As a college student at Grand Canyon University (GCU), you have several opportunities to explore the world and venture abroad. If you choose to serve on an international mission trip, you will travel overseas with a team of GCU students to serve the Lord and perform ministry. Alternatively, you may also consider a traditional study abroad program for a summer, semester or full academic year, where you can fully immerse yourself in another culture while also earning credits toward completing your degree at GCU. GCU students can also complete a short or long-term international internship to gain professional, real-world work experience to enhance your resume while also getting the cultural immersion experience.
During a traditional study abroad program, you have the opportunity to travel to another country and attend classes at an approved international university or program. GCU currently partners with the University Studies Abroad Consortium (USAC), Semester at Sea (SAS), Students International (SI), Center for International Studies (CIS) Abroad, Living & Learning International and Bond University in Australia to offer study abroad opportunities. We encourage you to visit the program provider’s website for more information, including program start dates, costs, program requirements, co-curricular opportunities and available academic coursework and internships.
For an international internship, GCU partners with The Intern Group. Internships across most disciplines are available for a range of 2-12 weeks throughout the year. This is a great option for students seeking more professional and leadership development rather than academic coursework, while still getting the abroad experience.
Study Abroad Office
Start Your Application
Start the process of applying to study abroad by talking to your student services counselor. You must verify that your study abroad program will count as earned credit within your program of study (POS) in order to maintain good academic standing and to qualify for Title IV funding while abroad. This is a viable option if you have a suitable amount of elective credits remaining in your POS.
However, keep in mind that as you take additional courses at GCU, your elective and core credit space will decrease, so let your student services counselor know as soon as possible if you are interested in a study abroad program. Each student's academic situation is unique, and your SSC will be best equipped to speak to how a study abroad program fits within your academic journey.
Students should start preparing for their study abroad experience 9-12 months in advance. Follow these quick steps to get started!
- Research: Research your options and select your program and term of choice. Attend a study abroad weekly information session or visit the GCU Study Abroad Office to learn more about our various partners and their unique programs and offerings.
- GCU Application: Complete the University Home Approval Application and submit to [email protected].
- Program Application: Complete the Secondary Study Abroad Application through your study abroad provider of choice. An application fee or deposit may be required at this time.
- Finances: Finalize your financial aid options (if applicable) and start applying for scholarships through your study abroad provider and third party websites.
- Travel Documents: Secure all required travel documents and prepare for departure!
Explore Your Country
It is important for you to understand the area of the world in which you plan to study. Visit the U.S. State Department's travel alert site, but also start looking through national news channels for the latest information. Our study abroad providers offer various across the world. Learn more about travel resources and program opportunities.
Global Mission Trips
Global mission trips are shorter international trips, typically taken over spring or summer breaks, that give you the opportunity to see God’s heart for the nations. Depending on the length of the trip, you may choose to complete a Global Studies Portfolio to earn global awareness or elective credits toward degree completion. Click here to inquire and learn more about mission trip opportunities.
What to Consider
Studying abroad is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that offers you many unique benefits. Beyond the experiential benefits of exposing yourself to a different culture and different ways of thinking, you may be able to leverage your experience in more tangible ways. See one of our study abroad partners, Resources for Leveraging Your Study Abroad Experience, for a detailed discussion on how to use your experience to your advantage in the workplace and when applying for advanced degree programs.
You should also consider that a study abroad program can be a significant commitment in terms of cost and time preparation. Here are a few other factors to consider before fully committing to studying abroad.
For most of the programs partnered with Grand Canyon University, there is no prior language requirement. There are classes that will be taught in English at almost every location. If you wish to complete a language immersion program or take individual classes to learn the language, that is an option through many programs, but there is no prior language requirement.
Effect on Degree Timeline
Depending on your specific degree program, the number of elective credits you have remaining in your degree and other factors, a study abroad program may increase your time to graduation. Work with your student services counselor to reliably determine how a program may affect your anticipated graduation date. Low on open elective credits or space in your program of study? Consider a summer term study abroad program, or an international internship through The Intern Group. The Intern Group combines professional, resume-building work experience with the study abroad experience.
Preparing for Your Trip
A long trip overseas takes planning, even with the support of the university. You will need to have a valid passport throughout the duration of your respective program. A passport can take 6-12 weeks to process, and sometimes longer. Learn more about how to apply for a passport at the U.S. Department of State's passport website.
Many countries also require you to acquire a student visa prior to entry. If you are required to apply for a student visa on your own, you will need to plan ahead. You may need to either travel to a designated foreign consulate within the U.S. (usually in Los Angeles or San Francisco), have a family member appear in your stead or work with a third party like Travisa. While this process is not as daunting as it may sound, you will need to plan accordingly. More information can be found on Travisa.
Financing Your Study Abroad Experience
If you are interested in a study abroad program, talk with your SSA to determine your financial obligations and what aid you can apply to the costs. You may need to personally finance a portion of the program costs directly. The more you plan ahead in securing the necessary funds, the more likely you will be able to pay any program fees and costs beyond what your federal financial aid provides. Your GCU institutional aid and scholarships will not pay for you to take courses at another institution – even through a GCU approved study abroad program.
Your study abroad program provider will further discuss payment plan options, in-house scholarship opportunities, on-site student worker positions and other methods for making your study abroad program as affordable as possible. For more information about third-party scholarships, take a look at these opportunities.
Saving for Your Trip
We recommend that you have a sense of your financial obligations at least one year prior to your departure, especially if you do not anticipate having funds readily accessible through personal savings, family members, etc. However, if you have a savings goal and time to implement a plan, you may be able to make up the additional costs with a summer job, depending on the program.