Applied Leadership

Intercultural Studies

Program Overview

Expand your impact and develop a deeper understanding of mission.


In our globalized world, the ability to relate across cultures is crucial. The Intercultural Studies (ICS) program is designed to equip you with the spiritual wisdom, academic knowledge and practical experience to share Christ effectively as you serve in a variety of contexts.

Intercultural Studies integrates meaningful classroom instruction with hands-on, experiential learning. Courses in Community Development, World Religions, Anthropology and Urban mission challenge you to think deeply about current issues. An eight-month internship during the third year of the degree program allows you to study across cultures, gain practical service experience and apply the principles you have learned in class.

We equip you to humbly and passionately live the Gospel as you work cross-culturally, form relationships, and explore your calling.


Video: A Look at Intercultural Studies


Called to Go

Called to Go

The Intercultural Studies program is a practical, hands-on degree rooted in learning from people from different cultures all over the world. When Andre & Kari travelled to Paris for their eight-month internship, they learned a suprising lesson about what it means to be a missionary.


Watch Andre & Kari's story »

Year 3: Your Intercultural internship

"Internship offers more than a classroom ever could. You learn a new cultural language. You discover new skills and abilities. You realize there are billions of people who have diverse and exciting ways of experiencing life."


You'll spend the third year of your program in an eight-month intercultural internship. This is your chance to immerse yourself in a brand new culture and put your classroom learning into action! If you're like most of our interns, you'll come home with a new love for God & people, and a nuanced understanding of complex global issues.

Over eight months, you'll serve, build relationships, learn language skills, and be mentored by a local Christian. Written assignments will help you reflect on your extraordinary experiences, and our ICS faculty & staff team will coach you along the way.

You probably have many questions about the ICS internship.  We've prepared a handy set of FAQs for you.  If you can't find the answer to your question, feel free to get in touch with the ICS Program Director.


Kate in Guatemala

Kate in Guatemala


“It has been an incredible experience for me to read about the value of empowering and educating women and then see it in action right here in Guatemala.”

Robbie in Ecuador

Robbie in Ecuador


“When you are suddenly far away from your home community, you are on the cusp of experiencing an incredibly unique opportunity to find love in places you never would have expected.”

Mallery in Indonesia

Mallery in Indonesia


"Throughout my time, here in Indonesia I have truly been in awe of the complexity of God’s character from reading the Bible, making new friends and observing Him in this culture."

AJ in the Phillipines

AJ in Phillipines


“I appreciate the beautiful attitude the Philippine people have toward life even after suffering and loss. Their emotional fortitude is admirable.”

ICS Internship FAQ

Where can I go on internship?

ICS interns have served everywhere from Portugal to Peru, Ireland to India. Outside of travel advisories and other safety concerns, you get to choose any destination you want. Dream big!

When do I go on internship?

ICS internship occurs after you’ve completed 2 years (60 credit hours) of study. Contact the Registrar to see whether you are approved to go or if you still need more prerequisites.

How long is internship?

Your internship must be a minimum of 8 months. Some students fall in love with the community where they are living and have stayed up to 2 years! Check with your preferred organization to ensure they are able to host/mentor you for 8 months.

Is the internship required?

Yes, you must complete your internship to receive your BA degree. Some students choose to work within cross-cultural contexts closer to home (e.g. work with refugee groups, First Nations communities, etc.)

What if I'm married?

Many of the organizations we work with are happy to have you join them as a spouse team! Check with the organization for their specific requirements.

How do I find an internship placement?

Your ICS Program Director will help you every step of the way!

  • Begin by thinking about your own personal gifts, career dreams and calling.
  • Attend the various info meetings that are offered on campus in your second year of study.
  • Check our online internship postings and see if any appeal to you. If so, learn more about that organization through their website and staff.
  • Have a conversation with Kara Bergstrom, Program Director.
  • Pray and seek wise counsel from respected people who love you.
  • If everything seems positive, begin to move ahead with the organization’s application process.
  • Fill out CBC’s Learning Covenant and submit.

What does internship cost?

To do internship, you pay $3,750 to Columbia Bible College for tuition. In addition, you will be responsible to cover the costs that your organization suggests for flight, in-country costs, travel visas, immunizations, etc. Many of our students are able to fundraise to cover these costs.  Check to make sure that you can raise funds through your organization and that your donors can be given charitable receipts.

What is a mentor and what do they do?

A mentor is your coach on the ground - someone who will meet with you regularly to give you support, training, and advice. You can read about the Mentor Expectations & Responsibilities here.

How many credits will I receive for internship?

In total, you will receive 24 credit hours for your internship:

  • Internship practicum (12 hours)
  • World Religions II (3 hours)
  • Mission Contextualization (3 hours)
  • Intercultural Adaptation (3 hours)
  • Ethnography (3 hours)
Prior to departure, you will need to complete a TESOL course (3 hours). Following your return, you will need to take Theology of Mission (3 hours). When you add these 6 hours to the above 24 hours, you receive a total of 30 credit hours throughout your 3rd year of study.

How do I complete assignments on internship?

You'll have a clear set of guidelines to follow. You'll submit your work by email to the ICS Director, who will mark your assignments and give you feedback.

What happens after I return from internship?

Returning to your home culture, family and College campus can be challenging after such an amazing and unique experience. We are here to walk with you!

In Fall of your fourth year, you will take Mission Seminar Class. This gives you an opportunity to work through what you learned alongside other ICS interns who were living around the world. You will have opportunities to debrief with the Program Director. CBC also has a reputable Counselling Program that offers super-affordable help when you need it. There also multiple opportunities to give back to CBC by getting involved in formal and informal community/leadership opportunities.


ICS Internships ICS Info for Orgs ICS Info for Orgs

Academic Info

Diploma in Intercultural Studies

The two-year diploma in Intercultural Studies is designed to prepare you to engage effectively in cross-cultural relationships. Intentional discipleship, solid biblical knowledge, and cultural learning will provide the initial training to propel you further into your field. Equipped to serve, ICS diploma graduates engage in God’s mission in a wide variety of contexts. Many students continue studies in health-related or educational vocations including nursing, TESL or community development.

Bachelor of Arts in Practical Theology, Major in Intercultural Studies

A degree in Intercultural Studies at Columbia combines solid academic study with service-based experience under a mentor. Jesus modeled this practice-orientated approach to learning when he trained his disciples (see Luke 10:1-23). The ICS internship is a critical component of the program where students experience life in another context to better understand intercultural dynamics for the purpose of Christian witness and service. This degree is holistic and integrative and will equip you to better understand and interpret the Bible, appreciate and serve in new cultures, understand the complexities of church ministry and community development, and explore your calling. Students graduating with an Intercultural Studies degree have gone on to serve crossculturally in a variety of contexts including mission organizations, non-profit agencies, peace and justice advocacy, and urban and refugee ministry. Students can also pursue a graduate degree in their focused area of interest.

Intercultural Studies Minors

Each degree student at Columbia has the option to select a minor in a variety of fields. Your minor can complement your major field of study by rounding out your skills, making you more employable in various fields. Learn more about available minors.


Bible Teaching
Social Entrepreneurship
Counselling & Human Services
Church Ministry
Ministry to Children
Outdoor Rec Leadership
Practical Ministry
Worship Arts
Youth Work

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