“I’ve learned so much more about things I never even thought about at home, things I never thought existed to know. It really has broadened my view.”
Sarah Regan, junior
Central Europe, 2016
Your College Cross-Cultural Experience
- semester abroad
- Washington, D.C., internship program in EMU-owned group house
- three or six-week summer experiences in North America and internationally
Check out seven fantastic reasons to take part in EMU cross-cultural study!
Drink in knowledge at its source
Imagine reading the Bible along the Sea of Galilee. Or discussing Eastern European history while honing digital photography skills in Lithuania. Or doing research at the National Institutes of Health in DC…
As an EMU cross-cultural student you will reflect, discuss, journal and process your experience as a group, led by faculty mentors who have lived in the region previously. If overseas, your group will be linked with local partners, live with host families for at least part of the time, and absorb local culture well beyond the usual tourist sites.
Our well-known program – which has been part of the core required curriculum for more than 30 years – is one of the strongest cross-cultural study programs in the country.
Go global, or stay in North America
Cross-cultural study is cherished by the alumni of EMU. Since the “cross-cultural” is a requirement for earning a bachelor’s degree at EMU, it has become a common experience that distinguishes EMU grads and makes them particularly proud of their time at EMU. Most students decide to become immersed in another culture for a whole semester, usually in Africa, Asia, Latin America or the Middle East.
A three-week summer cross-cultural can be an incredibly transformative experience. We still encourage most students to do a full semester overseas in another culture, but a summer program can truly begin your journey into cross-cultural understanding.
what alumni say
“When you go through challenges, it makes you stronger,” says EMU alumnus Ben Bolanos during a cross-cultural reunion in 2014. A classmate added that their unforgettable experience “still permeates my life 20 years later.”
But some students opt for a three-week summer experience exploring places like Quebec, Eastern Europe, or the U.S.-Mexico border region. Others live and learn in North America, often based at EMU’s Washington (D.C.) Community Scholars’ Center, our thriving internship program.
Enlarge your perspective
Cross-culturals are more than study abroad. Graduates call the experiences “life-changing,” giving them the foundation they need to live, lead and serve in a global context.
Through immersing yourself in another culture, you gain a unique chance to reflect on what you believe, and why. Many grads report that the experience enhanced their faith journey and deepened their values, while instilling respect for people different from themselves.
Typically students spend part of their cross-cultural living with local families. You could stay in a mud-brick dwelling, a multi-story apartment building, or a carefully patched shack. Whatever your location, you’re likely to develop a caring relationship with your host “parents,” “sisters” and “brothers,” who provide companionship, insight and support in language learning.
Learn from professors who are mentors
Join the Cross-Cultural Top Ten Survey – Tell us your top reasons to participate in an EMU Cross-Cultural!
Faculty and staff members who have lived internationally for years lead the groups and routinely go off the beaten path for a journey like no other. They travel with their families, and offer caring guidance as well as challenging studies.
An EMU cross-cultural experience will open your eyes and heart while giving you skills and knowledge for successfully navigating our complex world.
The world as classroom: Faculty-staff panel discusses past, present and future of EMU’s unique cross-cultural programAugust 21st, 2017
Professor Kim Brenneman calls the cross-cultural experience “the ultimate classroom.” Most Eastern Mennonite University alumni who have participated in the program agree. Each semester and summer, EMU students spread out … read more
‘Expanding the Legacy, Enlarging the Tent’: Annual faculty-staff conference draws community to Centennial themesAugust 17th, 2017
Eastern Mennonite University faculty and staff dipped their hands into bowls of water as they received a blessing on their work for the coming year. The sacred ritual concluded the … read more