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CCS: Course Description

The ability to function in cross cultural settings is no longer a luxury, nor just a good idea. It has become a necessary skill in the ever-shrinking global village. The CCS program at Spring Arbor University (SAU) exposes students to learning about, observing, and participating in cross cultural, on-site situations (mostly overseas). Students are exposed to the five major social institutions – economics, education, the family, government and religion (found in any culture) – and the cultural elements by which those institutions are articulated: architecture, artifacts, crafts, eco-diversity, fine arts, language, leisure activities and music.

Cross Cultural Requirement

Students participate in the four credit hour CCS graduation requirement (CORE 374/375) after the completion of their freshman year. Prerequisite classes include CORE 200 or one semester of foreign language taken at the 102 level or higher. The CCS requirement is best completed during the junior year. CORE 374/375 is a pre-requisite for Core 400 for students who matriculate with less than junior status.

The upper-division CCS courses listed below are available for those students who cannot complete CORE 375 (refer to the SAU academic catalog, General Education Requirements) and have been granted the on-campus exception via petition process by the Faculty Cross Cultural Committee (FCCC). This process must be completed prior to registering for the courses. The student must complete two courses, each course from a different group:

Group 1:

  • SOC 311 Racial & Ethnic Relations
  • SOC 327 Social Stratification

Group 2:

  • SPA 323 Civilization and Culture of Spain
  • SPA 324 Latin American Civilization and Culture
  • HIS/GEO 331 China, India & Japan
  • HIS/GEO 332 Africa
  • HIS 334 The Middle East
  • HIS 335 East Asia
  • HIS 304 Geography and History of Russia/Former Soviet Union
  • HIS 303 Twentieth Century Europe

Group 3:

  • COM 368 International Communication
  • BIB 408 The Bible in Global Perspectives

Alternative experience option

There exist two previous experiences which, if completed prior to SAU matriculation, may waive a student’s CCS 374/375 requirement. Students who wish to petition for a waiver should first participate in an interview appointment with the Director of CCS.

If the experience meets certain qualifications, he or she must apply for the waiver and complete the required paper for evaluation by the Faculty CCS Committee within two semesters of matriculation at SAU. This process is initiated through the use of a petition/application form available from the CCS office.

Program strengths and emphases

Cross cultural experiences led by SAU professors have included the following countries: American Samoa, Australia, Austria, Belize, Cambodia, China, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Egypt, England/Scotland, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Hungary, India, Israel, Italy, Ireland, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Morocco, Russia, South Korea, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Uganda and Zambia. Experiences at new destinations are currently being developed.

Individualized option cross cultural experiences (IOCCS) in almost any country of the world may meet the requirements. Overseas semester experiences may be worth up to 15 hours of credit and include travel for about the same cost as a semester on campus. Get additional details on the Individualized Options section of the Cross Cultural Studies Experiences page.  Get more information on semester-long opportunities.


Director of Cross Cultural Studies (CCS): Diane Kurtz,

CCS faculty are drawn from across all disciplines of the university.

Related majors and minors

Students that are interested in pursuing a degree that involves cross cultural learning are encouraged to consider a related major and minor that is offered at SAU. Below is a list of majors and minors that might meet those needs:

  • Global Studies Major
  • Cross Cultural Communication Minor
  • Sociology
  • Political Economy
  • French (major and minor)
  • Spanish (major and minor)
  • Individualized major or minor: Students are encouraged to consider an individualized major or minor in Cross Cultural Studies to complement the general education requirements. Students with special interest in ministry, missions, communication, and diplomacy have formulated such programs.

Career opportunities

Cross cultural principles and developed skills can appropriately and proactively apply to and be beneficial in any job or career which has connection with people. However, there are some specific careers that will reward those with the greatest cross cultural understanding and skill, including, but not limited to, education, business, diplomacy, political science, social work, sociology, and ministry/religion. In addition, careers in diplomacy, translation, broadcasting and journalism demand cultural experience and skills.