The End of the First Academic Year, 2016–2017

A couple of months ago, I wrote a bit about my experience studying at the Evangelical Theological Faculty (“ETF”). Now the academic year 2016-2017 has officially ended, and all there is left to do is a bit of reflection, about living in Leuven from August 2016.

Home to 100 000 people and to several universities and colleges, Leuven is known for its historic city centre and breweries (e.g Stella Artois).

The ETF is located in one of the suburbs of Leuven, named Heverlee. The complex used to be a Jesuit Seminary until the ETF moved there in 1975. Part of the seminary-building at the back is currently owned by KU Leuven, as a dormcomplex, while the front part functions as the dormcomplex and chapel for the ETF. The building in front is the academic building.

Now, to tell a bit about my life in Leuven, I stay alone in a dorm at the university campus. Living at the campus has allowed me to connect with other students, and become part of a community of great people. Just taking a break from studying and connect, provides some much-needed relaxation. Having dinner in a voluntary cooking group is a handy advantage, and keeps you connected. I joined a vegetarian cooking group (however unprincipled), which has been a great challenge of my creativity.

In the past academic year, I have also been elected Quaestor of ETF student association Per Aspera Ad Perfectiora for the commencing academic year. Moreover, I am now officially an assistant at the library, which I am extremely excited about.

The new academic year has already begun on September 25th, also welcoming new bachelor and master students to the faculty. These new folks have already been a great addition to the community here. I had the privilege of organising the traditional Novice Weekend, for the new students joined by mostly fellow sophomores.

Thanks for reading, and I hope to tell you more about my plans for the future year soon.

Advertisements

Studying in Leuven

This September I started studying theology at the Evangelical Theological Faculty in Leuven, Belgium. I’ve gained lots of new experiences and befriended many good people!

I’m studying the the Old and New Testament (of the Bible–surprise!), the languages of the text (Greek and Hebrew), systematic theology (the logic of it all), other religions (religious studies), how to do research, and a couple of other subjects. All very interesting though, in their own special way… The languages Greek and Hebrew are my favourite so far. It’s been a struggle to keep up but it’s been great to conquer more and more complex vocabulary and grammar. It’s a work-in-progress!

It’s been a challenge to adapt to the varying ways of teaching of the professors and tutors. Clarity is extremely important to me, and I struggled to find it in a couple of subjects during these past time. Time-management has been another issue which I have had to deal with. I just need to focus on my goals, so I’ll finish well! But, if you’re studying, or still are, you perhaps know that this can be easier said than done. Next January 2017, I’m writing a whole lot of exams, so I need to schedule my time well! Thank God, I’m finding better ways to balance studying and relaxing, and getting more disciplined.

Throughout this time, my mentor has been very supportive in conquering these challenges. I just need to chill, and get my act together! I hope for the remainder 2016, I’ll continue to push hard, not give up, and end the year well!

PS I’m planning to write more blogs on a regular basis in the future. I hope it’s interesting to you.

 

 

Graduation—The End of a Great Year

Half-way during the year I wrote a blog concerning VGY in general. Now it is about half a year later, and this is the sequel. The year has passed quicklier than I had imagined, it passed by too fast. Many good things
have come out of this year. When I wrote my preceding blog-item, I could not have imagined how the rest of the year would be.

I have been shaped in my character greatly. God has given me more confidence to stand up for justice, more security to stand firm, more courage to speak up in silence,  more truth to live in freedom, more victory to live life!

I have been surrounded by wisdom, from people who have lived life and want carry their experience over to the younger generation. These men and women have taught me and the other students what makes us who we are and how we can draw our security from being a son of God. From this security 10629324_954106431272655_5908376142181029315_oflow our actions. We are not what we do, rather, we do according to our identity. When you realise what identity you have, you will act upon that. Once you fully realise that you are a son of God, then there is no space for hate and death because you realise that God as a father has given us guidelines for our benefit. God has not given these to hurt us but for us to prosper. I believe this is an ongoing process of further realising this truth from one area in your life to another. This also makes us immovable in difficult circumstances, when life doesn’t go our way.

I have been very blessed this year. And I believe that VGY has been of a significant effect in my life.

Victory Gap Year

This year in January I have started the Victory Gap Year (VGY) in Jeffrey’s Bay. VGY is more than a year of procrastination, it is a year in which youth gets equipped, empowered and sent out to advance the Kingdom of God. Victory Gap Year has started as an initiative of Victory Christian Church and has since then grown to be a gap year that has influenced many lives forever. There are in total 5 schools: Leadership Academy, Media Academy, Ocean Masters, Surf Masters and Worship Academy. I study at the one named last.

