If you’re a Goshen College student, you’ll find that “global awareness” isn’t a course you take, or a club you join. It’s how you live. Since 1968, we’ve sent more than 7,700 students to learn and serve in 24 countries worldwide through our nationally recognized Study-Service Term program, which about 80% of students participate in. And that focus on international and intercultural understandings then shapes the rest of your Goshen College experience, and probably your life as you prepare to live, serve and work in our complex and deeply interconnected world.

“Study abroad” too often means going somewhere like Paris or Rome. But we take a different approach: a semester-long program that sends students not to European capitals, but to developing countries. We emphasize service to a local community — and total cultural immersion. On SST, you’re less likely to stay in a hotel or a residence hall. In all countries, students live with local families and experience day-to-day life in the most personal way possible.

Check out this video about our transformative study abroad program.


SST is a 13-week program that’s divided into two distinct parts. During the first half of the journey, you’ll dive headfirst into the local culture — usually in the country’s capital city — with intensive study and language instruction alongside other Goshen College students (and the support of group leaders who are usually a professor and his/her spouse). Most students stay with local families who eagerly share their homes along with delicious meals and unforgettable stories.

For the second leg of the journey, you and your GC classmates will spread out, usually moving to a more remote, rural area. Here you’ll meet your second host family and begin work on a volunteer service project (sometimes relating to your major). You might live with indigenous peoples in the Amazon, lend a hand through sign language in Peru or learn how eco-tourism is affecting everyday life in Tanzania.


Expect to be transformed. Often our SSTers say that their hosts give them far more than they feel they are offering in return – through kindness, acceptance, laughter and generosity.

SST also provides a unique opportunity to grow spiritually by building meaningful relationships with people who are different than you, responding through service to the great needs of the world and being pushed beyond your comfort zone to ask meaningful questions that might change your life forever. Through the successes and the challenges on SST, you will grow as a person and discover new insights into God’s presence in the world.