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Gustavus J-Term 2021: Faith, Justice, and Music: Exploring Callings, Creativity, and Courage in Germany and Prague
Berlin, Germany; Dresden, Germany; Erfurt, Germany; Leipzig, Germany; Prague, Czech Republic; 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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Restrictions: Gustavus applicants only
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Dates / Deadlines:
There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
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Program Partner:
Gustavus Adolphus College
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Program Term(s):
January Interim
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Minimum GPA:
2.50 Program Design: Faculty led
Program Description:
Program Description:
This program has been postponed to January 2022. We are not accepting applications at this time.
Immerse yourself in the rich culture and history of eastern Germany and Prague while exploring your own sense of calling

  • Visit Berlin and Prague, two beautiful, dynamic capital cities key to European history
  • Explore Leipzig, Weimar, Dresden, and other historic and cultural centers in Germany
  • Enjoy German and Czech 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 and Czech history, including the Reformation, the Holocaust, World War II, the Prague Spring, Czechoslovakia’s Velvet Revolution, 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), synagogues (Erfurt, Berlin), and the Prague Jewish Museum
  • Examine creative responses to contemporary injustices as you reflect on your own strengths, core values, and sense of purpose
  • Course fulfills one of the two IEX credits required in the Liberal Arts Perspective curriculum.

Brandenberg Gate
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
  • 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)
  • Dresden (city of music and important site in WWII)
  • Prague (capital of Czech Republic with sites related to Havel, the Velvet Revolution, and Jewish history)
     Day trips
  • Eisleben
  • Halle
  • Eisenach
  • Weimar
  • Buchenwald

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, including a group of Gustavus students in 2017.

German meal
Academic Calendar
Approximate dates for 2021 are as follows:
Two to three pre-departure meetings: TBA during fall semester 2020.  If you’re studying away during this semester, contact Professor Bunge for arrangements.
On-campus program: January 4-5, 2021
On-site program: January 5-24, 2021

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.

Program Costs
The program fee will be $5,050 to $5,550, depending on final enrollment. The fee will cover round-trip airfare to Europe, lodging, local transportation, entrance fees, and two meals per day. 

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 May 15, 2020. 

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, 2021, by the start of Fall 2020 semester.

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

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This program is currently not accepting applications.