Frequently Asked Questions
What type of student would want to participate in the L.A. Term?
The L.A. Term benefits any student who has an interest in understanding and participating in urban life. While the program is a required component of the global studies major at APU, it also attracts students from other schools and fields of study. The nonprofit internship, in particular, enables students to gain practical experience with issues related to their major. For example, a nursing major could complete an internship at a community health clinic. A business major could do fundraising for a local nonprofit organization. An art major could organize shows for a community arts organization. Individual student interests also play a role in the other courses in the program. Students are encouraged to take ownership of their learning during the L.A. Term and, while directed by professors, are given latitude in personalizing their educational experience.
Can students from other colleges and universities participate in the L.A. Term?
Yes! Please consult the Non-APU Students section for more information.
What does a typical week look like?
Most weeks follow a schedule that looks something like this:
- Sunday: Church, study, spend time with host family
- Monday: Class, site visits, study
- Tuesday: Internships, project work
- Wednesday: Class, site visits, study
- Thursday: Internships, project work
- Friday: Class, worship, explore
- Saturday: Explore, spend time with host family
Where do students live?
Students stay with host families who live in different neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles. Typically, two students are placed with each family. Some families are located within walking distance, but most require a 15- to 50-minute public transportation commute to and from the Los Angeles Regional Center, where students take classes. In some cases, host families live farther away from the center, but past participants say that the loving families make the extra commute worth it. Students indicate on their application if there is a preference for living with members of a particular cultural group, and although we consider that preference, we cannot guarantee it.
How safe is it to live in Los Angeles?
Unfortunately, the common perception of Los Angeles is of a wasteland of poverty, gangs, and crime. But L.A. Term alumni disagree with this unfair stereotype. In fact, they found their communities to be welcoming and friendly. Safety is nevertheless an issue of importance to the L.A. Term staff. All students participate in a mandatory safety training session and a Rape Aggression Defense course early in the semester that emphasizes the importance of using common sense.
How intense is the workload?
Students spend the majority of their time in Los Angeles studying with classmates, completing local field projects, working at internships, participating in community site visits, and sharing life with their host families. In other words, the workload is fairly demanding and requires students to be fully engaged with and committed to the program and community. We discourage students from taking additional classes from a community college, online courses, or independent study.
Can a freshman or sophomore participate in the L.A. Term?
Due to the variety and intensity of the term, students are encouraged to complete the program during or after the second semester of their sophomore year. Rare exceptions might be made for younger students on the basis of their life experience, personal maturity, and academic record.
How do students find internships?
The L.A. Term staff provides students a list of prescreened organizations willing to participate in the 10-week internship program. Participants are encouraged to carefully review the listing of potential internships and narrow down their choices before the start of orientation. During the first three weeks of the semester, L.A. Term staff guide the students through a structured internship placement process and assist students in building their résumé, drafting a cover letter, networking, and conducting themselves in an interview.
Can students spend weekends at home or at APU once enrolled in the L.A. Term?
Students are encouraged to view the L.A. Term as they would an international study abroad program, wherein cultural immersion is a key to maximizing their experience. Since the workload is considerable, students are encouraged to remain focused by spending weekdays and weekends in Los Angeles.
Can students work while in the L.A. Term?
Under certain circumstances, students may hold part-time jobs while participating in L.A. Term. In such cases, students are encouraged to limit their work to 10-12 hours per week, and only in the immediate area. Students who do need to work during the L.A. Term should consult with the program director or staff members before applying.
Where do students find spiritual support while on the term?
Students participate in weekly devotions, community time, personal reflection, and group prayer. Program staff also set aside time to meet with each student for personal mentorship, coaching, and spiritual support. Information on local churches is provided to students, and they are encouraged to attend. There is also an L.A. Term retreat near the middle of the semester for reflection and growth.
Can students bring cars on the term?
Private cars are not permitted on the L.A. Term because they isolate students from the local community. Students may be tempted to use them instead of public transportation out of convenience and ease. We also discourage cars because students may use them to escape the initial discomfort of adjusting to a new place, preventing them from developing close relationships with other students and with their host families. The L.A. Term should be treated like a study abroad experience or any other off-campus program where a car is not an option.Students are given information about how to access Los Angeles public transportation and how to plan their commutes online.
How much does the L.A. Term cost?
The L.A. Term costs the same as APU tuition for the semester. Room and board for L.A. Term is roughly equivalent to one semester of on-campus housing and an on-campus meal plan at APU (about $3,200).
Can students get financial aid for the term?
Your present financial aid is applicable to L.A. Term. Prospective students are encouraged to review the Tuition and Fees page.
How many students participate each semester?
The L.A. Term typically ranges from 12-18 students per semester.
How are academic credit and grades handled?
Participants earn 15 semester units of undergraduate academic credit distributed across four courses: Urban Culture (3 units), Urban Religious Movements (3 units), Community Transformation (6 units), and Urban Systems (3 units). Grades for APU participants will be submitted to the Office of the Undergraduate Registrar where they will be recorded on an official APU transcript. Azusa Pacific University uses the following grading scale: A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, D-, F, and W (withdraw). Before choosing to participate, non-APU students should understand their home school’s policy for awarding credit and matriculating grades from an external study program.
Read about the application process on the How to Apply page.