Bethel University has long recognized the importance of offering its students a wide range of off-campus educational opportunities in both domestic and international locations. Such experiences are a significant part of the academic program at Bethel, providing an opportunity for expanded understanding of the world. Bethel sponsors a wide variety of programs of its own as well as several in collaboration with host organizations, consortiums, and universities around the globe. Students must attend Bethel at least one semester before participating in an off-campus studies program.

The Office of Off-Campus Programs/International Studies offers information and assistance to all students interested in studying abroad and in other off-campus locations, either short-term or for a semester.

Several components of the General Education curriculum are intended to prepare graduates for life in the interconnected, mutually dependent global community. The off-campus, cross-cultural experience (Z) course requirement can be met by successfully completing a semester abroad. In addition, off-campus interim courses that incorporate interaction with people from another culture and have been pre-approved by the General Education committee also fulfill this requirement. Cross-cultural experience courses include a Z in the course number.