What am I doing between now and Germany?
Tomorrow, I drive to Louisville to fly to Atlanta to drive to Alabama to see two friends get married on Saturday (that really does amount to less travel time than if I drove straight there). I’m really excited to celebrate the matrimony of Caitlin and Garrett on one last whirlwind trip to the Deep South. Saturday night I drive back to Atlanta to sleep, then fly back to Louisville and drive back to Lexington Sunday… to have about 24 hours before I go to LEX to fly to Munich, by way of Charlotte and Frankfurt. Crazy much?
As you can see, although I technically have 3 and a half days left in this country, TODAY IS THE DAY that I have to finish deciding what goes and what stays, sort and stow my belongings, finish any clothes washing and packing, run any last minute errands (e.g. change out some dollars for euros, buy electronic adapters, get a link taken out of watch…), file away all of the important documents I need to take with me, figure out what carry-on bag I’m going to pack, and the list goes on.
One really time-consuming task that I’ve been working on is selecting my classes for this semester. Back in the spring I made some preliminary selections based on an old course catalog. Now that the upcoming winter semester’s catalog is out, I needed to specify my courses.
I thought you family and friend readers would be interested to hear what classes I’ll be taking. Tentative list:
- Disciplines and Themes of Practical Theology: Introduction to Liturgy
- Underlying Questions of Theological Anthropology
- History of Ethics
- Current Challenges in Practical Theology: Theories of Prayer
- Religion and Violence
- Biblical Themes in Religious Education
- Education in Church and Community
Some maybe-boring-to-you differences in the American and German models of university education:
- The number of courses. This looks like a long course list! But, my courses at LMU each only meet one day a week for 2 hours each, so I’ll be in class about 14 hours. I’m told some German students may sit in 10 classes in a semester!
- The language issue. All my courses fall under the categories of Systematic Theology, Practical Theology, and Religious Studies. I most likely won’t be taking any Biblical Studies courses over the next year because in German theological education, all texts are read in original languages (which Candler curriculum does not require). I don’t think I can handle TWO foreign languages at the same time (German instruction for learning Hebrew or Greek? No thanks).
- The class format. Some of my classes are lectures, some are seminars, and then one is an “exercise” or “practice” course. The course types require varying degrees of outside work and in-class participation.
- The grading status. All of these classes are, for me, low pressure. I get to decide which courses I take for credit – for a graded “Schein,” and which I just audit – for a “Sitzschein”. Because of the language difference, I do not expect to return with a full year’s credit, but hopefully some hours to lighten the load of my final year at Candler.
- The reading load. Another (welcome) difference in my upcoming German education will be the amount of assigned reading. The seminar courses may feature discussion of some light assigned reading, but this year’s reading load will not come close to the usual 600-1000+ weekly pages that I have read at Candler over the past two years. On the other hand, they require more independent work, processing and thinking about class discussion and lectures.
I look forward to sharing other noteworthy similarities and differences in the ways we learn once I’ve had some class experience.
Speaking of noteworthy… I’ll have about a month in Europe before we formally begin the winter semester! In that amount of time, I will cruise in the Mediterranean for 1 week, go on a study trip to the Alps, and attend an introductory meeting for my stipend program in Frankfurt. I’ll also hopefully recover from jet lag, get situated in my place in Munich, and start learning the ropes over there. I’ll let my trusty blog readers know how all is going in a few weeks!