Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Geeky Me?

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So, the past two Wednesdays I posted about one particular podcast I really enjoyed, but I can't possibly fill all Wednesdays with podcast reviews (there's only so much time I have). Instead, I decided to give you some more insight into me (as the "me" usually falls short, except for my reading and my opinion on what I read) in this feature I tentatively called Geeky Me. I'd love it if you told me what you think about this idea, so comment away!

As a few of you might know, I am a student at the university in Frankfurt/Main, Germany (it is named after a famous German writer, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, by the way). Our studies are in parts still rather different from the American and British (and most other) systems. I started out early enough to still get my Magister Artium (M.A.) without having to get a Bachelor degree first. Another difference is that I have one major and two minors (although I could also have picked two majors without a minor). When I have my M.A., I can apply to a program for a doctorate degree - if my grades are good enough, that is. So much for the back story!

Now, my major is American Studies, which in essence is a combination of (U.S.-)American Literature, Linguistics/Language, Culture, Politics and History. It covers such a broad range of subjects I will have to specialize in two of them after about 4 semesters (in about a year from now). Last semester I took a class on literature and culture from the first settlers until about 1820. I knew so little about this time, it was surprising. Granted, I knew about the historical aspects, but the literature? There is so much out there, I'm still amazed and I can't wait for the second part (1820 until maybe 1865? That would go with the Norton Anthology.)! In fact, I have decided that I would like to see whether I can read at least one text from the Norton Anthology each month during the semester and two when we don't have classes. (Care to join me?)

And my minors are Romance Studies (capital R for the Romance), but I have yet to decide on whether I'd rather study Italian or French in depth, and Comparative Religion. I love languages a lot, there's no other way to say this, as I would (in theory) be able to survive in a number of countries while using the official languages. (More about that later, if you like the Geeky Me.)

So, I have yet to decide whether I'd rather keep myself busy with the Italian language and literature or the French language and literature. Last semester I took a few classes in French lit and next semester I'll take a class in Italian lit and two language classes. I have been both to France and Italy in the past (like, before 2003), and I enjoyed both vacations a lot, so that's no help either. I tend to prefer Italian contemporary literature more than I do French literature, but I really love French playwright Molière and know practically nothing about Italian classics. You see, it will be a tough call!

And Comparative Religion was an easy decision. I did not grow up overly religious. When my brother and I were younger, Mom used to drag us to church every other week when she wasn't working Sundays, but even for her it was mostly because it was how she grew up (her Dad used to say that they can stay up on weekends, but who can party on Saturday can go to church on Sunday). At least that's how it came across. Now, in Germany we also have (mandatory) religion classes each year, so you (or rather your parents) can choose whether you attend Catholic religion class, Protestant religion class or Ethics. These classes fill two hours each week and you have to take them 1st through 13th grade - there's no way around it! (Note: Today, some schools offer classes for students of other religions as well, if enough people take part, but back in my days and in my previous schools there just weren't enough students for these classes.)
Now, with little knowledge, I always enjoyed the 5-7 weeks every other year that we spent learning about other belief systems. It was fascinating and it was one of the few subjects I actually looked up at the library and later online. So when it came the time for me to pick a 2nd minor, it was an easy choice. And here I am enjoying classes about all different beliefs (last semester: organ donation with a Jewish perspective).

By the way, some of you commented on the size of the writing on my blog and I totally agree! It is a bit on the small side, so I hope this is better. Just let me know those little things. Sometimes I miss them. (More often than not, actually! *sigh*)

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