About CCCE


In 2010 a Cross-Cultural Engagement Task Force was charged with exploring the question, "How can we move toward the day where it is essentially impossible for a student to graduate from Biola University without having engaged in a significant cross-cultural experience?" One of the most important factors in addressing this question involved the development of an infrastructure to support a curricular approach for Biola students to have a significant cross-cultural experience. The development of the infrastructure and curricular approach would address two of the seven University aspirations:

  • Cultivate competent and courageous graduates
  • Build a cross-cultural Christian community

A Vice Provost for Multi-Ethnic and Cross-Cultural Engagement (VPMECCE) was hired to begin the initial process of development of an infrastructure. In order to gain a comprehensive understanding of the current cross-cultural educational (domestic and international) experience at Biola, multiple meetings were held with key stakeholders across campus.

Faculty members, student development staff, student and parent representatives as well as an outside consultant collaborated as a think tank to develop elements of Biola's cross-cultural engagement desires and needs. The university also became a member of a national and regional organization that provides academic resources for schools desiring to engage cross-culturally through the approach of community-based or academic service learning both locally and globally.

In fall 2012 the Center for Cross-Cultural Engagement was actualized. Located within the Mosaic Cultural Center, CCCE is the hub for local and global cross-cultural engagement. CCCE encompasses the following: Faculty Fellows Engaging Community (FFEC), Study Abroad and Study USA, Faculty Study Tours and the Biola Student Exchange Program.

Therefore, it is in a spirit of courage and conviction that the Center for Cross-Cultural Engagement continues to move forward to strengthen and sustain a campus community to further impact the world for the Lord Jesus Christ.


Why Is It Important?

Why do we think this is important?

It is a major aspiration of Biola to prepare our students to be intellectually and experientially cross-cultural Christians, effectively able to live out the gospel in diverse settings and provide servant leadership across the world.

Off-campus study offers a unique opportunity for students to make the world their classroom, going beyond the confines of the traditional classroom experience. Spending an extended period of time (like a semester) doing meaningful work in a different place with different people can begin to provide the skills, knowledge, and attitudes needed to cross cultural boundaries.

This world is changing at a dizzying pace, and that may tempt you to stay close to home, close to what is familiar. But the Kingdom of God is worldwide, a dazzling kaleidoscope of colors, flavors, and languages pulsing with the same Spirit who lives in you. Our mission has never been to prepare you for a safe life in your corner of the suburbs; Biola's mission, from Day One, has been to equip you to "impact the world."

So why should you think it's important?

You came to Biola to grow and to be equipped; this is a great opportunity to do both of those things. An off-campus study program can offer you:

  • Learning from a different perspective
  • A new focus on your program of study, or even a career you'd have never thought of
  • A chance to meet new people in new places, and maybe make lifetime friends
  • Practical application of concepts and theories you've learned in class
  • Increased understanding of our own society and our place in the world
  • Greater intercultural skills and awareness of cultural differences
  • Improved foreign language fluency
  • A new level of independence and confidence
  • Experience and capacities that enhance future employment opportunities

Should I Go?

When should you start thinking about this? As soon as Welcome Week ends, we encourage you to begin thinking about off-campus study.

At this early stage, we encourage you to think broadly about the range of countries and areas of study open to them. It is important to consider Programs that allow for the maximum room for professional, academic, and personal growth, including those in less traditional locations. Remain open and flexible in considering all your options.

What are those options? Studying off-campus can take many forms: a traditional semester or year, or a summer term, or a study tour with faculty are all possibilities. Meet (sooner rather than later!) with your academic advisor to see how you can fit off-campus study into your four-year academic plan.

For semester and academic-year programs, you may choose a Biola program, a CCCU/BestSemester program or an approved affiliated program. However, you may only apply to one program. If you wish to apply for a different Program, you must first withdraw one application before proceeding with the new first choice Program. Additionally, we cannot guarantee that you will be approved for your first choice.. If you are in good standing and have the requisite GPA, however, we can work to find an alternative program.

How soon do I need to decide? A good decision takes good planning, and we encourage you to begin planning early. You should note that the application process for junior year off-campus study begins during the sophomore year.


