The Romania Semester is a Fall-only program. Its curriculum is relevant for courses of study offered at Gordon College in International Affairs, Sustainable Development, Youth Ministry, Outdoor Education, Social Work, and Nonprofit Organization Management.
The curriculum of the Romania Semester has four distinct components:
The FALL 2013 Semester begins around August 23rd and ends in early December.
The Romania Semester fulfills Gordon College's Global Understanding core requirement when students participate in the pre- and post-New Perspectives courses offered on campus.
The Sustainable Development course fulfills Gordon's Civic Responsibility core requirement.
Romanian Language, Culture and History
This class will explore Romanian culture and history through visits to historic sites and museums, home stays with Romanian families, language study, readings, and lectures by qualified specialists. Lectures will focus on gaining insight into the historical and social development of Romania’s cultural values, especially the values Communism attempted to propagate and the devastating wake left by the realities of this failed ideology. Exploring the social legacy of Communism (low social capital, civic apathy, corruption) is imperative to understanding the purpose behind the work of New Horizons Foundation (adventure education and service learning as strategies for social capital development. Also, in collaboration with the Experiential Education class, students will partner with local IMPACT clubs, providing an opportunity to become more familiar with what Romania looks like through the eyes of the youth.
This is an introductory course to give Western students a good understanding of Eastern Orthodox faith, dogma, aesthetics, liturgics, and lifestyle. Even though the Christian Church started in the East, the Eastern Orthodox Church is largely unknown to Western audiences. Several Church visits and expert Orthodox authorities will speak on behalf of their Church, thus facilitating an authentic approach to Romanian Orthodoxy. There will be a focus on the lived experience of the Sacraments, the role of the Church Calendar, the effects of Communism on the social engagement of the Church, among other things.
This class will explore issues of poverty, underdevelopment, and human well-being correlating insights of the secular world (Athens) with that of Christian faith (Jerusalem). Special reference will be given to the theoretical aspects of various paradigms of human well-being: social capital and civil society, the Human Development paradigm (the Capability Approach of Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum), Basic Needs, Geographical (Jared Diamond), and Marxist inspired Communism. There will be considerable focus and care given to motivating students to 1) care about issues of global poverty and 2) think critically about poverty and human development via resources both from within and outside the Christian faith.
Experiential Education: Theoria and praxis for transformation
This class has two principal aims. The first is to dig deeply into the theoretical (including theological) and historical foundations of experiential education. This class will therefore investigate the classical virtue and “wisdom” (phronesis) tradition, as well as its later refinements with Dewey and his desire for transformative praxis. The second main aim is to explore experiential education—adventure education and service learning—in, and as applied in post-Communist Romania. Thus the basics of adventure education will be addressed including a wilderness back-packing trip in the beautiful Carpathians of Transylvania, and working in solidarity with Romanian youth who are striving to improve their communities. All of this is embedded within the context of an NGO that leads Romania’s largest movement of youth activists.