Name: Ashley Edewaard
Location of Study: Frieburg, Germany
Program of Study: Goethe-Institut Deutschland
Sponsors: Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures
A brief personal bio:
I was born and raised in Charleston, South Carolina. My sister and I attended a private school in Charleston for several years before my mother began teaching us at home; I was home-schooled from third grade through high school. During this time I developed a deep appreciation for reading and writing, and thus elected to study English at Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, Georgia. On a whim, I decided to enroll in ancient Greek to fulfill my foreign language requirement; I then realized how much I enjoyed studying Scripture in the original languages, and determined to pursue this interest in Graduate School. To this end, I studied biblical Hebrew during my senior year in college, and subsequently began attending Wheaton College Graduate School, where I earned a M.A. in Biblical Exegesis. I wanted to enroll in Notre Dame’s Ph. D program in Christianity and Judaism in Antiquity (CJA), but knowing how competitive the program is, I determined to first earn a M.T.S. in biblical studies at Notre Dame to bolster my application. Also in preparation for my doctoral studies, I studied German, Latin, and French over several summers. My research interests have now turned from biblical studies to the history of the early church, specifically to the writings of Clement of Alexandria. Because much modern scholarship on the early church is written in German and French, I continue to utilize these languages, along with ancient Greek, as I write my dissertation.
Why this summer language abroad opportunity is important to me:
During the course of my studies as a graduate student of Theology, I have become increasingly aware of the tremendous influence which German scholarship exerts on biblical and theological studies. Due to the volume of crucial information published in German, it is imperative that I be able to read and comprehend German sources without undertaking the laborious and time-consuming process of continuously referencing German grammars and dictionaries before I can apprehend an author’s claim or critique his/her argument. The ability to write and speak German would also facilitate cross-cultural exchange with German scholars, such as my participation in academic conferences conducted in German, and correspondence with German colleagues in my field.
Since I have audited two semesters of beginning German (while earning a M.A. at Wheaton College Graduate School) and taken Notre Dame’s German reading course for graduate students, I am ideally positioned to study German at the Goethe Institute: an eight-week period of immersive study in Germany will concretize my current level of knowledge and enable me to accelerate to the advanced level of proficiency which I require for my dissertation research, intellectual development, and career advancement.
What I hope to achieve as a result of this summer study abroad experience:
Based on my research of the Goethe Institute’s website, I have discovered numerous features of the language program in Germany which make it an exceptional environment for attaining advanced competency in German. My work will begin in a collaborative classroom environment, where I will cultivate skills in speaking, reading, and writing German under the guidance of qualified instructors. Homework assignments will deepen my comprehension of the course material and ensure that I keep pace with the class, while the media resource center will provide me with access to reference materials, literature, and computer work stations to pursue self-study activities. I look forward to expanding my linguistic and cultural horizons as I enjoy Freiburg’s offerings of restaurants, hiking in the Black Forest, theater and dance performances at Theater Freiburg, orchestral performances at Freiburger Barockorchester, the art of the Augustinermuseum, and the Wentzingerhaus of city history. Through participation in the culture and leisure-time programs, I will also have the opportunity to explore nearby locations, such as Alsace, Strassbourg, or Basel. When I traveled to Uganda, Africa, on a mission trip during my sophomore year at Covenant College, I especially appreciated the occasions when I was able to interact with the local population going about their daily activities, rather than as a tourist; because I will be able to converse with German locals in their own language, rather than through an interpreter, I anticipate a far greater ability to connect with German people and their culture.
My specific learning goals for language and intercultural learning this summer:
- Internalize the morphological and syntactical principles of German such that I can recognize them effortlessly while reading German texts.
- Learn to easily comprehend spoken German and acquire the ability to competently converse in German.
- Be able to write German with sufficient competency to carry on written correspondence with German colleagues.
My plan for maximizing my international language learning experience:
I anticipate immediately and seamlessly applying the language gains which I acquire in Germany upon resumption of my dissertation in the fall of 2016. Additionally, I plan to initiate correspondence with several German scholars in my field and to participate in Notre Dame’s German Club, in which both graduate and undergraduate students can enjoy Stammtisch and Kaffeestunde, concerts, lectures, and film. I am also excited by the prospect of conversing in German with my brother-in-law, who is fluent in German, and more closely following my favorite German bands, such as Elis, Megaherz, Eisbrecher, and Blutengel.