Ingeborg Goessl scholarship helps students learn cultural competency

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Since 2010, the Ingeborg Goessl Study Abroad Scholarship has supported students who wish to study abroad, particularly those who participate in the Münster semester program hosted by the German department.

The scholarship is named after Dr. Ingeborg Goessl (‘60) a retired German professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She provides funds for this scholarship because she believes in the long lasting, positive impact studying abroad can have on a student. “After teaching German since receiving my graduate degree and particularly through working with foreign language student teachers, I have always observed how much more a person [or] teacher who has lived abroad can bring to a classroom or to jobs,” Gossel said. “So often graduates have told me how during job interviews the questions focused on those experiences. Study abroad gives most people a broader perspective on life.”

During their time in Münster, students take four courses led by Luther faculty, two of which are German language courses. The other two include a history course on the Reformation and a Paideia II course on memorialization, which is closely connected to the class trips students take during the program.

In addition to taking courses, students live with German host families and have time to travel independently around the country. According to Münster student Sam Mitchell (‘18), developing a close relationship with her host family was both fun and beneficial in building her German speaking skills. “My host family was absolutely hilarious, and we had fun speaking what we would call ‘Denglish,’ or Deutsch-English,” Mitchell said. “It was a broken language, but I definitely noticed a higher retention rate with German when living with my family.”

Professor of German Sören Steding is the director of the Münster semester. Steding said that while he wants students to strengthen their knowledge of the German language, he also hopes that formative self-reflection will take place within the students. ”For me, the most important part is that people notice that living within a different culture is rewarding in and of itself. By doing this, you reflect on your own culture and own identity and notice that there are a lot of elements by which you define yourself [that] you are not necessarily so aware of [and] you always take as a given.”

The next Münster semester will be early February to May of 2018.

This story originally appeared in Chips, written by Emma Busch '20.

Luther students gather in Munich, Germany. Photo courtesy of Delaney Schurer '18.