Off-campus programs

Semester abroad & other off-campus programs

The following off-campus programs of study are available to Bluffton students: 


Discover the city life of Washington, D.C., cultural diversity, career-building opportunities, a broad range of university classes and the connections between faith and work at the Washington Community Scholars Center. Washington, D.C., is full of exciting opportunities to explore new cultures, a different pace of life and learning, and a great variety of people, each with their own worldview and passions. The city is also a place to learn about the poverty that exists in our own country, about racism which continues to affect our society and about the ways that real people are addressing these challenges. Through internships, group life and the weekly seminar class, students are encouraged to embark on a stretching journey of personal and professional self-discovery and gain new perspectives on the world we live in.

Build a resume with job skills and work experience. WCSC offers you an opportunity to explore your interests while contributing to your community with a 20 hour per week internship. We can place students from any major, including the sciences, the arts and professional programs.

WCSC's inter-disciplinary seminar analyzes social problems, faith issues and urban experiences through reading and writing, the arts, field trips and group discussion. Guest speakers, internship visits, and history and arts tours are part of the weekly seminar course.

Students may also elect to take 1-2 courses at one of the following local universities, with priority given to those who need the credits to meet graduation requirements: Trinity University, University of the District of Columbia, Corcoran College of Art and Design and Graduate School of the U.S.

Students who successfully complete the WCSC program will have met their LAS 342 Cross-cultural Experience and LAS 301 Issues in Modern America. The course, A multicultural history of Washington, D.C. 1930-1970, meets a humanities requirement. The other humanities course must be taken at Bluffton. 

Participants will live with students from Mennonite-affiliated schools in a working-class, largely African-American neighborhood. WCSC student life is a community experience, including shared meals and household responsibilities.

Courses offered summer 2015 Curriculum B 
Courses offered fall 2015 Curriculum A 
Courses offered spring 2016 Curriculum A 

Curriculum A 15 credits

Students attend and review museum exhibits, plays, concerts and guided tours of public art in D.C. Reading and writing assignments focus on the relationship between historical events and contemporary social issues.

WCS 386 The Anacostia, alleys & the arts: A MULTI-CULTURAL HISTORY OF WASHINGTON, D.C., 1930-1970
The Washington, D.C., setting offers students an opportunity to examine the history of race and ethnicity in an urban context, including the historical African-American community and more recent immigrant communities.

How are leaders made? In these critical times, what kinds of leaders does our society need? How is leadership best practiced? College students, at the cusp of adulthood in American society stand at many crossroads. Life-altering decisions, vocational choices, questions about how and whom to serve can stimulate or, conversely, inhibit creativity, a willingness to engage in the serious issues of our day and a commitment to serve others. This course is taught in tandem with WCS 391.

Explores the many dimensions of servant leadership, starting with traditional definitions and moving into gender and race before engaging with the great non-violent servant leaders of the 20th century. Throughout the class we will talk with local servant leaders in the D.C. area.


Curriculum B 10 credits

WCS 388  Cross-cultural Social Science (3)
This course explores cultural theories that will assist students in navigating the complex culture of Washington, DC while also reflecting on their own cultural identity. Simultaneously, it will look at various religious and theoretical roots for community living, creating a companion for WCSC students' experiences living together within this city. Compiling these two topics, students will dive into the specific histories and cultures present in DC, critically reflecting on the way that their internship and urban experience intertwine with the broader city as they do so.

Explores the many dimensions of servant leadership, starting with traditional definitions and moving into gender and race before engaging with the great non-violent servant leaders of the 20th century. Throughout the class we will talk with local servant leaders in the D.C. area.



 BESTSEMESTER (Council for Christian Colleges and Universities)

Off-campus, interdisciplinary learning opportunities are available to upper-class students at Bluffton University and offer 16 semester hours of credit. For further information, contact the director of cross-cultural programs. All programs offered through BestSemester meet the cross-cultural experience requirement, except the Los Angeles, Nashville and Washington D.C. locations.

Australia Studies Centre (ASC)
The Australia Studies Centre (ASC) is offered in partnership with Christian Heritage College (CHC), a CCCU affiliate member in Carindale, a suburb of Brisbane, Queensland. The ASC is designed to integrate the firsthand observation and study of Australian culture, history, religion, politics and indigenous cultures together with experiential service learning and formal instruction in Christian Studies, Business Ministries, Social Sciences and Education and Humanities. Every student is required to take "The View from Australia: Issues in Religion, Politics, Economics and Cultural Values" and required to select either "Australian Aboriginal Cultures" or "Indigenous Cultures in Australia & Aotearoa (New Zealand)". Additionally, students choose electives from CHC offerings in the School of Christian Studies, Business, Education & Humanities, Ministries, and Social Sciences. Students live with Australian families and volunteer with local community service providers. Trips vary from semester to semester but may include excursions to the Australian Outback, Aboriginal Communities and New Zealand. To learn more about the Australia Studies Centre, visit

