Off-Campus Programs/International Studies
Why study abroad?
- Is a once in a lifetime opportunity available to you now. There is no better way to expand your awareness than to live in, study, and experience another country and culture firsthand. Take advantage of this opportunity, it may not be possible later in life when there are additional responsibilities.
- Allows you to learn more about yourself. By leaving your “comfort zone” and the things that are familiar, you begin a journey of self-discovery, where you are challenged and given the chance to determine your personal limits, strengths, and weaknesses.
- Gives you practical, first-hand experiences. It is one thing to read about your topic of interest in a book, a whole other level of learning occurs when you can actually taste, see, touch, hear, and smell the things that give life to your studies!
- Allows you to see God at work in other countries through the church, mission organizations, and fellow believers. As you learn more about God’s creation, you’ll be better prepared to serve others wherever God may lead you.
- Enhances your employment perspectives. In the increasingly interconnected world, employers will value international experience more than ever.
Where can I go on a study abroad program?
Semester study abroad programs are offered through:
Bethel: In England, Europe, Guatemala, New York, South Africa, and Spain
Bethel-Affiliated: In Uganda, Lithuania, India, Costa Rica, and many more countries.
Non-Affiliated: In France, Chile, Italy, New Zealand, Tanzania, Argentina, and many more.
Remember, these are just some of the countries in which programs are offered.
How do I apply? How can I get more information?
There are several ways to learn more about this:
- Stop by the Office of Off-Campus Programs/International Studies in CC320A to speak with a study abroad advisor.
- Take a look at the programs listed on this website!
Is studying abroad expensive? What does it cost?
Many programs cost the same as a semester at Bethel. This cost typically includes tuition, room & board, and in-country travel. Cost varies among the different programs and a study abroad advisor will help you find a program that works for you! There are several scholarships available through various organizations. Consider studying abroad as an affordable way to earn credit, and an opportunity to see the world.
Can I use financial aid?
Yes and no. Financial aid applies toward one semester of off-campus study during your four years at Bethel, including institutional aid and federal and state aid. Institutional aid does NOT apply to a second off-campus semester or any short-term programs like summer or interim. Work-study does not apply to study abroad.
What kinds of scholarships are available?
There are several scholarships available through various organizations. Many of them require a GPA of 3.0 or above, while others are more specifically related to certain fields of study. Requirements for different scholarships vary, so stop by the Office of Off-Campus Programs/International Studies for more details.
Can I get my credits transferred?
Yes. This really depends on the program, but students typically earn between 12-18 transferable credits.
Will studying abroad keep me from graduating on time?
It is possible for most students to study abroad and graduate on time. Check with your academic advisor or study abroad advisor to plan your off-campus study experience.
Can I study abroad if I am a first-year student?
Semester programs require students to be at least 18 years old and have 30 credits to study abroad. Therefore, most students study abroad during their sophomore or junior years for a semester. Programs offered during January term are open to first year students provided they are in good academic standing.
Can I go abroad in my senior year?
While this is possible, upperclassmen are required to meet residency requirements, which often narrows their options. There are some programs geared specifically toward upperclassmen. Check with a study abroad advisor for more information.
My major isn’t international. What can I study?
Off-Campus Programs/International Studies has identified programs that will work well for students in various majors. Students can also fulfill general education requirements through study abroad programs. Talk to your academic advisor early in your college career about study abroad options.
Can I still study abroad even if I don’t speak a foreign language?
Many U.S. college-sponsored programs don’t require proficiency in the language of the host country. However, be prepared and willing to learn the language while you’re there through intensive language courses and daily contact with the people.
My GPA might not be good enough. Do I have to be an ‘A’ student to study abroad?
No. Bethel requires a minimum GPA of 2.2 for Interim (January term) programs, while Bethel semester programs require a minimum GPA of 2.5. Other programs, however, have varying academic requirements, which often entail a GPA of 3.0 and above.
I have a physical/learning disability. Would I still be able to study abroad?
Yes. However, if you believe that you will need reasonable accommodations in order to participate in a Study Abroad program, please contact the Office of Off-Campus Programs/International Studies or the Director of Disability Services at Bethel, as soon as possible to discuss your needs.
Will studying abroad increase my chances of finding a job?
Yes, employers highly value international experience. Employers and graduate schools know that students who have successfully completed a study abroad program possess transnational competencies they value: International knowledge, cross-cultural sensitivity and communication skills, analytical skills, flexibility, resourcefulness, often second-language skills, and more. You will have an edge over other candidates who do not have a study abroad experience.
When should I start planning?
Start as soon as possible! Selecting the study abroad program that best fits your goals and needs may take some time. The sooner you begin exploring your options, the better. By starting early, you will also be able to easily stay on-track toward graduation.
What if I can’t go for an entire semester?
Each year, Bethel offers seven to 10, 3-credit interim courses, which are led by Bethel professors. Students of all grade levels, with a minimum GPA of 2.2, are eligible. Examples of past courses include: Greece/Turkey, Amsterdam, Ecuador, and Hong Kong. Stop by the Office of Off-Campus Programs/International Studies (CC320A) for more details.