break and can help you get your foot in the door—or on a plane—to a whole new world. On Oct. 9, spend some time meeting local, regional and international companies at a job fair! You can potentially find your fit for a job or an internship here, Plus, you can network, meet many great businesses, and also get tips on how to apply for international or regional companies.

The department has a lot planned, so keep an eye out for announcements!


Categories: Culture, The Saint

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