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IEX J-Term 2019: Reformations, Revolutions, and Vocations: Germany, Prague, and Your Own Sense of Calling
Berlin, Germany; Dresden, Germany; Eisenach, Germany; Erfurt, Germany; Halle, Germany; Leipzig, Germany; Prague, Czech Republic; Weimar, Germany; Wittenberg, Germany (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms:
Program Terms: January Interim
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This program is currently not accepting applications.
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There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
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Fact Sheet:
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Program Provider:
Gustavus Adolphus College
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Program Term(s):
January Interim
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Minimum Class Standing:
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Minimum GPA:
Program Description:
Program Description:

  • Visit Berlin and Prague, two beautiful, dynamic capital cities key to European history
  • Explore the German towns and cities at the heart of the Protestant Reformation
  • Enjoy German and Czech food and concerts by world-class musicians
  • Learn about German and Czech culture and history, including moments of social and political upheaval tied to the Reformation, World War II, German reunification, the Prague Spring, and the Velvet Revolution
  • Stay overnight in the Augustinian Monastery in which Luther lived (Erfurt) and in historic buildings of the University where he taught (Wittenberg)
  • Visit boyhood homes of Bach (Eisenach) and Bonhoeffer (Berlin), churches where Bach worked (Leipzig), and German castles (including the Wartburg and Heidelberg castles)
  • Learn about understandings of faith, vocation, and music expressed in the work and lives of Luther, Bach, and Bonhoeffer
  • Reflect on your own strengths, values, and sense of calling
  • Course fulfills one of the two IEX credits required for graduation
Berlin 2017

Course Overview
What am I called to do with my life?  What are my greatest gifts and talents?  How can I best use them to address injustices and to contribute to the common good? How do I balance responsibilities to my family, profession, and community? Such questions about one’s calling or vocation are common, and they can become especially acute in times of personal or political transitions or upheavals.  This course gives students an opportunity to explore their own sense of vocation by examining the lives and work of selected German and Czech leaders who reflected on their callings during significant periods of change:  the Reformation (1517), World War II, the “Peaceful Revolution” (1989) in Germany, and the Prague Spring (1968) and Velvet Revolution (1989) in former Czechoslovakia. Special attention will be paid to three influential figures: Martin Luther (16th Century), Dietrich Bonhoeffer (20th Century), and Czech writer and politician, Václav Havel (20th Century).  Since all three figures deeply appreciated the power of music and the arts, the course also explores their ideas about the role of music and the arts in spiritual renewal and political resistance, and the course highlights the works of several influential composers and musicians in Germany and Czechoslovakia, such as Johann Sebastian Bach (18th century), Bedrich Smetana (19th century), known as the “father of Czech music,” and the “Plastic People of the Universe,” a revolutionary 20th century Czech rock band.  The course includes visiting important sites in the lives of these thinkers and musicians (such as Berlin, Wittenberg, Leipzig, Erfurt, Weimar, Buchenwald concentration camp, Eisenach, Dresden, and Prague); touring important museums and religious sites connected with these figures; hearing the Thomaner Chor at the Thomaskirche, Bach’s central church in Leipzig; and attending concerts, including by Leipzig’s famous Gewandhaus Orchestra and Prague’s Czech Philharmonic. Participants will stay overnight in Berlin, Wittenberg (where Luther posted the “95 Theses”), Leipzig (where Bach worked), Weimar, Erfurt (in the monastery where Luther was a monk), and Prague. Throughout the course students will learn about German and Czech history and culture; the situation of these countries under the Nazis and later Communism; and current challenges in unified Germany and the Czech Republic.  This course is open to all students and especially attractive to those interested in theology, religion, ethics, Germany, Czechoslovakia, European history, history, political science, music and the arts, and/or Peace Studies.
Bach Statue in Leipzig 2017
Berlin, Wittenberg, Leipzig, Halle, Eisleben, Erfurt, Weimar, Buchenwald, Eisenach, Dresden, Prague

Faculty Leader
Marcia Bunge, Religion
Marcia J. Bunge, Ph.D. is Professor of Religion and the Bernhardson Distinguished Chair of Lutheran Studies at Gustavus Adolphus College (Minnesota) and Extraordinary Professor at NW University (South Africa). She received her B.A. in English and Music from St. Olaf College and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Theology from the University of Chicago. Bunge has spent over five years of her life in Germany (studying, pursuing research, or teaching), travelled there over twenty times, and speaks German fluently.  She has also taken several student groups and one faculty group on similar trips to Germany.  Her most recent trip to Germany was with Gustavus students in 2017.

95 Theses
Academic Calendar
Approximate dates for 2019 are as follows:
Two to three pre-departure meetings: TBA during fall semester 2018.  If you’re studying away during this semester, contact Marcia Bunge for arrangements.
On-site program: January 7 to January 28, 2019

Anticipated accommodations will include hotels, the monastery where Martin Luther was a monk, and a dorm-like setting at the Colleg Wittenberg. All accommodations are in the heart of the historical portions of the cities the program will visit.

Program Costs
The program fee will cover round-trip airfare to Europe, lodging, local transportation, entrance fees, and two meals per day.  and will include all lodging, meals, local transportation, and entrance fees in Germany. The final fee will be dependent upon the number of students who apply and are accepted. We estimate the final fee to be between $5,250 and $5,650 per student.

All Gustavus Adolphus College students who meet the general study away requirements are welcome to apply. 

Application Deadline
Students must complete the online application by April 30, 2018. 

Entry visas and passports
Currently, U.S citizens do not need an entry visa for Germany and Prague for stays of 90 days or less. All students who are not U.S. citizens are advised to contact Bryan Messerly to check in about possible additional visa needs. All program participants must have a passport that is valid through at least July 31, 2019, by the start of Fall 2018 semester.

The information in this online brochure is subject to change. Please contact CICE with questions.
Wartburg Castle

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This program is currently not accepting applications.