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Cross-Cultural Experience

The Common Experience in King University’s Core Curriculum requires a Cross-Cultural Experience:

The cross-cultural experience allows students to confront their own presuppositions about what culture is and what culture means. The experience also helps students broaden their awareness and appreciation of diverse cultures. It seeks to prepare them to operate more thoughtfully in a world that is increasingly interconnected. As students encounter other cultures, they may realize ways to interact creatively to meet needs they see and will also realize that new situations transform them.

The Cross-Cultural Experience requirement is separate and different from the Chapel, Convocation, and Service (CCS) requirement. Cross-Cultural Experience credit requires

  • at least thirty hours of direct contact with
  • a distinct population following
  • a culture markedly different from the student’s home culture;
  • a written reflection on the student’s presuppositions about the population and its culture, and
  • a written exploration on lessons learned during time with the population, including reflection on how the student’s presuppositions have changed.

A student may fulfill this requirement by participating in one of four activities:

Study Abroad

King students have a long tradition of studying abroad. Many of these opportunities allow students to travel to English speaking countries in Africa, the Pacific, or the U.K, while other destinations allow students to enhance their foreign language skills.

King has relationships with various schools, programs, and universities, which ensures that students receive transferable credit for their coursework in foreign countries.

Visit Travel Opportunities for more information or contact Prof. Karen Shaw at 423.652.4798.

Mission Trips

The University plans several mission trips each year. Short-term trips are scheduled during Spring Break to locations within the U.S. and abroad. The Chaplain’s Office plans longer trips to Africa, India, and other destinations, and campus coaches organize trips that allow athletes to minister to children through sports.

Visit The Peeke School for Christian Missions for more information or contact Prof. Brian Alderman at 423.652.4708.

Local Community Service

Many opportunities exist for students to serve the Bristol community, such as working at the Salvation Army, participating in the Big Brothers-Big Sisters program, supporting a King University International Student, volunteering at Remote Area Medical expeditions, or befriending a child whose parent is in prison.

To fulfill the Cross-Cultural Experience requirement, such activities need to go beyond regular service and address the requirements listed above regarding engagement with and reflection on the culture of a distinct population. Although the local option typically involves working with or through a local mission or service organization, the option is not about community service per se. Not everything that qualifies for CCS credit will qualify for the Cross-Cultural Experience requirement. For example, litter pick-up is a fine community service, but it lacks the cultural dimension required.

Students needing assistance in identifying a local service opportunity should see Ms. Jobieann Taylor, Coordinator for Student Engagement (423.652.4711; jbtaylor@king.edu). They should plan to enroll in KING 3000 before their last semester. This course guides students through the requirements of engagement, culminating in a poster session showcasing the service experience.

Student-Initiated Experience

Students may also propose an activity as fulfilling the Cross-Cultural Experience requirement.

A student-initiated experience requires a demonstration of how the activity meets the requirements listed above. This demonstration has two parts:

  • completion of an in-depth proposal form, available online under “Student Forms” in Portal, and
  • online submission of a 500-word (minimum) essay exploring lessons learned during time with the population, considering also how the student’s presuppositions have changed.

Please note:

  • The student-initiated experience must occur after matriculation to King.
  • The student must complete the self-initiated Cross-Cultural Experience requirement before graduation.
  • Experiences such as tours, vacations, and sport-related travel generally fail to meet the requirement of thirty contact hours of direct engagement with a distinct population and will generally not be accepted.

If a petition is rejected, the student may repetition for the activity after consultation with Dr. Glenn Sanders, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences (423.652.4842; gesanders@king.edu). A second rejection will require the student to enroll in KING 3000 (see above).