Chen Holtzman: This scholarship is a dream-come-true


Chen Holtzman spent almost two months in Germany as a beneficiary of the Dr. Gustav Winkler Scholarship.

“This opportunity was a dream-come-true that allowed me to further enrich my language studies - which contribute to my career as an opera singer.”

Chen Holtzman shares her "German Experience" in the summer of 2017:

Last summer I was awarded a Dr. Winkler Scholarship, which afforded me the incredible opportunity to travel to Berlin and take an 8 week German Language Course. During these 8 weeks I lived with a German family that hosted me the previous summer, spoke only German, lived in a German neighborhood and attended a daily German course. This opportunity was a dream-come-true that allowed me to further enrich my language studies - which contribute to my career as an opera singer. As an international singer, I sing in many languages and travel the world pursuing my career. Learning different languages, German in particular, contributed immensely to my proficiency as a singer. I have always excelled in language studies, but there isn’t something quite equal to the experience of immersing yourself in the world, culture and traditions of a language in order to fully absorb it.

The family I stayed with in Berlin is a family I was paired with in my course the previous summer. I had such an incredible time with them that I asked to stay with them again, and luckily they were happy to have me back. Their house is adjacent to Görlitzer Park in the Kreuzberg area. This park, I learned, has a bad reputation, but is a beautiful place to lie in the sun for a while or go running, which I did almost daily. Every morning I walked through the park for 15 min to the nearest S-Bahn station. The S-Bahn route from my Berlin house to my German Course was gorgeous, I loved listening to music and waking up slowly to the views of Berlin in the morning. 

Holtzman Text


Chen Holtzman meeting her sponsor Dr. Gustav Winkler in Berlin.

I attended the Goethe Institute German Course’s daily morning classes from 8:00-13:00. In the beginning I was placed in a B1 class, but my teacher argued that my level is much higher therefore advanced me the following week to the B2 classes which would prepared me immediately for the C1 level. I was extremely proficient in grammar, but my vocabulary was lacking therefore I struggled in the beginning. My new teacher’s approach to teaching, however, had us explore new ways of expressing ourselves in German which are closer to the way we talk in our mother tongue, so I quickly caught up to my class and was able to communicate with a better range of vocabulary. Our teacher screened German movies in class and took us on his own personal tour of Berlin which was an amazing experience, especially because it was an outside-of-the-box sort-of approach to teaching.    

I want to thank Dr. Winkler and the Dr. Winkler Scholarship for personally selecting me. This experience was amazing, and would not have been made possible without them. Thank you for believing in me and helping me reach my goals.