29 October 2013

Classes

In Germany the semesters work a bit differently than they do at Lewis & Clark. Wintersemester is from the beginning of October until the beginning of February (with a few weeks off for christmas) and then there are two months off from the beginning of February until the end of March before Sommersemester, which is from the beginning of April until the middle of July. So we didn't actually start our classes until a few weeks ago.

When you study abroad with Lewis & Clark you can either decide to do a language intensive program or a culture based program. The Munich program is a language intensive program which means that all of our classes are conducted in german. We are also highly encouraged to speak german in our free time with the other people from our program etc. Although it is difficult sometimes to have all of my classes in a foreign language, I definitely think my german has become so much better since I arrived in the beginning of September.

This Wintersemester I am taking 5 classes.

1. Contemporary German Literature

This course is really difficult but is actually one of my favorite courses. We have a list of German books written within the last 20 years and we will be reading them all throughout the semester. They are connected in the fact that they all are addressing Identity and how Identity is multifaceted and can be expressed in many different ways. We started off by reading Wladimir Kaminer. He emigrated from Russia in the 1990's to live in Berlin, Germany. It was really cool to read some of his short stories because he wrote about his experiences as a foreigner in Berlin, which is what we are going through right now.

2. Art through the Ages

This is definitely my favorite course here. It never takes place in a traditional classroom but rather is always in a museum. For the past few weeks we have been at the Alte Pinakothek. The paintings that we have seen so far are from the 15th and early 16th century. Every day we spend about an hour and a half on three to five paintings and just talk in depth about them. We mainly talk about the symbolism, content, and composition. It's wonderful because instead of sitting in a classroom looking at pictures of paintings we can actually stand in front of the real paintings. It makes a world of difference.

3. Culture and Civilization

This course is about German culture and civilization just as the name implies. Right now we are talking about the German school system. We are going to talk about the German government etc. later on. It is mostly just a conversation based course. We talk a lot about our opinions on how the German and US systems differ and what we think works and what we think doesn't.

4. Advanced German Review I 

Advanced German Review is a continuation of the class we all took during Vorsemester. It is basically all about German grammar and language. We write essays, work from a grammar book, and will give a presentation about an article that interests us in a German newspaper. Just your basic language class.

These previous four classes that I am taking are offered by the Lewis & Clark Institute in Munich. We are also able to enroll in any classes that we want to at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich. It's an extremely large University and so therefore has thousands of course offerings. If not literally thousands, it sure seems like it.

5. Italian I

One of the reasons I decided to go to Lewis & Clark was because it has a Foreign Languages major and because it has such wonderful study abroad programs. The one thing I wish it had was Italian though. And I am so excited because this year in Munich I am finally able to take an Italian course through the LMU. It's great because it's taught in German, which might seem hard but it's actually wonderful to learn another language in a language you're learning. It helps me understand German better as well.