Carrie Gates | December 14, 2018
In the past three years alone, Notre Dame student Mary Elsa Henrichs’ passions for theatre, English literature, and German have converged in many memorable ways.
She’s attended performances of Hamlet in Berlin. She’s worked as a research assistant to two German professors, helping to bring book projects to publication. And she’s spending next semester studying in Heidelberg, Germany, where she hopes to secure a theatre internship.
The arts, she said, are a through line between her majors in German and English.
“It’s been a fascinating journey for me,” she said. “I love seeing the connections between my English and German classes as we explore what literature is and who it’s for.
“My goal is to be able to study German literature in the same way I can study English literature — to look at playwrights like Schiller and Brecht without having to go to the translation beforehand.”
Before deciding to come to Notre Dame, Henrichs considered pursuing a BFA in theatre. But ultimately, her love of English literature and Shakespeare inspired her to seek a more holistic education.
“The College of Arts and Letters really challenges you to see things from different perspectives and to always be examining your own perspective,” she said. “If you’re just focusing on building your acting skills — or even your business or scientific skills — I don’t think you get that same experience. In Arts and Letters, the world we live in is our laboratory, which is wonderful.”
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