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Naoyuki TONO FS2015-16, The University of Tokyo | to Germany

I would like to express my deep appreciation to Victor and William Fung Foundation for the scholarship.

Thanks to the scholarship, I studied theology for one academic year at Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich. Since I want to be a researcher of New Testament in the future, it was a great opportunity to study in Germany, where are a lot of well-known researchers in this field.


First, I focused on learning German language. It was because the German capacity is necessary to conduct research in this field. At first, it was hard for me to speak up in class, but little by little, I got used to speak in German and I made presentation for several times in front of the class. My German capacity has been developed from level B1 (intermediate) to C1 (effective operational proficiency).

Then, I started learning Ancient Hebrew, with which the Old Testament is written. Although my research focus is on New Testament, the Hebrew language capacity is essential to understand its background. I was a complete beginner of Hebrew, but after taking two-hour class every day, from Monday to Friday, I learned to translate complex phrases from Hebrew to German. I studied very hard to catch up with other German students and, at the end of the semester, I got the best grade (“sehr gut”) in the class.


Also, I completed 800 kilometers of the St. Jacobs Way on foot during the holidays. It is one of world most famous pilgrims’ way from the medieval times. I started at French village, walked every day for thirty-one days and finally got to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. It was an impressive experience encountering many people from many different countries; I came to understand their history, culture and value. Since the pilgrims’ way was quite tough, the pilgrims needed to help each other and I learned that, despite linguistic and cultural barriers, it was very important to care for the others, think of what the others feel.


Next year, I will write my graduation thesis in German. I believe my one-year study in Germany will help me a lot in this work, especially in reading the preceding studies in German. In the thesis, I would focus on some part of the Synoptic Gospels, comparing the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. And after my graduation, I would like to continue my PhD studies again in Germany.


I would like to thank Victor and William Fung Foundation once again for supporting my study in Germany.