***This course fulfills the Theological Studies or THEOL area requirement
Immerse yourself in the rich culture and history of Germany while exploring your own sense of calling
- Visit Berlin, a beautiful, dynamic capital city key to European history
- Explore Leipzig, Weimar, Dresden, and other historic and cultural centers in Germany
- Enjoy German food and concerts by world-class musicians
- Learn about understandings of faith, justice, and music expressed in the work and lives of three renowned figures: Luther, Bach, and Bonhoeffer
- Study stories of courage during periods of great social and political upheaval in German history, including the Reformation, the Holocaust, World War II, and the Fall of the Berlin Wall
- Stay overnight in the Augustinian Monastery in which Luther lived (Erfurt) and in historic buildings of the University where he taught and posted the 95 Theses (Wittenberg)
- Tour the Wartburg Castle and Bach’s birthplace (Eisenach), churches where Bach worked (Leipzig), and sites related to Bonhoeffer’s life and imprisonment (Berlin)
- Visit Holocaust memorials (Berlin, Buchenwald) and synagogues (Erfurt, Berlin)
- Examine creative responses to contemporary injustices as you reflect on your own strengths, core values, and sense of purpose
- This course fulfills the THEOL requirement in the Challenge Curriculum and one of the two IEX requirements in the Liberal Arts Perspective Curriculum.
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? Such questions about one’s calling or vocation are common, and they can become especially acute in times of personal, professional, or political transitions or upheavals. This course gives students an opportunity to explore their own sense of purpose by examining the lives and work of selected German leaders who reflected on their callings during significant periods of change: The Reformation (1517), World War II (1939-41), and the Fall of the Berlin Wall (1989). Special attention will be paid to several influential Christian and Jewish thinkers, including Martin Luther, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Leo Baeck, and Abraham Heschel. The course also explores ideas about the role of music and the arts in spiritual renewal and political resistance, and the course highlights the works of several famous German composers and musicians, such as Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frederick Handel, and Felix Mendelssohn. 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, and Dresden); 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. Participants will stay overnight in Berlin, Wittenberg (where Luther posted the “95 Theses”), Leipzig (where Bach and Mendelssohn worked), Erfurt (in the monastery where Luther was a monk), and near Heidelberg. Throughout the course students will learn about German history and culture; the Holocaust; Jewish-Christian relations past and present; the situation of East Germans under communism; and current challenges in unified Germany. This course is open to all students and especially attractive to those interested in theology, religion, ethics, Germany, European history, history, political science, music and the arts, and/or Peace Studies. Please see this file
for details about the anticipated itinerary.
- Berlin (capital of Germany, where Bonhoeffer lived and worked when the Nazi regime came to power)
- Wittenberg (where Luther posted the “95 Theses”)
- Leipzig (where Bach and many other outstanding musicians lived and worked)
- Erfurt (where Luther was a monk)
- Darmstadt (near Heidelberg two university towns)
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, including a group of Gustavus students in 2017.
Approximate dates for 2022 are as follows:
Two to three pre-departure meetings: TBA during fall semester 2021. If you’re studying away during this semester, contact Professor Bunge for arrangements.
Departure from USA: January 3, 2022
On-site program: January 4-22, 2022
Anticipated accommodations will include hotels, the monastery where Martin Luther was a monk, and a dorm-like setting at the Colleg Wittenberg. The program’s accommodations are all located in the heart of the historical portions of the cities.
The program fee will be $4,950 to $5,450, depending on final enrollment. The fee will cover round-trip airfare to Europe, lodging, local transportation, entrance fees and excursions, and two meals per day. Students should budget an additional $200 to $300 for one meal per day and personal expenses.
All Gustavus Adolphus College students who meet the general study away requirements are welcome to apply.
Students must complete the online application by May 1, 2021.
Entry visas and passports
Currently, U.S citizens do not need an entry visa for Germany 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, 2022, by the start of Fall 2021 semester.
The information in this online brochure is subject to change. Please contact CICE with questions.