About BCA Study Abroad

Since 1962, BCA Study Abroad has been committed to helping students understand the complexities of the contemporary world by providing challenging academic programs and cross-cultural learning in locations around the globe. From its start, BCA has focused its educational mission on engaging students with ideas that matter. As a result, students who participate in a BCA program gain a more comprehensive and precise understanding of the world.

Mission Statement:

"Rooted in the values of peace and justice, BCA promotes international understanding, awareness of global citizenship and academic scholarship through educational exchange."

Educational Mission and Program Structure

As educators, we are convinced that no genuine understanding of global issues can be gained without a strong intellectual grounding in the histories, societies and cultures of the region in which our students pursue their studies. Furthermore, we believe that student learning in all of our programs depends heavily on meaningful direct contact with local people whose lives are entwined with and affected by the issues we aim to understand.

Organizational Structure

BCA Study Abroad is an independent, non-profit 501(c)(3), international education organization founded in 1962 by a consortium of seven colleges of the Brethren tradition. The presidents of the founding colleges constitute the BCA board of directors. For many years now, BCA Study Abroad has engaged internationally-minded students from a wide range of institutions–-more than 100 different U.S. universities and colleges--including many students from our original partners. The BCA Study Abroad Academic Council, which is a small team of academics from various colleges and universities, reviews courses for academic credit. Elizabethtown College (in the small number of cases where this is needed by our partners) provides transcripts, but in most cases transcripts come from our host universities abroad or our partners accredit the programs based on BCA grade reports. Our home office staff members (six professionals) in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, handle all academic, administrative, financial, and institutional relations responsibilities, often in close collaboration with our on-site resident directors abroad who are responsible for program design, implementation and quality-control at each of our sites.

 Professional Memberships/Affiliations


BCA Study Abroad, the first 50 Years: 1962-2012

BCA's first program was launched on August 16, 1962, when 20 students set sail for Europe (portion of group seen in this picture). After ten days at sea, the group arrived in Rotterdam, Holland, eagerly anticipating a rich cultural experience. A chartered bus with luggage trailer met them in Rotterdam and transported them around Amsterdam for two days before delivering them to Marburg, Germany, on August 29. Five students who traveled ahead joined the group to total 25—nine men and 16 women—from seven colleges.

From this start, BCA expanded to new sites and by 1978 was operating study centers in Marburg, Germany; Strasbourg, France; Barcelona, Spain; and Cheltenham, England. A number of new programs were added through the 80s and 90s, and in more recent years BCA opened sites in India, and, most recently, in Austria and Palestine. While our services and offerings have been enriched over the years, BCA's commitment to its founding values of peace and justice has remained and continues to be an integral part of all our programs.