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International Summer and Winter University

Aliosha Bielenberg shares his impressions from FUBiS Winter Term I 2021.

Jun 15, 2021

Aliosha Bielenberg, participant of FUBiS Winter Term 2021

Aliosha Bielenberg, participant of FUBiS Winter Term 2021
Image Credit: private

Aliosha Bielenberg from Cyprus was one of the participants of FUBiS Winter Term I 2021 in January and gained insight into German Philosophy. The 22-year old graduated from Brown University in Archeology and Philosophy last year and is now working as a research assistant at The Science and Technology in Archaeology and Culture Research Center of The Cyprus Institute. He was keen to participate in the FUBiS subject course „German Philosophy – From Kant to Habermas“ which was thaught by Hon.-Prof. Dr. Frieder Otto Wolf and wanted to do something that matched his personal interest and would at the same time further his future academic development during lockdown. “So I basically asked my parents to pay for the course as my Birthday and Christmas gift”.

And he did not regret his wish: As Prof. Wolf has a lifetime of experience with German philosophy on a personal level, the course was a great opportunity to dive deep. Through lectures, discussions and presentations, it all balanced out very well, according to Aliosha. However, as fantastic as the course was, he has to admit that it was also very intense, which resulted in a couple of people dropping out. He nevertheless describes some of the discussions as being very interesting because of the diversity of people with different backgrounds zooming in from China, Hongkong, Australia, UK and many other places. “I remember we were reading Marx and it was so interesting to hear from the Chinese students how they approach Marx.” He really appreciated how FUBiS allowed those international cross-cultural exchanges to take place.

His most memorable moment of his FUBiS experience was reading Hegel. Reading the preface to the Phenomenology of Spirit, Prof. Wolf took the course through it, section by section, and Aliosha found himself understanding what it was about. He was very happy that he was able to approach these important texts he’d heard so much about.

Regarding taking the whole course online, Aliosha says it was, of course, an experience on a purely academic level and that not all the other aspects of a real (not online) summer or winter school were represented. In the end, as difficult as doing such a course online can be, it also has positive sides, says Aliosha. He would have loved to go to Berlin but maybe he would not have been able to because of his job.

His time at FUBiS had a very big impact on Aliosha’s decisions. He decided that before doing a PhD in the US, he is going to do a Master’s in Philosophy in Europe as the conception of Philosophy by Prof. Wolf thrilled him, realizing the difference to anglo-american philosophy departments back in the US. Taking the course “was the single most perfect and amazing academic experience since I graduated from university last year,” and it was very helpful in terms of his larger academic interest and goals.

FUBiS is an intensive academic program of Freie Universität Berlin through which students can earn credits that may be counted towards their degrees at their home institutions. Every year FUBiS offers more than 60 courses - both subject and German classes. Among others, the Course “German Philosophy” can be chosen for the FUBiS Term III. Registration is open until June 19, 2021.