God declared the created world to be “very good.” Genesis 1:31

Full Immersion Education Abroad

The divine masterpiece we know as planet Earth hosts a wild array of human societies, and within them a remarkable spectrum of ideas, languages, objects, and ways of life. Every culture has its own distinctive forms of family, religion, education, technology, and entertainment. Azusa Pacific’s Global Learning Term (GLT) represents, at its core, a search for profound beauty among the peoples and places of the world.

This self-directed, full-immersion learning experience integrates community-based residence, study, service, and research within different “majority world” contexts (mostly nations in Latin America, Africa, and Asia). The program is a required part of the global studies major at APU, and managed in communication with the Center for Global Learning and Engagement. Interested students should email the center at studyabroad@apu.edu.

GLT shares certain elements with traditional education abroad programs, but there are noteworthy differences. Students travel almost exclusively to sites in the majority world. The program focus is primarily, though not exclusively, on urban poor populations. The average term extends to six months to facilitate intensive language learning and cultural adaptation. Similar to Los Angeles Term, students live with local families in marginal communities, serve with community-based organizations, and complete contracted coursework in a self-directed manner. GLT is a field-based learning network comprised of host parents, language coaches, agency staff, and local research guides. Each lends their energy and expertise to a community-driven global learning process.

Program Highlights

The Global Learning Term curriculum:

  • Assists students in becoming autonomous learners through a self-directed learning process. Students organize, research, and execute their own study and service curriculum in primary relationship with host nationals, and with the support and direction of an on-campus academic advisor.
  • Enables students to develop intercultural, cognitive, and interpersonal sensitivities and skills. “Intercultural competence” is fostered through high-impact learning experiences that include family homestays, community internships, issue-oriented research, and a variety of structured field projects.
  • Guides students in acquiring functional proficiency in a second language. Students are encouraged to enroll in an intensive language study and community practice regimen where they learn to effectively and appropriately communicate with local residents.
  • Empowers students to cultivate a broadened vision of and compassion for the world, integral to their discipleship as Christ followers.

Global Learning Term Format

The program features team sites in regional cities that highlight the development challenges—and responses—of our day. Students travel to these locations in small groups of two to five individuals, and then live and serve independently to maximize cultural immersion and encourage the development of a primary social-emotional support system comprised of host nationals. It can be an intense experience, requiring GLT student participants to be not only strong in character but also self-motivated, organized, and disciplined.

At the site, students are assigned a campus-based academic advisor who encourages, guides, and ultimately evaluates learning. In-country Site Facilitators coordinate student placements with host families and internship organizations. They also meet regularly with students to help them process field experiences. Students, however, are responsible for organizing daily activities and making most day-to-day decisions.