Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A Secial Thanks to Our Friends and Partners 2012-2013

Thank you Lonnie Johnson in Vienna for guiding our Fulbright TA Recipients each year -- as well as the TAs who have joined us from Austria; Dave Lyndgaard, Provost Rita Knuesel, and Vice-Provost Joe Desjardins for supporting our new German Studies curriculum and paving the way for Fulbright TA positions at CSB/SJU. Thank you John Taylor for your work with foundations on our behalf; Tory Oelfke for finding fine living quarters for our visiting Fulbright TA/Scholars; Tom Kroll for superb management of our Salzburg Program; Nicole Clements and Peggy Retka from the Office of Education Abroad for your efforts in finalizing our new exchange program with the Catholic University of Eichstätt and for aiding in every aspect of our program at the University of Salzburg; Joe Rogers, Paula Ramaley and John Hasselberg for helping us create a vision for European and German Studies and German internships abroad; Karen Erickson, Sarah Pruett and Mary Niedenfuer for creatively and energetically leading our Languages and Cultures Department through departmental review and for guiding registration and curricular processes through the right channels; Lisa Ohm for your superb administration of the national German exam interviews for Minnesota high schools students and the awards banquet which followed; Stuart Goldschen for your astonishing photography and moral support; and thank you student leaders and language partners who created a very ambitious co-curricular program for German Studies, including a top-notch film series, Oktoberfest in the fall, Karneval just before Lent and Sustaina-Polka-bility in the spring. We couldn't do it without you!!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Interview with Chris Chambs about Study Abroad and His Career in Munich

Major: Accounting
Year of Graduation: 2001
Current Job: Senior Consultant, Financial Director for Allianz in Munich Germany

How were you introduced to the idea of working abroad? What opportunities did your work allow you to travel to another country?

In my junior year at CSB/SJU, 1999, I studied abroad on the Greco/Roman program. It spent 6+ weeks in Athens, a week in Istanbul, and 6+ weeks in Rome. Following the program, I travelled a month throughout Europe. It was an amazing experience and one of the key pieces that brought me to CSB/SJU. It allowed me to learn art and history on site and allowed me to spend Christmas in Paris, and the millennium celebration in Munich, where I just happened to return to live now. After leaving college, I worked at Deloitte & Touche, LLP in public accounting. I even explored some abroad opportunities then. I left Deloitte for Allianz Life in Minneapolis. The company's parent is Allianz SE in Munich, Germany. I spent 4+ years and always thought about the opportunity to go to Munich. A very good opportunity arose and my wife and I took it. It is at least a 2-year assignment working in the Finance function concentrating on planning and financial analysis.

You started out working for Deloitte & Touche, but then moved on to Allianz. What made you change your mind about working for this company?

Deloitte was a wonderful place for me to get my start. They brought me in after my sophomore year for a summer program and made me an offer then, so I have much to be thankful for. Further, things went extremely well for me there and I learned more than I could ever learn in any graduate school. I was learning a lot and had much success.
I never really "changed my mind." I got from Deloitte what I wanted to get from Deloitte...a great experience. I left for two reasons: (i) I wanted to work for a single company and help them be successful rather than working for 10 clients per year with minimal influence on how they do business, and (ii) personal reasons including the fact that I traveled probably a bit too much and worked perhaps too many hours. I know that I could have gone the partner route if that is what I wanted to do. I never felt that was the track that I wanted for myself from a holistic view.

How has a liberal arts education affected your career? What about the emphasis on language?

To me a liberal arts education has absolutely been key to my career. I have seen far too many cases of people that have the technical skills but lack the communication and soft skills to get by. A well-rounded person seems to be in a better spot to be successful. For instance, in public accounting, I worked with clients a great deal. The people that were able to speak and communicate with the client got noticed. The client always felt better served, which is the most important factor in client-service work, which is what public accounting is all about. The technical skills are important, but are not enough on their own. Likewise, someone in public accounting cannot just be a good communicator without solid technical skills.
Regarding language: a second language would only be helpful if the job specifically could leverage that. For instance, I never felt that I needed a second language at Deloitte or Allianz, and I include my time here in Germany. However, if you have a second language, you can seek jobs that can leverage that language. I can almost guarantee you that your odds become better as the interviewee-talent pool is smaller for a bilingual job. I would definitely recommend studying a location-specific language before moving to a place that speaks it. It just makes things far easier. Other countries may not be as accommodating to English.
I have been highly motivated since arriving to learn German. I have had about 30 private lessons and things are starting to really come together. I feel better about living here and it is a wonderful experience to learn and use another language. It is a great opportunity.
We are unfortunately deprived of this experience growing up. Language courses were not available for me until Junior High. Students here in Germany start learning English very early on. I hope that our daughter (10 months) is able to have such an opportunity to learn language as well.