China Studies Program (CSP)
The China Studies Program enables students to engage China's ancient history and intrigue from an insider's perspective. While immersed in Chinese culture, students participate in seminar courses on the historical, cultural, religious, geographic and economic realities of this strategic, populous, and extremely influential nation. Students choose between completing a broad Chinese Studies Concentration or a Business Concentration, which includes and internship at a Chinese-owned and operated business in China. Students also study standard Chinese language with the goal of attaining the ability to handle everyday transactions in Mandarin. The program begins the semester in Hong Kong and introduces students to the diversity of China. Students will then live and study at Xiamen University in Southeastern China. During the course of the semester, students will travel around China visiting the capital city of Beijing, legendary Shanghai, ancient Xi'an and beautiful seaside Xiamen. This interdisciplinary, cross-cultural program enables students to communicate and understand the unique culture and people of China with an informed, Christ-centered perspective. To learn more about the China Studies Program, go to

Costa Rica Latin American Studies Program (LASP)
Based in San Jos , Costa Rica, the Latin American Studies Program will expose students to the beauty and complexity of Latin American history, religion, people and cultures. LASP students will also have the opportunity to experience life in several Latin American countries. Past student groups have journeyed to Cuba, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Panama. At LASP, students choose from the following four academic concentrations in addition to their core coursework: Latin American Studies, Advanced Language & Literature, International Business (offered fall semesters only), or Environmental Science (offered spring semesters only). To learn more about the Latin American Studies Program, go to

Los Angles Film Studies Center (LAFSC)
The LA Film Studies Center exists to launch students into their dreams. Exploring the art, craft and technology of film, LAFSC offers intensive hands-on production experience coupled with real world exposure, living and working in Hollywood. Students will study various aspects of film production, faith and artistic development, and will hold an internship in the industry. Additionally, students may choose an elective course in the areas of narrative storytelling, professional screenwriting, professional acting for the camera or carry out an independent study. With a vast network of LAFSC alumni in LA, students are never lacking for mentors and a community of believers. LAFSC encourages alumni to make films by offering grants, continuing education and low-cost equipment rentals. To learn more about the LA Film Studies Center, go to

"Unity in Diversity" is the hallmark of the nation of India. The India Studies Program (ISP) is structured to provide students with both immersion in a local community and broad exposure to a variety of peoples, places and customs in India, including an extensive two-week travel portion of the program to provide students with a close-up look at India's diversity. Students will participate in two core courses: "Contemporary India: Culture, Society & Challenges" and "India's Religious Landscape" designed to provide a broad overview of the historical, religious, geographical and economic landscape of India. Building on their basic understanding of India's past and contemporary realities, students will have opportunities to explore a variety of issues - poverty, social justice, rapid social change, religious pluralism - through the eyes and experience of Indian Christians. Rounding out the semester experience, students will also have the opportunity to take courses in their major areas with Indian students and professors. These electives include Indian Literature, Design, Fine Arts, Culinary Culture, and Business. At its heart, the India Studies Program strives to encourage and equip students to effectively relate to India and its people in an informed, constructive and Christ-centered manner. To learn more about the India Studies Program, go to

Founded in 1991, the Los Angeles Film Studies Center trains students to serve in various aspects of the film industry with professional skill and Christian integrity. Each semester, students live, learn and work in L.A. The curriculum consists of two required seminars: Hollywood Production Workshop (a film production course), and Faith and Artistic Development in Film, focusing on the role of film in culture and the relationship of faith to work in this very influential industry. In addition, students choose one elective course: screenwriting, acting, film production, or independent study. Internships in various segments of the film industry provide students with hands-on experience. The combination of the internship and seminars allows students to explore the film industry within a Christian context and from a liberal arts perspective. To learn more about the LA Film Studies Center, go to

Middle East Studies Program (MESP)
Based in Jerusalem, Israel, this program offers students a unique opportunity to explore and interact with the complex and strategically important world of the modern Middle East. Students explore diverse religious, social, cultural and political traditions of Middle Eastern peoples through interdisciplinary seminars. They also study the Arabic language and volunteer with various organizations. Through travel in the region (recently Israel, Palestinian areas, Jordan, Islamic Spain, Morocco, and Turkey), students are exposed to the diversity and dynamism of the local culture. At a time of tension and change in the Middle East, MESP encourages and equips students to relate to the Muslim, Eastern Christian and Jewish worlds in an informed, constructive and Christ-centered manner. To learn more about the Middle East Studies Program, visit

The Contemporary Music Center provides students with the opportunity to live and work in the refining context of community while seeking to understand how God will have them integrate music, faith and business. The CMC offers three tracks: Artist, Business and Technical. The Artist Track is tailored to students considering careers as vocalists, musicians, songwriters, recording artists, performers and producers. The Business Track is designed for business, arts management, marketing, communications and related majors interested in possible careers as artist managers, agents, record company executives, music publishers, concert promoters and entertainment industry entrepreneurs. The Technical Track prepares students for careers in live sound, concert lighting and studio recording. Students within each of the tracks receive instruction, experience and a uniquely Christ-centered perspective on creativity and the marketplace, while working together to create and market a recording of original music. Each track includes coursework, labs, directed study and a practicum. To learn more about the Contemporary Music Center, visit

