Intercultural Experiences

Map of Hesston College transcultural experience locations

For over half a century, Hesston College has offered unique, immersive intercultural experiences. From programs in Europe and Asia, Central and South America, and vibrantly diverse settings the U.S., generations of students have gained life-altering new perspectives along with their academic credits as part of the Hesston Experience.

Current Programs (in order of upcoming offerings)

  • International Chorale (1980-present): The choral programs on campus combine to for a series of concerts performed in various countries every two years. Past itineraries have largely focused on western Europe, thanks in part to families in small towns like Alkmaar and Jaure in the Netherlands and Neuwied in Germany, who have hosted Hesston students in their homes for decades. The next planned international chorale tour will be in May 2022.
  • India (2012-present): Director of International Admissions John Murray and Nursing Instructor Kristi Martin lead a group of nursing students on a service trip to India. The next planned trip to India will be in December 2022. View the program brochure here.
  • Russia (2010-present): Director of Nursing Gregg Schroeder leads nursing majors and other interested students on a two-week academic and cultural tour of prominent cities and historical sites in western Russia. Highlights include presentations at a university in Veliky Novgorod, Moscow and St. Petersburg, and rural villages and folk centers. The next planned Russia trip will be in spring of 2023.
  • Japan (2017-present): Director of Intercultural Programs André Swartley and Education/ESL Professor Heidi Hochstetler lead a group of students and community members on the first biennial study term in southern Japan. Highlights include visiting the immaculate palace grounds of a feudal lord near one of the world’s most active volcanoes, and hearing the live testimony of an atomic bomb survivor in Hiroshima. The next planned Japan trip will be in May 2023. View the planned itinerary here.
  • Philadelphia (2017-present): Bible and Religion Professor Michele Hershberger leads a group of students to Philadelphia, Pa., for three-week study of race, social justice and theology with an Indonesian Mennonite church and a Muslim mosque. The students live and serve in Black, Latinx and Indonesian communities. The next planned Philadelphia trip will be in May 2023.

Recent Programs

  • MDS Summer Field Experience (2006-20): Disaster Management students study and serve for eight weeks on active MDS sites in the U.S. and Canada. Students have also participated in weeklong service projects over spring break since 2016.
  • Thailand (2019): President Joe Manickam and Biology Professor Kyle Miller Hesed led a group of students and community members to Manickam’s native Thailand for a two-week interfaith study of language and culture, in partnership with Haroon Mosque and Payap University, among others.
  • China (2018): Hesston College graduate Mackenzie Miller (’18) pursued her passion for Chinese language and culture by embarking on the first HC-sponsored gap year at Nanjing Normal University in Nanjing, China.

The world continues to grow more interesting and complex as we progress through the 21st Century, and Hesston College believes it is more important than ever to incorporate intercultural competence and empathy into our curriculum. Experiences like these are only a few of the ways we strive to educate and nurture each student within Christ-centered community, integrating thought, life and faith for service to others in the church and the world.

Hesston College Intercultural Experiences Map