International education


Goshen College offers several types of international education. Students can participate in our international Study-Service Term (SST) or they can take courses in the on-campus alternative program. In addition, a minor in international studies and a variety of other overseas educational opportunities are available through Goshen College or other organizations with whom we cooperate. For contacts and related information, visit the Study-Service Term website at

I. The Study-Service Term (SST)

Program description

SST is a program designed to immerse students in a culture significantly different from dominant United States culture. Its goals for each student are to grow in one’s own identity in relationship to multiple communities, to develop intercultural openness, to acquire language and cross-cultural communication skills, and to create partnerships with people across cultural boundaries to learn from one another and work toward equity.

International SST units are one-semester immersion experiences. Spanish units are offered in Central and South America. Currently, other international SST units operate in Cambodia, China, Senegal and Tanzania.

Students choose a language area and location for SST in consultation with their academic advisor. See planning and advising notes for individual majors to determine the best timing for SST. Students are urged to plan and sign up early for international SST. They may pre-register for first and second choice SST units. About half of all students participate in SST during their sophomore year. Others participate in their junior or senior year.

At each location, Goshen faculty leaders arrange the academic program and give personal counsel to a group of up to 23 students. The first six weeks of the term are spent studying the language and culture of the host country or community. The faculty leader uses local resources to support a largely experience-based learning program: host family relationships, lectures, discussion, field trips, journal writing, readings, special projects and examinations. Library resources, although somewhat limited, are available at each unit. During the last six weeks of the term, students work in a field/service-learning assignment, usually in a rural area, and complete a major project to present during the last week of the term. On SST, students live in homes of the host country throughout the term and eat at least two meals daily with their “families.”

Participation in international SST is an educational privilege for those whose recent performance suggests that they are ready for the special challenge of living and studying abroad. A screening process reviews the health and the academic and behavioral performance of all SST applicants throughout the preparation process until departure. Minimum GPA requirement is 2.0 to participate in international SST. Students must also receive a minimum of a C- in the language that is required for a particular unit. For Spanish, French and American Sign Language-speaking units, at the outset of the term prior to departure all students must either be enrolled in a 102 class, have completed a 102 level course, or have documented competency at the 102 level by exam. On location, all SSTers are expected to follow both the standards of the college and the guidelines more specific to the norms of the host culture and host family.

A student who decides not to go on SST less than six weeks prior to departure will be expected to pay all preparation costs, including the cost of an airline ticket.

A student who leaves an SST location and returns to the United States must pay all expenses associated with the return trip.

Student fees vary by unit location and from year to year. Please contact the international education office for more information.

Prerequisites for SST

Students are responsible for completing these essential prerequisites prior to SST. The director of international education must approve any exceptions

  1. Students participating in French, American Sign Language or Spanish units need to establish 102-level competency in the language of the country. At the outset of the term prior to departure, students must either be enrolled in the 102-level language course, have already completed the 102-level, or have established competency at the 102-level via exam.
  2. Students participating in any other foreign language unit will complete one elementary course in that language, offered on campus especially for that SST group prior to departure, and either 101-level competency in a third language or one course from the following list. Whenever possible, students should elect a course from the specific region of their SST unit.
Language prerequisite course options
  • Bus 350, International Business
  • Comm 206, Communication Across Cultures
  • Econ 306, International Economics
  • Econ 308, Introduction to Economic Development
  • Engl 201, World Literature
  • Engl 310, Introduction to Linguistics
  • Hist/WGS 330, Gender in World History
  • Hist 335, History of Ethnic Conflict
  • Hist 340, Religious History of Africa
  • Hist 350, African History
  • Phil 307, Asian Thought
  • PoSc 308, International Politics
  • Rel 220, World Religions
  • Rel 317, Islam
  • Soc 230, Ethnography and Culture
  • Soc 334, Race, Class and Ethnic Relations
  • Soc 340, African Societies and Cultures

SST locations for 2015-2018 (tentative)

2015-16 Fall semester Spring semester
Summer semester
2016-17 Fall semester
Spring semester
Summer semester
2017-18 Fall semester
Spring semester
Summer semester

Credit hours and evaluation for International SST

  • Foreign language 4
  • Intercultural communication 3
  • History and Culture of [country] 3
  • Arts and Literature of [country] 2
  • The Natural World of [country] 1
  • Core 305, SST Integration Capstone 1

II. On-Campus Alternative Program

While immersion in another culture through SST comes nearest to our ideal for an integrative experience in international education for most students, we provide other options to promote the same learning outcomes as SST. The on-campus program includes a serious study in cultuure, encourages an interdisciplinary service component, and invites an integrative activity to bring the various components into a meaningful whole. Students must complete three of the courses listed below and also Core 300, Global Issues Seminar. NOTE: courses designated for alternate SST may not be used to meet any other graduation requirements.

