Student blog assignments

Summer 2017
copyright 2017 Calvin College

For the summer of 2017, all students must complete 5 blog posts on the course blog.  It is mandatory that all students complete blog question #3 and #8  – as one of the 5 posts.   Students may answer more than 5 questions.  Students may also add more blog posts not related to the blog questions – including sharing pictures etc.


At various times during this summer program the professors will ask the students to answer some questions on our blog.   The students will get to pick and choose which questions to answer.

Course Assignment #1: First Thoughts (tag: blogQ1)

Summarize, report and reflect on these questions: Why are you on this summer program? What do you hope for a class outcome? What is a personal strength that you can contribute to the group?  What is your prayer for this summer program?

Course Assignment #2: initial reflections on Germany (tag: blogQ2)

You have been in Germany for about a week.    What are some of your impressions on this past week.  What are some things that you did not expect?   Are there things from home that you miss?  Are there things here in Germany that you wish were back home?

Course Assignment #3: Reflections (mandatory assignment) (tag: blogQ3)

Reflect on some of the events of WWII by commenting on some of the following: Our visit to the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp or our visit to the holocaust museum.  You might choose to include insights into how this history perhaps affects Germany today or how these experiences affected you personally.

Course Assignment #4: Reflections on Köln. (tag: blogQ4)

Reflect on your experience of worshipping at high mass in the Köln Cathedral.  How is this different than your home church?  What parts of the service did you like?

It is estimated that more than 20000 people visit the cathedral each day – What were your thoughts of seeing all the “tourists” waiting to get into the church when we were leaving the service?

Course Assignment #5: What’s it like? (tag: blogQ5)

Please post 3 or more pictures on this blog and write about the pictures.  They can be anything about our time here:  the places we visit, doing homework, living in the big rooms, buying food, something unusual that you noticed etc.

Course Assignment #6: Reflections on Wittenberg (tag: blogQ6)

We went to Wittenberg this past Sunday and worshiped in the Castle Church. Afterwards we visited Martin Luther’s house (museum).   In the past years, I asked the students to come up with an official blog question related to our Wittenberg experience.  Below are some of their questions (slightly edited).

Students: please select one of the questions below to answer for your Blog assignment #6.

Now that you have experienced both Catholic and Protestant worship services in Germany, including a worship service at the site of the formation of the Protestant movement, comment on what you have observed, from the churches themselves, to the services, to the view of the German people in response to religion.

You all have visited Wittenberg, is Wittenberg different from what you imagined before the trip. What’s the most impressive thing you found in Wittenberg?

The congregation and pastor at the church in Wittenberg seemed excited and blessed by our presence in their church. How can you bless those in your congregation in your home church through your presence there?

What did you find the most interesting or perplexing about visiting Wittenberg? Was there anything unexpected that occurred during the trip or that you learned while visiting the city?

What were your thoughts concerning the church service in Wittenberg? Did you like it? How did it affect you? Specifically reflect on the construction. Did it subtract from or add to the service?

How did learning about Martin Luther affect you? If you it didn’t affect you in anyway then why not?

How has seeing the place where the Reformation period started and seeing the extreme circumstances that Luther went through to bring his ideas to the surface affected your view of Christianity or your Faith?

Compare Luther’s Church to the Catholic Kolner Dom.

What impressed you the most about Wittenberg?

How did seeing where our beliefs come from and who started the movement of our faith affect how you view your faith?

After seeing firsthand the decline in attendance to Church in Wittenberg, what do you think the Church in Wittenberg and, more generally, the church in Europe could do to inspire more followers for Christ?

In a country with so many elaborate churches, why do you think religion has lost its importance and does not appeal to people like it used to? Do you think this could happen to America in the future? Why or why not?

Why do you think that there were not very many tourists in the city of Wittenberg even though it is the home of Martin Luther who is one the leading reformers of the church?

How do you feel the presence of such an important church, such as the Luther church, has on a city? How do you think this church/city differed from the others we have visited on the trip?

Professor Nielson mentioned that Wittenberg would love to have a university because it would bring money to the town. Based off that and the age of the congregation, do you think Wittenberg is growing or shrinking? Does its fame that brings tourists keep it alive? Why or why not. Could a university survive there?”

Do you think the exchange of the body and statue of Martin Luther was to the advantage of the people of Wittenberg or not?


Course Assignment #7: Reflections on Bremen (tag: blogQ7)

Comment on your trip to Bremen.  What did you find interesting about the history of the city?

Course Assignment #8: elevator speech (MANDATORY FOR ALL STUDENTS) (tag: blogQ8)

Please answer this blog assignment right before you come back to Calvin.

An elevator speech is a short summary speech that last about the length of an elevator ride (maybe 1 to 3 minutes).

When you get home, everyone is going to ask “How was Germany”.  You usually will have about 3 minutes to answer (like an elevator speech) so instead of saying “Uh… it was good…”  it would be better to have spent some time preparing how to answer this question.  Please create a short blog post summarizing your experiences this summer.



Leonard De Rooy