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Student-generated International Placements


Because there are students who arrive at seminary with a call to ministry abroad, the Office of Field Education attempts to provide an opportunity that will enable them to test that call. However, we cannot continue to expand our pool of summer placements. Therefore, we will not entertain student requests for new summer international placements. The only acceptable student-generated placements are approved
yearlong internships.

The primary reason for this is our need to develop long-term relationships with our sites and supervisors. Adequate supervision is essential in any field education experience, and as we work with supervisors year after year, we come to understand each other better. This is especially important in a short-term placement. Although we provide students with a basic cross-cultural orientation, international site supervisors are better informed concerning their context. So, we look to them for help with students’ acculturation as well as with training in ministry skills for the context. A ten- to twelve-week placement in the summer can be a life changing experience, but it can also be traumatic. Therefore, the more we know about sites and supervisors, the better we can select and prepare a student to minimize culture shock and maximize ministry.

Some students have a strong sense of call to a region where we do not have a placement. We encourage such students to first of all, apply for a summer international internship based on our pool of sites. Or, find a placement in an urban, rural, or other cross-cultural context such as CPE. The foregoing could qualify as a cross-cultural placement leading up to an international placement. In addition, students may draw up a proposal for a yearlong international internship abroad which must include:

PTS application to the international program
PTS application form for an international placement, which includes site location, contact information, name of the supervisor, etc.
A rationale as to how this placement would relate to the student’s vocational focus
A letter of support from the student’s congregation or committee of care
Plans to finance the placement

This proposal must be submitted to the Office of Field Education by March 1 of the junior year with a request to postpone the academic year placement in order to do a yearlong internship. A decision on the proposal will be made by or before September 1 of the middler year. Again, the site must submit a placement description form and provide funding (stipend, travel, housing, insurance). If the proposal is not accepted, the student would then have to do his/her academic year placement during her/his senior year.

This is a time-consuming and expensive process. We strongly suggest that, instead, students interested in year-long internships apply to the Young Adult Volunteer Program of the Presbyterian Church (USA), which offers yearlong internships throughout the world. We accept the PCUSA process without an additional proposal. Students of any denomination may apply to this program. Those who are selected by PCUSA are required to raise program costs but receive a stipend for living expenses, travel, etc. and help with repayment of student loans. We will also consider yearlong internships (but not summer placements) sponsored by other denominational bodies, provided adequate funding and quality supervision is provided.