Preparing for SST

Hear from other students

The best way to prepare for a Study Service Term is like is to talk with other students who’ve done it. Start with our  SST Capstone page where you can view projects and videos that students made after they returned.

Featured video: Martim Cafe, an international student from Portugal, describes what he learned from a month living within an the Indigenous community.


Sophomores, juniors and seniors are eligible to go on SST. Participation in SST abroad is a privilege, not an automatic result of registration. Your success on campus will be the primary indicator that you are ready for the challenges of SST. The following performance standards and actions are required for participation in SST.

  1. An overall GPA of 2.0 by the beginning of the semester before departure, to be maintained until departure.
  2. Language study is required for all international units. Students need at least a C- in these courses.
    China: One course in Chinese
    Ecuador: Spanish 101 and 102 or test at this level
    Indonesia: One course in Indonesian
    Senegal: French 101 and 102 or test at this level
    Tanzania: One course in Swahili
  3. Academics: Responsible class attendance and completion of homework.
  4. Living by community standards: a record with no serious behavioral violations.
  5. Evidence of physical and emotional well-being.

If you are in doubt about your standing in any of these areas, the SST handbook offers more details.

What does SST cost?

Fall or Spring SST: Tuition and room and board costs are the same as for a semester on campus. Your financial aid package (including your grants and scholarships) will apply to SST just like it would if you were studying on campus. See Tuition and Fees, 2021-22 for more details.

Summer SST, leaving in May: Tuition and room and board costs are still the same as for a semester on campus, but keep in mind that your financial aid package only covers eight semesters. In this case, you have two choices:

  • Count SST as one of your eight semesters and take a fall or spring semester off if you can complete your required courses this way.
  • Pay the full summer SST base rate. For full-time students in 2021-22, that amount is $18,790. If you are not a full-time student, meet with the Financial Aid Office to clarify what is expected.

Commuter Students: The total cost for SST includes tuition, room and board. Commuter students will need to pay the room and board costs for their SST semester. Check with the Financial Aid Office to learn the amount.

Travel: Students pay part of their airfare. Travel costs are $500 for Ecuador and $1000 for China, Indonesia, Senegal, Tanzania. A $250 deposit toward the travel fee is due midway through the semester prior to leaving. For May-Summer 21-22, that is February 8, 2022.

Immunizations: Students are expected to pay for the shots or medications required for each country. Costs vary from around $100 to $600 depending on location. Your insurance may cover all or part of these costs. Check with Goshen Family Physicians and your insurance company for pricing if this is a concern.

Passport fees: If you don’t have a current passport, this costs $110 in 2020.

Physical Exam: All SSTers must meet with the campus physician and cover the cost of this visit. Again, your insurance may cover this.

Choose your unit

Check the units offered during your years at Goshen College and consult with your advisor about when the courses required for your major will run. Also read about the SST programs in each of our countries, as each lends itself to different themes. Some may fit your major or interests better than others.

Ecuador: Indigenous cultures and sustainability

China: Education in a communal culture

Indonesia:  Interfaith dialogue in a religiously diverse society

Senegal: Post-colonial peacebuilding in a Muslim society

Tanzania: Migration of resources, people and ideas

Sign up!

Openings for SST units are awarded on a first come, first serve basis. The sooner you sign up for SST, the more likely you are to go to the country in which you have the most interest. To register, sign in to myGC. Look for the box labeled forms in the lower right corner. Select SST Enrollment Form.

Be prepared to briefly describe your goals for SST and supply the names and contact information of several references. The application also asks about your academic performance and your perspective on any recent behavioral issues. You will need to consent to discuss relevant medical or emotional issues with Goshen Family Physicians.

The orientation process

  • Attend four required orientation sessions. Each is about 2 hours and usually occurs in the evening. Please notify any professors or supervisors who may be affected by your absence well in advance. Spring units are oriented in the fall semester before they leave. Summer and fall units are oriented in the preceding spring. The orientations cover health, safety, culture shock and basic information about the country you are visiting. They also walk you through the steps below.
  • Apply for/turn in a passport to SST Office.
  • Submit a $250 non-refundable deposit. The deposit counts toward your tuition fees.
  • Establish that you have health insurance that covers you abroad. If not, see the SST Office for options.
  • Complete a physical/mental health screening at Goshen Family Physicians and obtain all required immunizations.
  • If you wish to travel separately from the group on either end of the trip, make alternate travel plans with the SST office by the announced deadline.

I want to go, but…

Contact or with your questions. We’ll be happy to help you sort out your hesitations. Also see our Overcoming Barriers web page. If cost is the issue, consider applying for a scholarship for international education.