Application Information

It’s great that you want to apply! On this page you will find the majority of the information you will need to make an application for the Intercultural Encounter Scheme bursary. See below for Key Dates and DeadlinesFrequently Asked Questions about the scheme, and information about the application itself. Please read through this page carefully, and if you have further questions, don’t hesitate to contact the Encounter Coordinator.

An completed application consists of an Application Form and two references. All parts of your application must reach the Encounter Coordinator by post or email by your chosen application deadline (either January or May). Please note, if references have not been received by the due date, the application will not be considered.

In general, if you’re thinking about applying, it makes sense to contact the Encounter Coordinator beforehand. The Coordinator can help you strengthen your application and ensure it is as strong as possible for the panel of Trustees to assess.

Key Dates for 2018 Applications:

  • Monday 22nd January 2018 – First Application Round Deadline
  • 6-8th February 2018 – Notifications of application results
  • Monday 7th May 2018 – Second Application Round Deadline
  • 22nd-24th May 2018 – Notifications of application results
  • Saturday 9th June 2018 – Induction Day
  • Monday 1st October 2018 – Reflective Reports Due
  • Saturday 20th October 2018 – Debrief Day


Frequently Asked Questions about the Scheme

  • Am I eligible to apply?

    Please see the Encounter homepage for our full criteria. Our main requirements are that:

    • You are between the ages of 18 and 40, or a mature student;
    • You have a Cambridge connection;
    • You are going on a placement of at least four weeks;
    • Your placement will be with an active Christian community in a culture other than your own, with a named contact who will be hosting/supervising your placement.

    Conditions for receipt of the bursary itself are:

    • Attendance at an Induction Day pre-placement, and a Debrief Day on your return;
    • Submission of a 2000 word reflective report on your experiences.
  • What counts as a Cambridge connection?

    We interpret this very broadly. You could have grown up in Cambridge, attend a church in or around Cambridge, or be a student or graduate of one of Cambridge’s universities. If you’re not sure, contact the Encounter Coordinator to discuss your situation.

  • I’m not a Christian. Can I still apply?

    Yes. We ask that applicants be open and willing to spend time in a Christian community in another context but recipients themselves need not identify as Christian. You will have to fill out the same application form as everyone else, which does ask questions about Christian mission. But there have been successful applications in the past from people who do not identify as Christian. Indeed, some of these recipients found that spending time with Christians in other parts of the world opens up new ways of looking at the church in Britain.

  • How much are the bursaries for?

    The maximum amount for a bursary is £1000, though the average award is generally smaller than this. In general, we would expect our bursary to cover no more than two-thirds the total cost of your trip. We set this limit for two reasons. Firstly, we want to be able to fund as many meaningful bursaries as possible. Secondly, we think it’s important that you have a wide range of supporters who will be interested in your travel and looking forward to hearing about it when you come home. If you need help thinking about how to raise the additional money, contact our Encounter Coordinator who can give you some pointers.

  • Where can I go and What can I do?

    Pretty much anywhere to do anything! The key criterion is that you spend time with a Christian community in a culture other than your own. For many people, that means travelling to another country, but there are many diverse cultures in the United Kingdom as well.

    Participants are expected to engage in some form of mission during their placement (service, environmental protection, social development, justice and peace…). Do read our ‘What is Mission‘ page and use the Five Marks of Mission to help you reflect on what you feel called to do on placement.

    Many of our bursary recipients link their placement to their occupation. The Encounter scheme allows you to experience your vocation in a completely different culture, which can be incredibly formative when you return home. For instance, we have funded ordinands travelling abroad to experience the global church, medics working in Christian hospitals, teachers helping at a school in another culture, and a lawyer working with an international Christian law charity.

  • Care for Creation Mission - A Rocha Partnership

    Care for the environment is not an optional extra for a few concerned Christians on the fringes of the church; it is an integral part of our mission as God’s people.

    Applications are welcome for part-funding from individuals who have already been accepted to work in one of A Rocha’s field study centres outside of the UK (Canada, France, Kenya or Portugal).

    A Rocha is an international Christian organisation which helps communities engage in nature conservation. You could be involved in areas as diverse as ringing seabirds, leading children’s programmes, making meals for large groups, or working with Geographic Information Systems. Warning: past volunteers report career development, heightened cross-cultural understanding and an expanded sense of community following their time at A Rocha.

