What is the cross-cultural experience requirement?

As a part of the Lee University general core requirements, students must fulfill a minimum of 2 Global Perspectives credit hours in order to graduate:

  • GNST 200: Global Perspectives Seminar (1 credit hour) – GNST 200 is the required 6-week seminar that serves as the prerequisite and pre-departure orientation for student’s cross-cultural experiences.
  • GNST 250, 251, 252, OR 253: Cross-Cultural Experience (1-3 credit hours) – This GNST course is the actual experience of interacting with another culture, either through one of Lee’s many Global Perspectives trips or through an Individually Arranged Cross-Cultural Study. This is not a class which meets throughout the semester or summer term but the credit the student receives for the actual cross-cultural experience, in which he/she can earn 1-3 credit hours depending on the length and intensity or cultural interaction.

I want to study abroad at an institution that Lee does not have a collaborative agreement with. Who do I contact?

Contact the Global Perspectives Office for information regarding the process for non-collaborative programs.

When should students begin planning their cross-cultural experience?

Early planning is the key to successful experiences. Students will have more options and better success at integrating the requirement into their field of study if they start researching early. Consider personal and academic objectives, long-term career goals, and preferred culture before planning a course of action. For more information about when a student is allowed to participate in a cross-cultural experience, see the question “Who can participate in a cross-cultural experience?”

Are transfer students required to participate in a cross-cultural experience?

The Global Perspectives credits are requirements of the university’s core curriculum and must be completed by every student in order to graduate.

Who can participate in a cross-cultural experience?

All students may apply for participation in a cross-cultural experience. They must complete GNST-200, the Global Perspectives Seminar, as a prerequisite before participating in a cross-cultural experience. Prospective students or students from other institutions are not eligible to participate in Global Perspectives trips.

When do most students take their Global Perspectives trip?

Many students at Lee take their Global Perspectives trip during the summer term, because this is the longest break and it is when most faculty led Lee Global Perspectives Trips occur. However, students also have several other options available to them. Students can take trips during winter break or spring break, and there are several faculty led trips that go during these breaks. Students also have the option to apply for an entire semester abroad, either through Lee’s UK Semester program during the spring semester or through a non-Lee program in any semester. In addition to these options, students may choose to complete a local church study during any term of their choosing. With Individually Arranged Study trips, students have a great amount of freedom to choose where they go and when they go. Students are allowed to take a trip at virtually any time they wish, as long as they are able to spend a minimum of seven days in the country without missing class. This is easy in the summer and it is possible to do over spring break, but there are no breaks long enough during the fall semester to accommodate an individually arranged trip. For more information about trip options, see the question “What Global Perspectives options are available for me?”

Does studying abroad prevent students from graduating on time?

With careful planning, cross-cultural experiences can fit right into degree programs so that graduation will not be delayed. If students do end up taking an extra semester to graduate, the benefits of the experience far outweigh any disadvantages of staying in school longer.

May a student participate in a trip and take less than the number of credit hours offered?

No, students must take the full number of credit hours being offered on a trip. One of the most attractive aspects of the cross-cultural experience requirement is the opportunity for intellectual exchange between professors and students in an international environment. Otherwise, a cohesive study group can become merely a fragmented tour group. In addition, it creates extra work for numerous administrative offices to track any exceptions made for program participants.

What is the application process for Global Perspectives trips?

The application process for each Lee Global Perspectives Trip is determined by the trip director. Some require references and conduct interviews while others simply request a one-page application. All applications begin online through Portico.

How do students register for classes offered on Global Perspectives trips?

The trip director will submit a listing of accepted student participants along with their registration information to the Record’s Office.

What does a Global Perspectives trip cost? How will I afford a Global Perspectives trip?

Trip costs vary from year to year, depending upon location, exchange rate of currency, fuel costs, etc., and are determined by the respective trip directors. However, we ensure that there are financially viable options for all students. Most of the cost of a faculty led trip goes toward plane tickets and transportation, as tuition is heavily discounted on the trips. There are several non-international faculty-led trip options available for students which are cheaper than the international trips. Students may also plan and budget their own Individual Cross-Cultural Study in order to have more control over the finances of their trip.

The local church study option does not require any travel and the only cost is the cost of the credit hour for GNST-250, which for the 2023-2024 Academic Year is $457.

Is financial aid available for Global Perspective trip participants?