VGY Core – LECTURES

VGY core contain all the lectures and activities that all schools take part in. The lectures are to lay a Biblical foundation in one’s life. Some of these lectures also include after-care in small groups to talk about what they have experienced and learned, and to deal with issues. The house-leaders play a significant role in this. I can talk freely to the house-leaders about issues that bother me, they are trust-worthy. I have so far attended lectures including: Spirit, Soul and Body; Hebrew 6 Foundations; Ancient Paths; and Purpose and Destiny. Hebrew 6 Foundations deals with the basics of our beliefs, this confronted me with, what do I believe and why? Ancient Paths has taught me many principles concerning blessing and curse, concerning family. Purpose and Destiny provided me with insight to what God has destined me for.

VGY Core Activities

One of the most extreme activities is orientation. Orientation is a mix between major physical and mental challenge, to push us beyond our-thought abilities, and experience that we can do more than we thought we could. It taught me to push through and to obey accurately.

The weekly Church services of VCC with teachings of mainly Ps. Louis Els and Ps. Andre van Mollendorf. The morning service is for general visit, where-as the evening service is especially for youth but open to anyone. Both equally challenge me to move forward, and change further to become more like Jesus and to become more intimate with God, my heavenly father. These teachings have been a significant part my year so far, and it is only April!

In the upcoming month, all students are going on a National outreach to different areas of South Africa. I am thrilled to see what it is like to be on the other side. For the previous two years I was the one listening to the testimonies which encouraged me to go. I am certain that God will do astonishing things in people’s lives, including our own.

Other activities include: Poverty Week, Solitude Week, Community Projects, Church Involvement, Family Days, and the Graduation Ceremony.

Victory Gap Year has been a great journey so far!
This is the first article in a series about Victory Gap Year.

My time in the Netherlands

I haven’t been blogging for a while but it has been amazing in the Netherlands. Starting off in the first week of December with some snow, but there hasn’t been anything ever since. I had hoped for a white Christmas but it didn’t happen, like in most of the countries around the Netherlands. We have visited most of our family and friends but I haven’t met up with a lot of friends yet except for new years eve. It has been nice to have a Dutch new years eve again, with all the fireworks and Dutch donuts called “oliebollen”. I also sold them with my dad at the local supermarket that my father used to manage.

©© me
Selling oliebollen with my father

I’ll go to school in the Netherlands for one day only to meet up with schoolmates, i’m sure it’s gonna be fun. And i’m planning on visiting my other schools for a short time.

I will make South Africa unsafe again from 17 January. So you better watch out…

Since recently I have a tumblr and about.me pages.

©©  flickr.com/photos/orangesplaash/
Oliebol

My time in the Netherlands

I haven’t been blogging for a while but it has been amazing in the Netherlands. Starting off in the first week of December with some snow, but there hasn’t been anything ever since. I had hoped for a white Christmas but it didn’t happen, like in most of the countries around the Netherlands. We have visited most of our family and friends but I haven’t met up with a lot of friends yet except for new years eve. It has been nice to have a Dutch new years eve again, with all the fireworks and Dutch donuts called “oliebollen”. I also sold them with my dad at the local supermarket that my father used to manage.

©© me
Selling oliebollen with my father

I’ll go to school in the Netherlands for one day only to meet up with schoolmates, i’m sure it’s gonna be fun. And i’m planning on visiting my other schools for a short time.

I will make South Africa unsafe again from 17 January. So you better watch out…

Since recently I have a tumblr and about.me pages.

©©  flickr.com/photos/orangesplaash/
Oliebol

My experience with my South-African public school.

You might have heard me rant about the school system here in South-Africa. And honestly I cannot say anything else. The self-discipline or independence simply don’t exist. Students are taught as a robots where you put information in without teaching them why or how to deal with the information. Students are not taught to deal with, for example, poetry but simply get a paper where everything is already on, or it is on a projection screen.

Biology is not different at all, all information is just poured into the student’s mind. Instead of teaching how to make summaries and comprehend the text in a textbook they just say: “hi, this information is in the curriculum, study it without using your brain”. I  have experienced Science as one of the subject that is completely different from this. That would make sense since most of the independent thinkers of the grade take Physics. The others simply can’t handle it that they even have to think about the things they are studying. So science people, thumbs up!

This leads to a lack of independence of learners which they will definitely need in life later on (maybe that is why the government is not functioning correctly?!). They try to teach values in the form of ‘Life Orientation’. This is really a useless subject since it is taught over and over again. It should not be a single subject but spread over all the subjects, guys please these are values!

I know that I am not the only one who thinks like this, a few teachers and learners share this with me and it is time to do something about it! This will certainly not be my last post on this matter, surely not because I think the learners get a fake image of how the world works and do not learn how to be independent! I have seen that students do not think further than now. For example, I am not trying to be offensive, but if you go to a ‘only Afrikaans’ it is simply not that smart. I think that it is much better to be getting taught in both Afrikaans and English so you are not limited to a small vocabulary when you are going international.