Living and Learning Study Abroad has a bold academic vision which is unique in the world of international education. Our desire is to offer academic programs of the highest quality, based on a platform of Evangelical Christian education. We, however, are not an accredited college in our own right. We also realize that fully operational and accredited universities with a Christian academic agenda are not in place in most countries outside of the U.S. This means we must work with a respected, accredited U.S. university for the accreditation of all Living and Learning Semester programs and courses.
Trinity Christian College (TCC) has agreed to partner with Living and Learning Study Abroad to serve as ourAcademic Sponsor. This relationship affords Living and Learning the academic oversight necessary for its initiatives, while enjoying TCC’s ongoing involvement, assessments, evaluation and accountability. The Provost of TCC, Dr. Liz Rudenga, also serves on the Executive Board of the Living and Learning Academic Advisory Council.
TCC embodies the most important distinctive of a Christian college: the belief that every person has been created for a purpose, and that this purpose can be better understood through a Christ-centered educational experience that integrates academics with spiritual and social development opportunities. At TCC, students are challenged to become individuals whose skills, integrity and sense of purpose glorify God and distinguish them in the workplace and in the world.
Ranked in 2010 as one of the top baccalaureate colleges in the Midwest by U.S.News & World Report, Trinity Christian College is an accredited liberal arts college offering nearly 40 programs of study. Students acquire invaluable knowledge from dedicated professors who integrate a Christian worldview into the curriculum. Students are encouraged to evaluate their lives in relationship to God, to others, and to all of creation.
With TCC standing with us, you can be assured that all Living and Learning programs will be trustworthy and excellent in terms of its curricula, faculty qualifications, contact hours, study and research expectations, grading, and overall academic administration. Additionally, we are committed to all Living and Learning programs adhering to the recognized standards of best practices in the field of study abroad. Therefore, all programs will be regularly assessed on the basis of the Standards of Good Practice for Education Abroad, developed by the Forum on Education Abroad. These standards include baseline expectations regarding academic integrity, learning environments, health and safety, student learning and development, student conduct and advising, and student learning and development.
Living and Learning International has assembled an Advisory Board to assure Academic and Programatic excellence. This board convenes annually for complete review of the Quito based program. After complete review in 2012 the Board published the following letter of recomendation.
Living and Learning Semester Program
The advisory board for the Living and Learning in Quito semester program traveled to Quito in March 2012. Based on that experience, which included conversations with students, interviews with professors, a visit to a host family, observation of internship sites, and discussion with the director of the Spanish language school, we offer our wholehearted endorsement of the program.
Quito, Ecuador provides an ideal learning environment. The city itself is vibrant, busy, and rich in historical, cultural, and religious significance. Students have the opportunity to learn directly from the residents themselves through home stays, internships, and participation in local churches.
As the semester starts, students live in an apartment-type setting, supervised by a resident assistant.
Students spoke with appreciation of the extensive orientation they experienced when they first arrived in Quito. After a few weeks students move to a home stay with an Ecuadorian family, which helps to ensure that they don’t simply hang out with North American students while living in an international setting. Staff in Ecuador carefully select and evaluate the home stay experience.
Students take several classes, including a Spanish course that is suited to their level of proficiency. They attest to the significant amount of time spent in academic work and their learning. Professors have the appropriate academic credentials and experience in their field and display a personal interest in students. The director of the Spanish language school is well-versed in Spanish language instruction pedagogy.
Two key experiential components of the program are an internship for each student and short-term mission trips. The selection of the internship is based on the student’s major and/or area of interest; students report this experience as being central to their overall development. They have two opportunities to travel to the Amazon region and to do outreach and ministry: one trip in the middle of the semester and then a return for a longer period at the end of the semester. The spiritual environment is one that challenges and fosters spiritual growth; many students remarked about their own faith development. Planned excursions – hiking, standing on the equator, a trip to the beach and Galapagos Islands – enrich the semester experience.
The connection of the coursework and learning activities to the students’ actual experience living and ministering in Quito makes the program valuable and life-changing. In the words of one of the students: “This semester was amazing! I learned more about God and my relationship with Him grew closer. I have new life-long friendships and my own life was changed.” In conclusion, we recommend the Quito Semester Program to any university looking for a vibrant cross-cultural, academic, and spiritual experience to provide for its students.
The Living and Learning in Quito Advisory Board
Mel Flikkema (Provost at Kuyper College)
Rick Ostrander (Provost at Cornerstone University)
Liz Rudenga (Provost at Trinity Christian College)
Don Woo (Dean for Ethnic Diversity and Multicultural Programs at Trinity Christian College)