Cindy Peterson's EuNC Blog

Tuesday, 11/03/09 I'm teaching a 3-week Interpersonal/Intercultural Communication class to 11 students. The course started yesterday with a Skype session to introduce the students, review the syllabus, the beginning assignments, and answer questions. They will use Moodle to access course content and assignments this week, along with another Skype session Wednesday morning. There are 3 American students and 8 international students. Adam Waite, an MNU student, is in the class during his semester abroad program. The student diversity ranges from Bolivia to Romania and locations in between. The course will be taught in English as they all speak, read, and write it. I arrive on campus this Sunday, the 8th, and daily class sessions begin Monday, the 9th. We meet for 4-5 hrs a day (split up between morning and afternoon sessions). This is the only class these students are taking during this time.

My MNU classes will use Moodle to work on course content/assignments while I'm gone. I'll be back on Nov. 23 for class before Thanksgiving. I'll try to update the blog and post some pictures as events occur. Yes, the picture above is in Europe -- no, it's not the Rhine. I hope to replace it with a picture of the Rhine (across the street from the campus) soon. I've been to EuNC once before, so it won't be totally unfamiliar territory.

A couple of things to look for on the blog:

  • If enough students are interested, I want to cast and rehearse the short play "The Complete History of the Old Testament in 20 Minutes" and present it the last day for the campus. If you have been at MNU for awhile -- you've seen it performed in chapel. Should be a lot of fun to produce over there.

  • Michelle Satterlee (MNU alum) the EuNC director of student services, will be traveling with me to Basel, Switzerland on Sat. the 14th to see Chad Hilligus, an Olathe College Church "kid" and Olivet grad, perform as Tony in the 50th anniversary World Tour of "West Side Story". He has given me a couple of comp tickets and we hope to see him after the show.

These last couple of days before I leave will be very hectic -- trying to pack books for class and clothes and stay within the airline weight limit on luggage! Sorry to say, my husband can't go with me -- so if you see him around looking hungry and sad -- maybe you can buy him a hamburger - ha.

Sunday, 08 Nov. - Arrived in Zurich on time this morning at 8:40. Almost missed the plane due to a delay in Houston. They held the doors open for me -- and miracle of miracles -- my bag made it! Got to the campus (about 45 minutes from the airport) after driving through some gorgeous fall colors -- much like Kansas City without the mountains. Met Antonie, the academic dean and some of the students at the coffee and cake fellowship after church. The next stop is dinner at a Turkish restaurant. No fondue today. This is a picture of the Rhine River across the street from the campus, the entrance to the campus, and the guest apartment where I'm staying.


Busingen_EuNC_09_001.jpg Busingen_EuNC_09_005.jpgBusingen_EuNC_09_008.jpg

Monday, 09 Nov. - The class met today for the first full session of Interpersonal Communication. I really like the European style of class scheduling: we have 4 hrs of class time with 2 mandatory coffee/snack breaks and a 2 hr. lunch. So it is a full day -- but not as rushed as our MNU schedule. The weather is rainy, but not extremely cold. If you like Portland/Seattle type conditions -- you would love it. I met Dr. & Mrs. Spindle's grandson Carter today. Yes, he is as smart as they think he is. He knows all the capitals of Europe and all 50 states w/capitals, the bones of the body, counting in German, and is learning the capitals of Asia. Oh, did I mention he's just 2 1/2 !!! Tomorrow I'll hand out scripts of the O.T. in 20 Minutes to those students who are interested in presenting the play. Looks like I won't have much free time. However, I will make it to Schaffhausen for some shopping.

Hi Cindy, Thanks for the pics and keeping us informed of your adventure! I am a little jealous! It sounds like the perfect teaching schedule - We also have nice weather here - in the 60s with a grey sky. As you said, no mountains in the distance! Your room looks very comfortable. God bless all your endeavors! Judy Dunham

Tuesday, 10 Nov. - Another cloudy day - but no rain. Jet lag hit this morning when I turned off my alarm at 7:15 am and went back to sleep -- woke up at 8:48 and class begins at 9:00. I was only 5 minutes late! The students are very engaged in the class and we have great discussions. They have a lot of insights, especially into cultural communication issues. One thing I've learned is some assignments that work well in an American university context do not produce the same results in an intercultural context. I've scrapped one assignment that just does not apply to these students (they were happy about that). After the long plane trip and a couple of days of teaching/sitting, I took a long walk into Schaffhausen and back. Only about 10 km. The town is very scenic and fun to explore. I'm having breakfast with the rector, Klaus Arnold and wife tomorrow before chapel. Then a full day of class, a rehearsal with the cast of the play, and a study session for the first exam. I think I'm working way too hard over here!

Wednesday, 11 Nov- This morning I was invited to a traditional German breakfast at the Arnold's apartment. Sliced meats, cheese, scrambled eggs, bacon, various types of rolls/breads, Nutella, peanut butter, jelly, and Muesli (a combination of grains, fruits, milk and yogurt that sits overnight to blend the flavors). Delicious! After that, chapel with a moving demonstration of Jesus the servant, washing the disciple's feet. The speaker was from Costa Rica and brought out a new interpretation of fasting: Sacrificing yourself in the service of others. Not just giving up food -- but giving up your time, money, and personal comfort to serve the lowest of the low. He pointed out the danger of becoming a servant-leader. Often the leader begins to expect others to serve him/her.

