|Neue Rathaus – or “Town Hall” in the Munich city center|
Since I connect with most readers on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and/or Skype & E-mail as well, you will know by now that I moved to Germany in early September! I am studying theology at Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich as an exchange student for one year. I’ll return back to Candler School of Theology next fall to finish my MDiv. You can keep up with my experiences here, as I plan to blog frequently.
This year is about exercising my mind in new ways: encountering church and theological studies in another cultural setting, becoming proficient in another language, and being challenged to think deeply in this other-culture/other-language setting. By the end of the year, hopefully, my setting won’t feel so “other,” but will become a place where I feel (at least semi-) at home.
So far, life here still feels a little surreal… definitely not like home! The biggest obstacle is language. I studied German from 6th grade through my freshman year in college, and have had 2 college courses since then. This totals 9 years in school. And yet, arriving here, a first impression was how little German I actually know (or how much I’ve forgotten since college). Understanding a foreign language in a classroom, where the teacher uses his or her hands while speaking slowly and simply, is WAY different than sitting among a group of native-speakers and being able to keep up. I can survive, ask and answer direct questions, get the “big picture” of a lecture… but participating in peer-group conversations is difficult. Slowly but surely, however, I am picking up more language skills. I am also registered for a German course at the University beginning at the end of the month, hoping this will help immensely!
I am finally staying put in Munich for a while after a couple of busy weeks of travel. Because I’ve had trouble getting the photos from camera to iPad with internet issues and the iOS6 update, I’ll have to wait on posting about my travels… a week in the Mediterranean sailing with my brother, a study trip to the Bavarian Alps, and a meeting in Frankfurt for my stipend program. Let me just say that I have been beyond grateful for these opportunities. Time with my favorite person (Patrick) and forming acquaintances with other students from Germany and all around the world has been great!
I’ll sign off with a Happy Birthday shout-out to Dad (Oct. 1), Mom (Oct. 4), and Patrick (Oct. 5). I love you all very much and am celebrating the blessing of your lives from afar!