Language requirement for on-campus alternative program

Students in the on-campus alternative program complete one of four options for language acquisition other than English:

  1. Demonstrate competence at the 102 level of any world language
  2. Demonstrate competence at the 101 level of two different languages
  3. Demonstrate competence in one language at the 101 level and complete either Comm 206, Communication across Cultures or Engl 310, Linguistics (These courses may not double-count for both language acquisition and a SST alternative course.)
  4. Demonstrate that the student’s native language is not English, either via F-1 status, or via approval by the director of international education.

Competence in a language may be demonstrated by course credit, placement test, or CLEP test. See the international education director for questions about individual situations.

On-campus alternative courses

  • ASL 104, North American Deaf Culture
  • Comm 206, Communication across Cultures
  • Econ 308, Introduction to Economic Development
  • Engl 201, World Literature
  • Hist 314, Modern China
  • Hist 327, U.S. Immigration and Ethnic History
  • Hist 328, African-American History
  • Hist 340, Religious History of Africa
  • Hist 344, Latin-American History
  • Hist 350, African History
  • Intl 253, History and Culture of Latinos in the U.S.
  • Intl 257, Arts and Literature of Latinos in the U.S.
  • Phil 307, Asian Thought
  • Rel 315, Religion in Culture and Society
  • Rel 316, Liberation Theologies
  • Rel 317, Islam
  • Soc 230, Ethnography and Culture
  • Soc 334, Race, Class and Ethnic Relations
  • Soc 340, African Societies and Cultures
  • International off-campus May term courses (except Arts in London)

Exceptions for nursing and education majors

Students with a major in nursing, elementary education or secondary education have a modified on-campus program available.

  • Language prerequisite: any world language by placement test, course credit, CLEP exam, or native language other than English. Nursing students: one semester (101 level). Education students: two semesters (102 level).
  • Two courses from the on-campus alternative list above.
  • Core 300, Global Issues Seminar

III. Other study abroad options with Goshen College

During the May term or summer, Goshen College may offer special courses abroad. Locations vary, but recent courses have operated in China, Ecuador, England, Greece, India, Morocco, Nepal, Nicaragua, Paraguay and Spain. Credits may be earned in several areas, among them business, economics, art, music, theater, communication, religion, sustainability, nursing, and international education.

IV. Study abroad with other international programs

Study abroad is available at colleges or universities in many different countries. Special application must be made on forms available from the international education office. Goshen College students have access to approved study-abroad programs through affiliation with the following organizations:

  • Schools that are members of the Council of Mennonite Colleges
  • Bridge, Connect, Act (BCA)
  • Cultural Experiences Abroad (CEA)
  • Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE)
  • Council of Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU)
  • Lithuania Christian College (LCCU)
  • Central American Study and Service (CASAS) in Guatemala

Goshen College students in these affiliated programs will be registered as students at Goshen College in absentia. Credit may count for international education requirements only with the approval of the director of international education. Approval for credit equivalency does not mean that Goshen College financial aid will apply, but sources of financial aid outside of Goshen College are available.

Financial aid policies

For the list of affiliated international study programs in the previous paragraph, sources of student financial aid and scholarships are limited to funding outside of Goshen College such as Pell Grants, state grants, outside scholarships, church aid and Guaranteed Student Loans.

Only when the international program is required by the student’s major and there is no alternative available on campus may Goshen College scholarships and financial aid be used. An application must be submitted and the major must be declared by spring advising days prior to the year of off-campus study. Contact the director of student financial aid for more information.

Programs which are not on the approved list above may be eligible for credit transfer, but students who choose to enroll in programs that have no affiliation with Goshen College cannot apply for any sort of financial aid through Goshen College.