The goals of international field education are:

  • To learn about the church in other cultures, languages, and traditions
  • To be stretched and transformed by the gospel as it is lived out in another country
  • To be equipped for cross-cultural ministry and to develop sensitivity to the needs of the world

The Divinity School’s summer internships in International Field Education place theological education and pastoral training in the context of an increasingly interconnected global community. These international placements have been offered since 2001, when three divinity school students spent the summer serving in South Africa. Since then, interest and applications to the program have risen dramatically. The program now includes internships in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, South Africa, Kenya, Malawi, South Sudan and Uganda.

Students selected for these 10-week summer placements receive a stipend to offset travel and living expenses as well as tuition assistance.  Many students have ranked this opportunity among the top five reasons that they chose Duke Divinity School over other seminaries.

Review the Field Education Policies & Procedure Manual (pdf) and learn more about the International Field Education process including:

  • International Field Ed Policies & Procedures
  • Student-Initiated International Placements
  • Duke Divinity School’s International Initiatives

Application Process

To apply for international field education:

  • Fill out an International Field Education application and bring it in person to our office by the posted deadline to secure an interview time.
  • Be prepared and prompt for your interview.
  • If selected, you will receive further information specific to your placement. All selected students should plan to purchase airfare before receiving a stipend. In addition, students must have a valid passports and obtain a visa to travel; passports must be valid for at least 6 months after your travel dates. Some destinations may require additional documents and vaccinations.

    Requirements:

    You must attend an International Field Education Orientation meeting in the spring semester.

    You must complete a learning-serving covenant, reflection papers, and final evaluations.

    You must participate in the International Ministry Awareness week presentations held in October after your return.

    Summer Placements

    Kenya

    • Students travel to Indianapolis, Ind., to learn about the Umoja Project in Kenya, a partnership that assists children living in vulnerable households by providing support for education, food security, basic personal care and household needs, as well as emotional and spiritual support.
    • Students then spend 8 weeks in Kenya working with the leaders of the Umoja project, building the long-term capacity of the community to care for children by strengthening congregations, schools, and household guardians. Divinity School students participate by teaching in the local schools and building relationships with Kenyans through shared community and ecclesial life.
    • Students return to Indianapolis to debrief their experience and strengthen partner congregation connections with Umoja.
    • This placement exposes students to a model for global ministry in an ecumenical setting, focusing on strengthening relationships between congregations in the U.S. and the people of Kenya.
    • Learn more about The Umoja Project (pdf) »

    Malawi

    • Students travel to United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kan., for a week of training with missions staff and key Malawi volunteer leaders to learn about the global long-term partnership model with the Malawi United Methodist Church for capacity building and community transformation. Students return to the church for the last week of their internship to debrief their experience in Malawi.
    • Students spend 8 weeks in Malawi working with both Malawi United Methodist Church pastors and staff, teaching, preaching, and working alongside leaders in education, health and nutrition programs, agricultural efforts, worship, community gardens, and empowerment programs.
    • Students will experience both urban and rural life as part of Spirit-led ministry in the "Warm Heart of Africa," where they will be welcomed with open arms in true Malawian hospitality.

    South Sudan

    • Students spend 6 weeks in Mundri at the Bishop Ngalamu Theological College (BNTC), a seminary of the Episcopal Church of Sudan. Opportunities include: teaching at the seminary, connecting with World Harvest Mission, gardening, engaging with local churches and visiting the local hospital.
    • Students spend 4 weeks in Yei working with the United Methodist Church. Opportunities include: teaching/Christian education, leading vacation bible school, assisting with rural health programs, and teaching pastors.

    South Africa

    • Students are placed in churches and community ministries throughout the country of South Africa.
    • Ministry opportunities include: racial reconciliation, support programs for prisoners, HIV/AIDS patients, refugees, and orphans.
    • Students participate in worship leadership, Bible study and teaching opportunities in the local church, making this a great learning environment for students interested in parish ministry.
    • Students debrief their experience on a retreat with Peter Storey in Cape Town prior to returning to the U.S.

    Uganda

    • Students serve at a rural Catholic parish and school, Cathedral Parish of Kasana Luweero, led by Father Joseph Kakooza.
    • Students teach English, theology, and physical education classes as well as assist in worship and live in the daily rhythms of parish life.
    • Students participate in a dynamic community of faith in Africa while living and working in a village parish setting.

    Guatemala/El Salvador

    • Four weeks of one-on-one Spanish training in Guatemala
    • Students live with a Spanish-speaking family and learn the culture and history of Guatemala
    • Final six weeks spent in El Salvador immersed in Spanish and working with the Evangelical Methodist Church
    • Opportunities to preach, teach, assist with medical clinics, and do home repair

    Guatemala/US-Mexico Border

    • Four weeks of one-on-one Spanish training in Guatemala
    • Students are placed at a Methodist congregation on the U.S.-Mexico border in Mexicali, Baja California.
    • Students will visit congregation members, teach Bible study, preach, and participate in community outreach.
    • Students practice their theological vocabulary and develop a deeper understanding of immigration by having conversations with experts on immigration, and by working hand-in-hand with practitioners assisting immigrants on the border, allowing students to return to the U.S. better equipped to engage the Hispanic population in their communities.
    Self-Initiated International Placements

    Student may self-initiate an international internship. The Divinity School does not provide funding for self-initiated placements.

    The Field Education calendar indicates the deadlines for these applications and the interview process.

    Interviews for self-initiated placements take place between the student and the Office of Field Education.

    In the interview process, the Office of Field Education will ascertain the appropriateness of the placement for field education credit. The Office of Field Education may consult with other Divinity School staff or faculty in determining the suitability of the placement for field education credit.

    Things to Consider for Self-Initiated International Placements

    • Are you willing to make all financial, travel, and accommodation arrangements — including the procurement of your passport, visa, vaccinations and all other travel documents?
    • Are you willing to raise money in order to fund this experience, understanding that the Divinity School may not assist with any expenses, nor with a stipend or grant?
    • Will the setting offer appropriate supervision for the pursuit of your vocational identity?  Is the international supervisor you have in mind committed to the practice regular theological reflection with you? Is the international supervisor you have in mind willing to complete the evaluative processes required for field education credit?

    Kasana Cathedral Parish, Uganda

    At the end of her first year, M.Div. student Pilar Timpane spent her summer doing Field Education work in Luweero, Uganda. At Kasana Cathedral Parish, a Catholic parish ministry overseen by Father Joseph Nyanzi-Kakooza, Pilar's duties included teaching at St. Jude Primary school and St. Cyprian High School and participating in parish life. Also a filmmaker, Pilar created a 10-minute documentary for the parish and another short film to highlight some of the sights and sounds of her experience.