The sun came out for a while this afternoon and I could see how nice Busingen could be in the spring/summer. Guess I'll have to come back another time to experience the flowers, river cruises, and mountain hikes. My students are preparing for the first exam and are nervous about the expectations of taking an exam in English over content to which they haven't had much exposure. I tried to reassure them that the purpose isn't to trick them with weird English phrases or American slang. My favorite part of the school day are the coffee breaks. Everything stops from 10:00-10:25 am and we all gather in the dining room for coffee, tea, cakes, cookies or fruit. It is a great time of fellowship and a forced slowing down of the day's activities. If I could figure out a way to institute coffee breaks at 10 am in all the classroom buildings at MNU -- I 'd do it. There is no set time for the afternoon break - but the coffee, tea, and cookies are out when you can stop by. These are pictures of this morning's break time.

.EuNC_Coffee_Break_004.jpgEuNC students (MNU student Adam Waite in middle)

Regan Spindle Veach and Carter

EuNC_Coffee_Break_001.jpgThe dining room/coffee break area



L. - R. Michelle Satterlee (MNU alum), Ute (building manager), Shahade Twal (former MNU student), Rod Green (missionary from Jordan, also teaching a short term class), EuNC students, Klaus Arnold (Rector of EuNC)

Friday, 13 Nov. - So far, nothing has happened that resembles the superstition of Friday the 13th. It's been a more relaxing day, since they don't schedule classes on Friday afternoons. Students are often traveling or doing outside work. The sun was out most of the day - unusual and welcome! I'm going to Basel tomorrow with Regan and a couple of other girls to see the matinee performance of the 50th Anniversary World Tour of West Side Story. Chad Hilligus, Olivet grad and Olathe kid is playing the lead of Tony. We're excited, since he got tickets for us and I think they are great seats. We'll hang around after to say hello to him and then have dinner in Basel. This is a picture of my class, with Shahade getting in on the act (right side).


Saturday/Sunday, 14/15 Nov. Four women, out driving on unfamiliar roads, through detours, backtracking when we got lost, missing the town where the train departed for Basel -- still made it to West Side Story during the overture! It was a fun trip through the countryside and small towns looking at the beautiful scenery and laughing at our poor map reading. Regan Veach and two recent PLNU grads who work in the European Nazarene Regional Office went with me to the musical. The show was awesome. The only production given permission by the Bernstein copyright to perform the original version w/ the choreography. It was a very talented, professional cast and orchestra. We enjoyed watching the "hometown boy" perform the lead of Tony. If you want to sample his vocal talent, go to this link and select a song on the right side of the screen There are some awesome Christian songs as well as songs from various musicals.

After the show, he went with us for coffee and sandwiches and two + hours of conversation. He misses the opportunity to speak freely about his relationship with the Lord. Many in the cast reject his spirituality and interest in God. His goal is to "just love them". That should be my daily goal in every interaction. Pictures below.

Chad on the set
Regan, Me, Chad
Regan, Simone, Chad

Today, church was very full of God's spirit. Shahade Twal, MNU grad, preached on the grace that protects us before we come to know the Lord and used his life experiences as examples. God was working to bring him out of extreme rebellion, prison, and probably early death.
Took a long walk up to the forest and down to the river. A few pictures of my "journey". Tomorrow, back to class and a very full week before concluding the course.

Rhinefalls at night
Nice horsey
Peaceful pasture
House windows (typical)
Swan on the river

Wednesday, 18 Nov. - This week is going quickly -- only two more class days and then back to Olathe. It's been a busy three days with class, exam, grading, keeping up with MNU classes on line, bike riding, and a couple of special dinner invitations. Tonight was girl's cheeseburger night at Regan and Josh Veach's apt. All the females on campus got together and Judy Madtes (a visiting prof. from MVNC) made the burgers.


Enjoyed a new experience this afternoon. The Nazarene Church in Busengin sponsors 3 afternoons of making candles in the Lutheran Church. You pay by the grams of beeswax. I started 7 candles today and will finish/decorate them tomorrow. It's a fun way to interact with some members of the community - those that speak English! And make some special gifts. Must go now and grade papers (something that doesn't change with cultures)

Fellow candle makers

Friday, 20 Nov. - It's my last day/night here at EuNC. I spent the day saying goodbye to students (after giving an exam!), enjoying my last family style home cooked dinner in the dining hall, having an outcomes assessment meeting with the dean -- you can't escape it -- finishing my candles, shopping in Schaffhausen, supper in a small, quaint restaurant, a walk back along the foggy Rhine, a student fellowship time watching funny YouTube videos, and last but not least -- a Skype meeting with the MNU AAC committee. Now I'm packing and hope to sleep a little before leaving at 7 am for the Zurich airport. It's been a wonderful experience and I encourage other faculty members to consider if this is something you could work into your teaching schedule. See you Monday at faculty meeting.