Choosing The Right Experience for You

It is important to understand what qualifies as a cross-cultural experience. For your cross-cultural experience, we want you to go beyond a tourist-type experience.  We want you to actively ask questions about family, politics, language, economics, religion, and daily life in another culture.  We want you to learn how other people think about the world and how they think about you.  We want you to listen to what they say, without injecting criticism.  We want you to talk to people in this other culture, do things with them, and reflect on what you learn to decipher what it means and compare it with your own culture. For more extensive information defining the cross-cultural experience, please check out What Is a Cross-Cultural Experience, an excerpt from the GNST-200 Global Perspectives Seminar textbook, Go Global: An Anthropological Approach to Studying Abroad (Go Global 33).

Choosing a cross-cultural experience is about finding the right destination and program for you. Input from parents, friends, and professors may be helpful, but ultimately the best cross-cultural experience is the one that meets your needs and goals. Understanding what you want to get out of your cross-cultural experience takes time, research, and reflection. For more information to assist in your decision, check out Cross-Cultural Experience Considerations.

Most students expect their education to equip them with the skills and experience necessary to give them a competitive edge professionally. Dr. Richard Jones, Professor of Anthropology, asserts that, “All other things being equal, people who are bilingual and/or who have some sort of experience in cross-cultural settings have the edge in today’s market in nearly every sector. Few large corporations can ignore the world markets for their products, and people who command knowledge of other languages and cultures have opportunities available to them that people without that knowledge do not have.”

Planning Ahead

We encourage you to start planning as early as possible to determine the best option for your cross-cultural experience. If you plan well, you will be better prepared to handle any unexpected circumstances that might prevent you from completing the requirement in the timeframe expected. The Global Perspectives courses are part of every student’s requirement and must be successfully completed to graduate. Students must take the GNST-200 Global Perspectives Seminar course in the semester prior to participating in any type of cross-cultural experience. You must first decide what you want to do for your cross-cultural experience before you can be enrolled in the Global Perspectives Seminar.

Any student planning to complete an international cross-cultural experience should look into Obtaining a Passport as soon as possible so they are ready when the opportunity arises for the perfect trip.

Obtaining a Passport

The Bradley County Clerk's Office is now accepting passport applications. You may make an appointment to apply Monday through Friday 8:45 - 2:15 pm at the Clerk's Office, Room 103 in the Courthouse. You will need certain documents, such as an original birth certificate and passport photo, to include with your application. Please contact the Bradley County Clerk's Office for more information.

The latest information may be accessed on the U.S. Department of State website.

If you want to apply near your home, you can find the nearest location that accepts passport applications on the Passport Acceptance Facility Search Page.

Financial Aid

Each student is considered for Financial Aid on an individual basis. All potential trip participants should file for financial aid as soon as they are accepted into a program to receive federal money, private loans, and academic scholarships. Money cannot be applied to the student's account at Student Financial Services 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 Student Financial Services Office (this is not the same as making the trip down payment). All payments are handled through Student Financial Services, and all scholarships and aid are handled through the Financial Aid Office.

For other scholarship information check out these other Scholarships for Study Abroad

Medical Clearance

Below is the Lee University Health Clinic (LUHC) policy regarding pre-departure medical clearance for university-sponsored cross-cultural travel:

1. Every student traveling stateside and internationally is required to have a physical exam on file in the LUHC.  The medical exam must be current (within two years) and cannot expire during the trip. No “waivers” will be accepted. Any student who declines the medical exam will not be permitted to travel.

2. All students participating in international study-abroad must comply with the Tennessee Department of Health and the Lee University policy for matriculation immunizations.  This includes (1) proof of two MMR vaccines and proof of two Varicella vaccines OR (2) documented proof from a physician that you have already had the disease or have positive “titers.” (Antibody titers indicate whether a person is immune to diseases such as measles, chickenpox, or hepatitis.)

3. For diseases or illnesses that are deemed “high risk” in an area of travel, students are required to receive appropriate immunizations; this will be strictly enforced for international travel, without exceptions. For diseases or illnesses deemed “moderate risk” in an area of travel, appropriate immunizations will be highly recommended. After information from and discussion with LUHC, students must sign a waiver if they choose not to receive any highly recommended immunizations.

4. LUHC will not grant travel clearance to students who are non-compliant with physical exams and required immunizations. Students claiming religious exemption for immunizations may choose to receive the required immunizations OR contact the Global Perspectives office for an alternative trip within the United States. For health safety and potential legal reasons, Lee University is unable to grant appeals for religious exemptions from immunizations for international trips. Students traveling domestically will be required to have an immunization record on file. Lee University will neither assume responsibility nor grant travel privileges for anyone who does not meet the requirements delineated above.

Students going on a Lee University Global Perspectives trip should call the Health Clinic at 423-614-8430 to schedule an appointment to get the health clearance process started after completing and submitting the following forms (in "My Forms") on the Student Health Portal (

  • Release of Medical Information/Privacy Notice for Protected Health Information
  • Communication Preferences
  • Emergency Contacts
  • Immunization History for Portal
  • Medical History
  • Mental Health Questionnaire

For additional trip specific requirements, visit the trip page for more information.

Travel Insurance

Faculty-Led Trips have travel insurance built into the cost of the trip. Students going on these trips have the option to purchase additional "Cancel for Any Reason" coverage.

While the Global Perspectives Office does not require students traveling independently to purchase travel insurance, we highly recommend it. We partner with, a division of Insurance Consultants International. Please click the link below if you are going on an Individual Cross-Cultural Study trip and would like to purchase travel insurance. Mission Trip Insurance has information about the different types of policies that you can purchase.

Mission Trip Insurance: Lee University Page