Each participant is considered on an individual basis. All potential trip participants should file for financial aid as soon as they are accepted into a program in order to receive federal money, private loans, and academic scholarships. Money cannot be applied to the student’s Business Office account until all necessary documents have been turned in (i.e. the Financial Aid Application for Global Perspectives Trips and/or Summer School, FAFSA for the current year), the student has been awarded for summer, and the student has completed registration and made a down payment with the Business Office (this is not the same as making the trip down payment).

To find out more about financial aid for Global Perspectives trips, visit Financial Aid or contact the Lee University Financial Aid Office.

Phone: 423-614-8300 or 1-800-533-9930
Fax: 423-614-8308
E-mail: [email protected]

What is Lee University Health Clinic policy for Global Perspectives trip participants?

Every student/faculty/staff/chaperone/sponsor traveling out of the U.S. must have a current physical exam on file with LUHC. No “waivers” will be allowed. Refusal to obtain a physical will negate travel. Physicals will be provided by LUHS for a small fee not included in the trip price. Students are also required to have on file verification of MMR and Varicella vaccinations that are required for Lee University Admissions. Trip Directors are responsible for arranging health services for their trip participants.

May friends or family members of students participate in a trip as well?

Friends and/or family members may not join a student on a faculty-led trip unless there is a medical need for a parent/guardian or spouse to accompany a student, or if the person is providing a needed service for the trip (i.e. a parent who is a doctor and accompanies a medical missions team. If a student is doing an Individually Arranged Study trip, then friends or family members are welcome to go on that trip with them.

Can students study abroad in a non-English speaking country if they do not speak the language?

All of Lee’s programs offer courses taught in English except for those where foreign language proficiency is the focus.

What Global Perspectives options are available for me?

Students have three options for completing their Global Perspectives requirements.

  • Global Perspective Trips
    • Participating in a Global Perspectives trip is by far the most popular option at Lee. Every year, the university offers between 25-30 programs led by our faculty. Not only can students fulfill their cross-cultural requirement by participating in a Lee-sponsored trip, but they will probably be able to find a trip that offers course credit within their major. Students must decide early in the fall semester of the preceding year whether or not they plan on participating in a faculty led trip in the summer. For example, if a student plans on going on a trip in the summer of 2017, he/she must decide and pay his/her deposit during the fall of 2016. This is necessary in order to make reservations and to obtain reasonably priced airline tickets. It also allows the Financial Aid Office to determine how much, if any, financial aid can be applied to the student’s personal trip cost.
  • Apply to conduct an Individually Arranged Cross-Cultural Study.
    • Some students choose to research and design their own cross-cultural experience. This option can fulfill the cross-cultural requirement if the experience is designed to intentionally undertake the study of another culture with that academic goal explicitly in mind. To conduct an Individually Arranged Study, the student must first submit an online application to the Global Perspectives Office by the deadlines as specified on the Global Perspectives website. This form is completed and submitted online at the Global Perspectives site. The application will then be submitted, on the student’s behalf, to the Global Perspectives Committee which determines whether or not it is approved. If the student is approved, he/she will be registered for GNST 250 for the semester during which he/she plans to conduct the experience, and the student will be required to pay for the class, confirm enrollment, and attend one class meeting before he/she goes.
  • Submit and have approved a Petition for exception to the cross-cultural experience requirement.
    • Students who have had significant cross-cultural life experiences prior to coming to Lee may qualify for exemption from the cross-cultural requirement. There are clear institutional guidelines in place for students who may receive exemption from the cross-cultural requirement. These guidelines have been approved by external accreditation agencies. It would be both illegal and unethical to grant students’ academic course credit for experiences that do not fall within the parameters for exemption. To be waived from the cross-cultural experience, the student must first submit a petition to the Global Perspectives Office by the deadlines as specified on the Global Perspectives website. The application will then be submitted, on the student’s behalf, by the Director of the Global Perspectives Program to the Global Perspectives Committee which votes whether or not to approve it. The Global Perspectives Committee considers only the following experiences to be justifications for exemption from the cross-cultural requirement:
      • Extensive overseas military service tours, at least 6 months in duration  
      • Extensive missions work abroad, at least 6 months in duration  
      • Being raised or living in a foreign country as a young adult for at least 24 months  
      • Academic study in a college/university abroad, at least 6 months in duration  
      • Having spent a minimum of one year as a foreign exchange student during high school

      Even if the student qualifies for an exemption, he/she may still participate in a Global Perspectives trip or an individually arranged cross-cultural experience.

I have some questions that are not answered here. How can I contact the Global Perspectives Office?”