What role did your major here at CSB/SJU play for your current career?

My experience with the "real world" is that you never know where you are going to end up. I started with public accounting and am far from that now. I would suggest rounding yourself out beyond just the major. Stay in close contact with the Career Resource Center and the professors in your field, because they are best positioned to answer your question specific to that major. Enjoy the liberal arts education, because I have always felt that was a key differentiator early in my career. I knew I had different skills than my colleagues from the U of M or UND, etc. And, this was to my advantage.
Overall, the job market is going to be looking for talented individuals with a business background, whether in accounting, management, or finance. Business is business. I always felt that the major was only a prerequisite. It was how I surrounded that major with experiences and stories to tell in an interview that was able to help me land the job I wanted. Grades and a major are very important as well.

How does a student start up an international career? Do you recommend going abroad right away or building experience at home?

When I started my career search at CSB/SJU, I did not look to start internationally. I think it is probably easier to do so later when the world doesn't seem quite as big, at least that is how it felt for me.  However, if you are interested, you should pursue your dreams. It may just require a bit more research, which is the key. The fun part of this is that you can look at companies, like Allianz, that are based internationally. Most large US companies (many of which are based in Minneapolis) also would have an international presence (Cargill, Carlson Companies, maybe Best Buy).
You can get a lot of info by looking at the career web pages. I have always thought this has been very insightful about how the company is organized along with what are the opportunities that are out there. You will also find that perhaps some of those opportunities are only possible after a few years experience. This info is still good in that it could tell you a lot about the company and what possibilities are available from a career path standpoint.
My experiences here have been very positive. I have been here for 7 months and have learned so much. I, personally, have really enjoyed working in finance for a company's headquarters. Before, I worked for the subsidiary company, which is obviously a very different viewpoint.

What challenges have you faced with a career abroad?

The challenges have primarily been logistical in relocating to another country. Where can we get the right baby food? Where can we find the best doctor that speaks English? What do we do if X happens? The triumphs come in figuring all these things out. Now, we are having visitors come reasonably often and it feels very good to be able to take them to less touristed spots that the locals like. We are slowly starting to feel like locals.
From a career standpoint, the triumph here is that I feel that I am making myself very marketable. International experience, whether in the form of studying abroad or working abroad, is very valuable in the market. I feel that I am getting better experience and learning more than I could ever get in any post-graduate studies.

Ed. Note: This interview can be found at http://www.csbsju.edu/Career/Students/ExploringMajors/Alum-Profiles/Chris-Chambs.htm

Monday, May 6, 2013

Andreas Kiryakakis' Translation of Der letzte Mönch von Tibhirine to be Published in November 2013

Andreas Kiryakakis has completed a translation of Der letzte Mönch von Tibhirine by Freddy Derwahl. This book recounts the same events as the award-winning film, Of Men and Gods.  Here is a description of the book from amazon.de: 

In der algerischen Wüste harrt eine kleine Schar von christlichen Mönchen im Kloster Tibhirine aus. Im durch Revolutionen aufgewühlten Nordafrika werden sie, im Spannungsfeld von Christentum und Islam, mehrfach von Rebellen bedroht. Nach intensiver Beratung beschließen die Mönche dennoch zu bleiben. Sie haben sich entschieden, für die Menschen da zu sein. Sie wollen ihre Krankenstation weiterhin öffnen, für Versöhnung eintreten und mit ihrem Leben dem christlichen Glauben Gestalt geben. Am 26. März 1996 kehren die Rebellen zurück. Sieben Mönche werden nachts entführt und später enthauptet. Die Umstände und Hintergründe der Morde sind bis heute ungeklärt. Dieses Buch erzählt das Leben von Frère Jean-Pierre Schumacher, den die Terroristen damals nicht entdecken. In seinen Erzählungen spiegelt sich, was damals wirklich geschah
Congratulations Andreas!

May 5th Sustaina-POLKA-bility Event Draws 130 Students, Faculty and Staff

  "SustainaPOLKAbility! is a community celebration of Collegeville's rich cultural and environmental heritage with live polka music and dancing, traditional German food and Catholic devotions, a beer garden, solar farm and greenhouse tours, as well as a beer brewing demonstration, local pottery sales, a lecture on Collegeville history by the SJU Archivist, Peggy Roske, and resources on sustainable living for students. The event serves as both a model and promoter of how to put on an event while using minimal resources and re-appreciating our own local identity. Long live the Polka-Revolution!
   The planners of this event are the students of the SJU Eco-Houses, in cooperation with our counterparts at CSB and the CSB/SJU German Club. See you next year!"