Oxford Scholars' Semester (SSO)
TThe Scholars' Semester in Oxford is designed for students who want to study intensively and to a high standard. Students develop their academic writing and research skills and explore the disciplines and interests of their choice. As visiting students of Oxford University and members of Wycliffe Hall, students study in the oldest university in the English-speaking world. SSO students enroll in a primary and secondary tutorial, an integrative seminar and the British landscape course. Second term students write a thesis on a topic of their choice. Students group their work in a concentration so that all elements of their programme work together. SSO is designed for students interested in art history, classics, English language and literature, history, modern languages (French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Russian), musicology, philosophy, and theology, though all majors may apply. SSO also offers 18 thematic or integrative concentrations such as history and philosophy of science and social sciences. Applicants are generally honors students and other very high-achieving students, and must have at minimum a 3.7 GPA to be considered for the programme. To learn more about the Scholars Semester in Oxford, visit

Uganda Studies Program (USP)
The Uganda Studies Program provides students with both immersion in a local community and broad exposure to a variety of people and places in Uganda and Rwanda. Students are given the option to live with a host family for the semester, or to live on campus at Uganda Christian University (UCU), an international affiliate member of the CCCU located 15 miles east of the capital city of Kampala. All students attending USP are required to take "Faith & Action in the Ugandan Context" along with an African Context course. Students enrolled in the Social Work Emphasis (SWE) take a Junior or Senior level Social Work Practicum while all other USP students select from a variety of UCU electives. Students will forge meaningful relationships with their Ugandan peers, faculty members, and host families. These relationships give USP students a firsthand perspective as they explore issues such as poverty, cultural expressions of Christianity and missions, and as they seek to reconcile the realities of East Africa with their Christian faith. To learn more about the Uganda Studies Program, go to

Since 1976, the American Studies Program has served as an experiential learning laboratory for students committed to connecting their faith to public affairs. Nearly 500 of ASP's 3,000+ alumni have returned to work in the DC metro area in a variety of professional fields—private and public, for-profit and non-profit. Each student enrolls in the program's two practicum courses: Internship and Topics in Leadership & Vocation. Students have the option of enrolling in a one-credit Professional Mentorship course. In addition, students apply to either the Public Policy Initiatives Track or the Global Development Enterprise Track. The Public Policy Initiatives Track equips and supports students in their analysis of a pressing public policy issue. Each student produces original research by engaging area experts and practitioners off-site and in the classroom as they investigate the local, national, and global factors that influence policy-making in Washington, DC. The Global Development Enterprise Track focuses on partnership initiatives taken by leaders in commercial, governmental and non-governmental organizations as they explore the impact they can achieve by collaborating to address issues of sustainable development worldwide. To learn more about the American Studies Program, go to

The Washington Journalism Center (WJC) is a semester-long study program in Washington, D.C., created for students interested in the field of journalism. While in Washington, students take classes focusing on their personal writing skills and on the history and future of the news media. These classes—Foundations for Media Involvement; Reporting in Washington; and Washington, News and Public Discourse—combined with an internship at a top news publication help students learn to integrate their faith in a journalism career. Students also participate in service learning opportunities as part of the WJC experience. To learn more about the Washington Journalism Center, visit



BCA Study Abroad operates academic study centers in 14 countries for students from U.S. institutions of higher education. BCA Study Centers offer fall and spring semester and year-long programs in the liberal arts tradition at universities in the following locations: Austria, Belgium, China, Ecuador, England,  Germany, Greece, India, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Palestine, New Zealand and Spain. Summer programs are offered in Austria, Morocco, Palestine and Spain. For further information, contact the director of cross-cultural programs. These programs meet the cross-cultural requirement. To learn more about the BCA Study Abroad Programs visit



Central American Study and Service, part of the Latin American Anabaptist Seminary (SEMILLA), gives North Americans the opportunity to live, study and volunteer in a Latin American context. The core of the CASAS program is a 12-week, cross-cultural study term designed for students interested in studying Spanish while cultivating a broader awareness of the issues facing people in Guatemala. The term begins with eight weeks of intensive study while living with a Guatemalan family in a marginal area of Guatemala City. Students study Spanish (often, in a one-on-one setting) with experienced Guatemalan teachers and participate in visits and lectures with organizations or individuals who are experts on Guatemalan history, culture, politics and religion. During the final four weeks students have the opportunity of working in a voluntary service setting. Students may earn university credit in several areas including Spanish, anthropology and religion. Also available is an intensive Spanish-only program. For further information, contact the director of cross-cultural programs. This program meets the cross-cultural requirement. 


Nov. 2014