Posts Tagged ‘CAT students’

CATs on Community

Friday, March 27th, 2009

This week’s morning prayers were led by two of our CAT students – Olha (Ukraine) and Nathanael (Belgium). They were looking at various ways we encounter God and worship him. One of the days focused on meeting God in the life of the Christian community, and also involved some responses of the fellow CAT students.

At the beginning we as CATs didn’t think about building community at all. Actually for some of us it was even a new word! But God worked in us and taught us how to be changed and shaped by living in Building G. He is changing our characters. Sometimes it is hard, but by this means he teaches us how to be flexible, sensible and humble. Here are the reflections of some CATs about what it means personally for them. (more…)

Back at IBTS

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

The academic year has resumed! Everybody’s back and studying hard (so we hope). Here’s a piece from Olha, one of the CAT students from Ukraine, reflecting on her time home for Christmas vacation and returning back to IBTS and Building G where the CATs reside.

11th of January, 06.00 in G building. I hear a loud noise. “We are the champions!” That’s the boys singing, or rather, screaming. They have just arrived. CATs are gathering after their Christmas vacation…

During my Christmas holidays in Ukraine, I have been asked a lot of questions about my study at IBTS, such as, “Are you going to be a pastor? No? So, why do you need to study theology?” Or, “Who was teaching you English? Phil and Nancy? Are they Ukrainians? Ah they aren’t – so how could you understand them if they don’t speak Ukrainian?” Or, “How is it possible to live in one building with 16 students from different countries and have friendly relationships?” After this last question I’ve realised that community life is the most important part in the CAT programme. It is hard, strange and inconvenient, but it is wonderful, unusual and fun! (more…)

The joys of parenthood (Part 1)

Friday, December 5th, 2008

Some time ago, Phil has written about his first impressions of working with CAT students. A couple of months later, Alex follows up with her Part 1. (We shall look forward to Part 2!)

CAT students entertaining other students in their living room

CAT students entertaining other students in their living room

Our CAT ‘children’ have been at IBTS for nearly a whole semester and now the time is drawing near for many of them to return to their own countries and homes for Christmas holidays. I think that the end of semester calls for some time of reflective on Phil and my roles as CAT ‘parents’. 🙂   It must be said that it has been a great first semester from our point of view. Our CATs are a wonderful group this year. In our first year here at IBTS (2006/7) we were constantly being told how great the CATs were, then last year again, the CAT group was a good group, so Phil and I were bracing ourselves for a monster of a group because three great CAT groups running seemed too good to be true! I was imagining all the personality clashes that would be going on, all the fights, all the trauma and angst that might be awaiting us… but, so far, so good! This group are the kindest to each other that we have seen in our time here, and they are not cliquey but enjoy spending time together. Many in the group are amazing at serving others, as well as contributing to wider IBTS and SVCC life.   (more…)

Congratulations Mr and Mrs Alexander. It’s the CAT Programme.

Friday, September 12th, 2008

Alex and Phil have been a part of our community for a couple of years already, with Alex graduating last May with an MTh in Applied Theology. Phil has been involved in teaching English and is also working towards an MTh in Contextual Missiology. This year, they are leading our Certificate in Applied Theology programme. Phil is reflecting on their first days with the new students:

Over the previous four months Alex and I have been happy, excited but, let’s face it, mostly terrified due to our imminent venture into the seemingly uncharted territory of parenthood. Life has become much more focussed on internet searches for the most versatile buggies (strollers) and the most eco-friendly nappies (diapers) than I ever remember it being before!

However, few prospective parents have the preparatory opportunity of developing their parenting skills by being entrusted with the welfare of sixteen students (with the possibility of two more still to arrive). But this is exactly the privilege Alex and I have been granted for this academic year. Our surrogate children have been with us for over two weeks now and are providing the kind of challenge that one would expect from a group this size with ages ranging from eighteen to thirty. Those who know IBTS will know that I am referring to the phenomenon that is the CAT Programme.

The Certificate in Applied Theology Programme lasts for one academic year and welcomes students of various ages whose first language is not English. It is IBTS’s only undergraduate study programme and the students (or CATs) who take part end up being the dominant student presence on campus throughout the year. It consists of an intensive English programme lasting until the end of the first trimester, followed (with a little overlapping) by an intensive theology programme for the second and third trimesters. For any particularly gifted CAT students, this provides an excellent platform to move on to further, post-graduate theology study at IBTS.

After two years in Prague, this is the first time Alex and I will be officially involved with the CATs as Course Leaders and, as with Alex’s pregnancy, the new-found responsibility has already had its ups and downs. Alex has taken on some of the English teaching, along with Tima and the legendary Janice Randall (more about them, or perhaps even entries by them, in future posts!) while I’ve been attending some of the Masters level courses but next week English teaching responsibility reverts to me. Perhaps actual parenthood will be relatively straightforward after this!

As the year continues, I am sure there will be a number of blog-worthy occurrences and hopefully I will have the opportunity to provide updates for you. For now I will leave you with this thought: Many of the CATs are more than capable of doing exactly what they should not and seemingly setting out to infuriate Alex and myself. However, just as with their furry namesakes, when you look into their big eyes, it’s impossible to stay mad for long!