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Austrian Novelist and Poet Ludwig Laher Enthralls Students and Faculty

Ludwig Laher read from his book Herzfleischentartung (Heart Flesh Degeneration) on Tuesday, April 30, 2013, at 7 PM in the Gorecki Center. the following day he also met with a student-lead book discussion group and Mark Thamert's upper-division German Poetry class. Here is a description of his book from Amazon.com:
In 1940 the Nazi Storm Troopers set up a Work Education Camp in St. Pantaleon near Salzburg and then, after its overhasty closure in 1941, a Gypsy Detention Center. Hundreds of arbitrarily incarcerated prisoners are tortured there, some murdered. The Camp Doctor is the parish doctor who has been called in specially. For a long time he records some harmless cause of death or other. (The 'heart-flesh degeneration' of a gypsy woman is, however , not his invention). But one day he calls in the State Attorney's Office. The files relating to the ensuing investigation are extant and form the basis for Ludwig Laher's literary work. It makes use -- in a sometimes chilling way -- of the language and logic of the murderers, but at the same time introduces a collective narrator and lets him follow the horrific events once again from the 1940s point of view, and then again from today's viewpoint. Laher also pursues the perpetrators into the resurrected Austria, and unfolds the later court proceedings: the judges are mild; in 1955 the principal perpetrator profits from the amnesty to mark the tenth anniversary of the founding of the Second Republic. The reader, who is drawn into the midst of events, may well feel his heart miss a beat when he witnesses how quickly the incursion of bestial conditions into the every-day life of the Austrian provinces becomes normality, and how quickly everything can be forgotten.

  Special thanks to our colleague, Dr. Greg Schroeder from the History Department, who arranged Laher's visit and packed schedule!  

Wendy Sterba to Present Paper in Marburg, Germany, on June 7

German Professor Wendy Sterba will present a paper at a conference in Marburg, Germany, titled "The Corporate and the Corporeal: Min(d)ing the Body - Conscience and Consumption in Early 21st Century Hollywood Dystopia.  The theme of the conference is Imaging the End of the World.  This conference is sponsored by Philipps University, Marburg, und Central Connecticut State University.

Wendy's paper looks at films such as Batman Begins, Land of the Dead, Surrogates and Joss Whedon's films and television shows to examine the effects of new technology on the gendered body in terms of conscience and how mind as neural circuit becomes an element driving revolutionary actions to corporate co-option of the body.

Congratulations, Wendy!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Mark Thamert's Translation of Anselm Grün's Die Zeit der Erfüllung to Be Published in September 2013

Mark's first major translation project will have the title, The Time of Fulfillment: A Guide for the Advent and Christmas Seasons. The author of the original German book is Anselm Grün, a Benedictine monk of Münsterschwarzach Abbey in Germany.  Anselm Grün is one of Europe's most-read spiritual writers.  Amazon.de gives the following summary of his book:    

Adventszeit und Weihnachtsfest rühren an eine tiefe Sehnsucht nach Frieden und Versöhnung, die hinter all dem Weihnachtstrubel spürbar wird. Anselm Grün möchte uns mit diesem Buch durch die Adventswochen bis zum Weihnachtsfest begleiten. Seine einfühlsamen Texte helfen der eigenen Sehnsucht auf die Spur zu kommen. Persönliche Impulse laden zu meditativer Stille und zum Bei-Sich-Sein ein. Das Buch öffnet so unsere Augen für den tieferen Grund dieser besonderen Zeit und lässt das Wunder von Weihnachten, die Menschwerdung Gottes, in neuem Licht erstrahlen.

Mark is currently working on an English translation of Abbot Georg Holzherr's Die Benediktsregel: Eine Anleitung zu christlichem Leben, an acclaimed commentary of the Saint Benedict's Rule for Monasteries. Mark's translation will be published by Cistercian Publications in spring 2014. Georg Holzherr served as abbot of Einsiedeln Abbey in Switzerland for 32 years.  Here is Amazon's description of his book:

Seit seinem Erscheinen vor mehr als zwanzig Jahren ist der Kommentar von Abt Georg Holzherr zur Benediktsregel über den deutschsprachigen Raum hinaus maßgebend geworden. Einerseits zeichnet er sich durch die gut lesbare Übersetzung und die wissenschaftliche Genauigkeit der Erklärungen aus, andererseits wendet er sich durch seine Verständlichkeit nicht nur an Fachleute. Vielmehr wird die Lehre des heiligen Benedikt für unsere heutige Zeit zugänglich und fruchtbar gemacht. Daher befasst sich die Auslegung vorwiegend mit der Spiritualität der Regel, die über die Ordensleute hinaus wegleitend für alle Christen sein will. Für die nun vorliegende 6. Auflage wurden Einführung, lateinischer Text, Übersetzung und Kommentar gründlich überarbeitet und gegebenenfalls korrigiert. Zudem wurden neue Publikationen gesichtet und verwertet. Den Text bereichern zusätzliche Zeugnisse, nicht zuletzt über das monastische Leben von Frauen.