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International Programs, Global Learning, Study Abroad | EpiCenter

About Cross-Cultural Courses


Students can discover a new world when they step out of familiar surroundings by participating in cross-cultural courses.  Whether studying wildlife in New Zealand or spending a few weeks in Philadelphia, students will experience, firsthand, a way of life that they may have only read about in books.  The three-week courses include intensive study of the society through lectures and readings, as well as either an extended home-stay or an ethnographic fieldwork project in the native language.

Click here for a list of current cross-cultural course offerings.



Program Advisor

For academic requirement information, contact Dr. Robin Lauermann, General Education Committee Chair, Boyer 104, 717.766.2511 Ext. 2410.


For general information, contact Faith Minnich, International Programs, 717.766.2511 Ext. 7373.

For information about individual cross-cultural courses, contact the course faculty advisor.


Goals and Objectives

Cross Cultural Study Courses help students:

  • Appreciate cultural traditions significantly different from their own.
  • Articulate how people from different cultures perceive the world, interpret reality, and make meaning. 
  • Understand the paradoxes, tensions, and contradictions as well as the consistencies and values in a society significantly different from their own.
  • Develop an appropriate sense of cultural relativism and reduce ethnocentrism.
  • Reflect on their own culture and society from the perspective of another culture.
  • Gain skill and experience living and working in a culture different from their own.


Click here to read the official Cross-Cultural Parameters (Word).


Students can earn three credits, fulfilling part of their general education language requirements, by enrolling in one of the cross-cultural study courses offered in January or May. Students also can fulfill this general education requirement by participating in a Messiah-approved, semester-long, international program. (Information about these programs is available in the EpiCenter.)


Tuition plus travel costs which vary from course to course.

Application Deadlines
Students are accepted into some cross-cultural study courses on a first come, first serve basis. The spring before the J-Term that students want to participate is not too early to begin investigating possibilities. Many courses do not have set deadlines, but fill quickly.



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