Romanian Culture and History (With Eastern Orthodoxy component) (4 credits)
While lectures and readings will provide the context for your learning in this class, your day-to-day life and interactions in the Jiu Valley and other regions of Romania are key components to your learning. This class will explore Romanian culture and history through visits to historic sites and museums, home stays with Romanian families, readings, and lectures. 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 work of New Horizons Foundation (adventure education and service-learning as strategies for holistic youth development). There is also a substantial Eastern Orthodoxy component in this class, which serves to give Western students a good understanding of Eastern Orthodox faith, dogma, aesthetics, liturgies, and lifestyle. Even though the Christian Church started in the East, the Eastern Orthodox Church is largely unknown to Western audiences. There will be church visits and expert Orthodox authorities who will speak on behalf of their Church, thus facilitating an authentic approach to Romanian Orthodoxy.
Romanian Language (4 credits*)
Did you know that Romanian is the closest living language to Latin—and thus is a bridge to all Romance languages? This class will allow students to develop Basic Romanian vocabulary and grammatical structures so that they can successfully communicate. While lectures and readings will provide the context for your learning in this class, your day-to-day life and interactions in the Jiu Valley and other regions of Romania are key components of your learning. This class will explore the basics of the Romanian language and will equip you to manage life in Lupeni with basic Romanian language skills. Not only will you be able to order food at a restaurant, have a basic conversation in Romanian with your host family, and be able to get to know some IMPACT kids (New Horizons service-learning clubs) in a second language, but you will also understand the cultural concept of language and the importance it makes in culture. Through learning and observing you will understand more deeply that language is not simply a neutral construct and is a living organism.
*This class covers the entire language requirement for NW students.
Experiential Education for Community Development and Youth Ministry (4 credits)
Want to safely take a group into the wilderness on a backpakcing adventure? Want to lead effective team-building activities and debriefs? Want to take your youth group to the next level and get them involved in community action? This class builds off the renowned youth and community development programs of the New Horizons foundation who pioneered both outdoor/adventure education and service learning in Romania. You will learn—by doing—and develop your leadership skills through a backpacking trip in beautiful Retezat National Park as well as working with Romanian youth in the context of the IMPACT service-learning clubs that are spreading around the world (powered by, among others World Vision). Besides the practical aspects, you will dig deeply into the theoretical foundations of experiential education including the classical virtue and "wisdom" (phronesis) tradition rooted in Aristotle, as well as experiential education’s later refinements with Kurt Hahn and John Dewey.
Sustainable Development (4 Credits)
Why are some countries poor and others rich? Is wealth only or primarily about economic development? What does conceiving of development primarily in economic terms mean for the future of the planet? If development is more than increasing incomes, what is it? And how can it be measured? What is poverty and well-being/flourishing anyway? These and other questions will be addressed in this class on sustainable development. 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 Capabilities Approach of Amartya Sen that informs the United Nations work), 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 why these are central to the Christian ethos; and 2) think critically about poverty and human development via resources both from within and outside the Christian faith.