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:
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.
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."
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:
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.
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!
Choose your Program for the reasons that make the most sense for you:
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.
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.
These questions courtesy of the Boston College Office of International Programs.