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Around-the-World Semester®

Concordia University Irvine

The Around-the-World Semester challenges students to think globally as they travel, learn, and serve in 10 different countries.

The ATW experience is a unique study-abroad experience because it offers students the opportunity to work in a learning community. Students travel from country to country in airplanes, trains, buses, and even camels—but they always travel together. Students study, attend classes, and earn 15-units of college coursework, and they do this academic work together. Each day of the semester involves some form of service, and yes, the students accomplish this service in teams together!

The ATW Semester has been crafted to help students grow in their Christian faith, to grow in their intellectual capacity, to grow in empathy and cross-cultural vision.

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Complete the general study abroad application to get the process started!

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Testimonial Quote

I speak as a pastor in our church body and as a parent of my own child who benefited from the Around-the-World program. It was an extraordinary gift to me, my daughter, and the church at large. My daughter is an excellent teacher. The perspective she gained from ATW about the world in which we live and about sharing the gospel was life-changing and invaluable. Those experiences are now woven into her lessons, and shape the minds of her students. I could not have orchestrated it any better myself, but I know God did.
Thank you, Concordia University Irvine for facilitating such an incredible life changing experience.

- Pastor Jeff Schrank


  • Learn through unique, built-in comparative academics.
  • Serve others through philanthropic/humanitarian work in every country.
  • Grow your faith through new encounters with God and His people.
  • Experience adventures in every new place you land.


  • Earn a minor in Global Cultural Studies.
  • Complete 18 units in 8 courses.
  • Read primary literary and religious texts from each country.
  • Study in a learning community with other students.
  • Learn about, from, and with locals from each country.

Learn More


  • Serve with missionaries and church leaders who are using their influence to bless their communities.
  • Make meaningful connections with people living around the world.
  • Share your gifts and love with other students.

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  • Pray, worship, and study the Christian scriptures with your teammates.
  • Live in community with your fellow travelers.
  • Devote yourself to the study of God's Word.
  • Find and develop your identity in Christ.

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Some of our teams have:

  • Camped in the Jordanian desert outside Petra.
  • Trekked by horseback across the Mongolian steppes.
  • Gone swimming under waterfalls in places like Bali, Thailand, and Brazil.
  • Spent the night on top of Mount Sinai.
  • Explored safaris with African wildlife in Kenya and South Africa.
  • Hiked through Peruvian mountains to Machu Picchu.
  • Climbed through the ancient ruins of Angkor Wat.

Experience More

Image of rolling hills and forests in Guatemala


Exploration is one of the foundational components of the Around-the-World Semester. We explore 10 countries on each expedition, and the types of explorations range widely. Each country involves some form of culinary adventure; some of the favorites have been the churrascarias in Brazil, the Sichuan hot pots in China, and the Balinese roast pork.

Teams have also enjoyed new explorations in local transportation, including camel trekking in Jordan’s Wadi Rum, felucca sailing on the Nile River in Egypt, and Bamboo Train expeditions in Cambodia. Since 2010 the ATW teams have explored many different national treasures—a few include the sandstone city of Petra, Jordan, the rocky caves of Cappadocia, Turkey, the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt, safaris in Kenya’s Masai Mara and South Africa’s Kruger National Park, the Great Wall of China, and the Sea of Galilee in Israel.

Each ATW Semester is different, and each team explores new foods, new places, new sites, and new national treasures. One thing that each team takes away from the semester is a new and broadened appreciation for the beauty and majesty of God’s creation.

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Program Costs

Students who participate in the Around-the-World Semester pay a program fee of $13,000. The ATW program fee comes in addition to tuition (academic scholarships still apply). The program fee takes the place of room and board expenses typically paid for a semester on campus.

The ATW program fee includes:

  • Logistics management from departure to return
  • Round-trip international airfare
  • Regional transportation
  • Lodging & approximately 1/3 associated meals
  • Service project materials and planning
  • Special experiential team meals
  • Mid-semester destination vacation
  • Excursions (kayaking, ziplining, horseback riding, etc…)
  • Team museum entry fees
  • Robust travel insurance policy
  • Visa application fees
  • Orientation and Debrief

The ATW program fee does not include:

  • Cost to acquire a passport
  • Required vaccinations
  • In-country discretionary costs such as shopping
  • Personal meals, approximately 2/3
  • COVID-19 testing and any COVID-19-related costs
  • Laundry during the program
  • Airport transportation to LAX & pickup from LAX
  • Anything not listed in “The ATW program fee includes.”
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