Which Program Should I Choose?

Studying off-campus is a big change from life at Biola! Students learn new things about the world and about themselves by studying, volunteering, conducting research, and/or interning in another country. Many students say studying off-campus was one of their defining experiences at Biola...even life-changing!

It's a big decision with lots of factors, and we at the CCCE hope the material on this site encourages you to think carefully and intentionally about your choice. But while the CCCE is here to help, please keep in mind that the decision process is ultimately your responsibility -- it's on you to research Program options, to turn in your pre-registration materials on time, to keep in contact with the CCCE, and ultimately, to make your own experience meaningful. No one else can do that for you!

Find a Good Fit For You!

Choose your Program for the reasons that make the most sense for you:

  • Location: Each has pros and cons. If you do not like living in a big city, consider locations that may not be quite as urban. If you want to immerse yourself in the local culture, choose a less popular location where fewer American students go.
  • Academics are the main component of your time abroad, of course, and it is important that you choose a Program that will best complement your Biola major. Each Program has different curriculum available. You should also know that other countries have different academic cultures and different classroom styles.
  • It might seem less stressful to stay close to other students from Biola or other US college students that you meet on your Program. However, off-campus study is about pushing yourself outside of your bubble; don't go thousands of miles away to have the same life you have here! Meeting students from other cultures is part of the unique experience of spending time in another country!
  • Don't be a tourist! Remember, you're there to study and to become immersed in another culture. It's certainly tempting to want to travel at every opportunity, but don't come back with an experience that's a mile wide but an inch deep. When you select a Program, we recommend that you focus less on whether it is a convenient "jumping-off point" for travel to other locations, and instead make sure it is a place where you will truly enjoy living and immersing yourself in both your study and in local culture.

So Now What?

With all of this in mind, the prospect of off-campus study can make you feel both excited and anxious. Selecting a program may seem overwhelming! However, don't get hung up trying to find an absolutely perfect Program; there is probably more than one that will fit your academic goals, personal needs, and interests just fine. Begin by determining your goals for wanting to study off-campus, and we at the CCCE can help you find a Program that will help you achieve them.


How Should I Prepare?

There are many things to take into consideration before starting your study abroad journey — and the questions below can give you a head start! You don't need to have all the answers yet, but these are things you should definitely be thinking about.

Academic Goals:

  • What graduation requirements do you need to fulfill?
  • Will you need to take major-subject courses or do you have flexibility for electives in other subjects?
  • Do you want to improve your foreign language skills? Learn a new language?
  • Do you want to study, intern/volunteer, or conduct research (or all three) while abroad?
  • Do you want to build your resume for graduate school?
  • Do you want to improve your professional skill set?

Personal Goals:

  • Why do you want to go abroad? Why is it important to you?
  • What changes do you hope to see in yourself during/after the experience?
  • Have you had significant experiences with diversity? Are you willing to push your comfort zone in living, studying, and/or working with different groups of people?
  • What challenges do you expect to face? What resources can you seek out to help you overcome them?
  • What do you hope to learn about yourself, others, and the world?
  • Do you want to travel while abroad?
  • Do you want to immerse yourself in another culture?
  • Do you want to explore your family’s heritage?


  • For how long do you want to be off-campus?
  • What countries or cities are of interest to you?
  • Do you prefer a big city, a smaller town, or something in between?
  • Are you interested in a particular culture?
  • Would you prefer a Program with a lot of on-site support or one that requires more independence?

Host Institution:

  • What size school would you prefer?
  • Would you prefer to live on-campus, off-campus, or with a host family?
  • What international student services does the host institution provide?
  • Are there student activities, clubs, or sports that interest you?


  • What is included in the Program cost?
  • What extra expenses will you incur that are not included in the Program cost?
  • Are you eligible for any scholarships?
  • Do you receive Biola financial aid? And if so, do you need to choose a Program that is eligible for aid, or will permit you to carry-over aid?
  • What is the dollar currently worth in the host country?
These questions courtesy of the Boston College Office of International Programs.