Supermarket chain Lidl has strengthened its commitment to the study of German at Oxford by renewing its support for students in the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages.

The new five-year agreement, which begins in the 2023/24 academic year, will benefit both undergraduate and graduate students. One scholarship will be awarded each year to a student pursuing the Master’s in German Studies, helping to remove the financial barriers that prevent many talented students from pursuing graduate study. Annual prizes will be available to undergraduate students to reward excellence and to support students’ projects during their year abroad in Germany.

Undergraduate and graduate students at Oxford visit Lidl House in 2022

As part of the new agreement, Lidl has generously expanded its support to include funding for the German Olympiad, an annual language competition for school children between 9 and 18 years old. Organised by the Oxford German Network, the Olympiad is a key activity in the University’s language outreach work, encouraging creative interaction with German learning through themed tasks based on the country’s traditions, culture and history.

Lidl and Oxford: working together to support the study of German

The Oxford-Lidl partnership is ideally placed to advance the study of German: the University’s German department within the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages is one of the oldest, largest and most active among English-speaking universities, while Lidl, which operates internationally in over 30 countries, uses German as its official language of operation.

Stephanie Rogers, Chief Human Resources Officer at Lidl, said: ‘Within the commercial world, foreign language skills offer huge benefits for individuals and organisations alike and we regard ability within a second language as a huge asset within the modern workplace. Here at Lidl GB, we are proud to continue our support of the teaching of German language and culture at the University of Oxford.’

The number of pupils in England studying modern foreign languages at GCSE has declined dramatically in the past 25 years, and entries for GCSE German have reduced by more than half since 1996 according to government figures. As a result, many university departments offering the subject have closed. The strength of Lidl’s continued commitment will play an important role in supporting and promoting the study of German language and culture as desirable, relevant and globally significant.

Sub-Faculty Chair Professor Karen Leeder said: ‘The renewal of this partnership provides important continuity for the support of German studies and outreach initiatives at Oxford. We are delighted to be working with Lidl for another five years, helping to raise the profile of the subject and reinforcing the vital importance of the teaching and learning of foreign languages in the UK.’

Current Lidl Scholar Zoe West-Taylor said: ‘Through Lidl’s support, I have been able to broaden my knowledge of German language and literature far beyond what I was expecting to. I am incredibly grateful to have received this scholarship.’

Visit the Humanities Division website for further information about the Lidl German Language and Literature Graduate Scholarships and student funding.