    Visit Opportunities with A Rocha for current openings and the online application form, noting that you are interested in the CCCW bursary. Also see A Rocha’s sister-page on this partnership. CCCW will be offering 2 partial bursaries for this scheme.

  • I’m interested, but I have no idea how to begin or where to go. Can you help me?

    Absolutely! While some applicants come to us with a well formed idea in mind, many others have an interest in cross-cultural immersion but no idea where to begin. The Encounter Coordinator can draw on the Centre’s large network of contacts around the world to provide some options to get you thinking.

    To begin with, you may want to think about these questions:

    • Your skills and interests. What can you offer and what skills would you like the opportunity to develop? (Music, sports, English, a passion for justice or the environment, working with children or young people, medical skills, teaching skills…)
    • Are you willing to be challenged in aspects of your faith and culture?
    • When others do things differently to what you expect, are you able to remain open and non-judgmental?
    • Do you speak another language?
    • Is there a part of the world you are particularly interested in learning more about?

    Placements can often be established through church or personal links, or through mission organisations, with people who already know the environment you are planning to visit.

  • I don’t have four weeks to travel. Can I go for a shorter trip?

    In addition to being transformative and energizing, cross-cultural encounter can also be bewildering and confusing. In our experience, very short experiences do not provide opportunities for the kind of learning and growth that we hope to see in our recipients. As a result, we stick pretty close to four weeks as a minimum. If you have an idea but are having a hard time seeing how it can meet the four week limit, contact our Encounter Coordinator who might be able to help you plan your trip.

  • Can I go with a friend or in a group?

    We prefer you to travel alone, ideally, in order to experience immersion in a context where you are dependent on the hospitality of other Christians, away from the comfort zone of your friends, or even your own language. Do confirm your personal circumstances with the Encounter Coordinator, however.

  • What is the role of the placement supervisor?

    Your supervisor will act as a mentor and point of contact during your placement. You should both be prepared to meet regularly, and it will give you the opportunity to discuss your experiences, ask questions and raise any concerns. Even though you are likely travelling as an individual, you will not be completely with pastoral and practical support.

  • I received an Encounter bursary already. Can I apply again?

    In general, individuals are only ever granted one bursary. But if you think your situation is exceptional, contact the Encounter Coordinator.

  • What will I be expected to write for the Post-Placement Report?

    Your 2000-word report should include:

    1. A description and analysis of the context you were in;
    2. An evaluation of your intercultural experience;
    3. Reflection on how you will apply your experience to your future plans/lifestyle.

    You are welcome to be as creative as you like with your report, and we particularly encourage you to include photos to make your experiences come alive.

    Do write your report as soon as possible after the end of placement, while your thoughts and memories are still fresh. Collecting notes, diary entries or a photo journal whilst on placement may help you recall particular emotions and events.


Your Application

You should use the form to demonstrate how you fit the eligibility criteria for the Encounter Scheme, but also how your placement fits the aims of the scheme as well. For instance:

  • A significant level of cross-cultural immersion is expected;
  • Your placement should raise your awareness of the spirituality and theology of the World Church;
  • Your placement should challenge you to serve and learn from an unfamiliar culture;
  • Your placement should enable you to understand and appraise your own home culture;
  • You should use your placement to critically reflect on the nature of relationships and mission within the worldwide church, and the wider world.

Questions 4-9 are designed to be long-answer format, and many successful applicants write a minimum of 2 or 3 paragraphs for a question, or even up to a half or full page. CCCW is not simply a grant giving body, but wants the application process to be a significant reflective one, and one where you extensively demonstrate what you will be doing and what you hope to gain. As a centre for mission, we really want you to use the form to reflect, not just to apply for a grant.

You have time before you go, so we would really recommend taking some time to process these questions, and find some books and materials to read, before completing the application form. For many more intercultural and mission-related readings and resources visit the CCCW library. CCCW has a wide range of books on mission and cultures around the world. Encounter scheme applicants may borrow books without charge.

Here are some brief tips for what you could include in your answers, but you are welcome to talk through your ideas with the Encounter Coordinator before submitting your form.

  • Questions 5 and 6

    What is going to a different culture going to mean; what might be difficult or uncomfortable; what will you learn about yourself and the global Church that you cannot learn, or have not experienced, in the UK? What do you think you will learn or experience about the history and Christianity of the location you are visiting? What might you learn about God?

    If your placement interacts with your occupation, how might they affect one another? You might want to include something about how the experience will impact on your occupation when you return home.

    If you are an ordinand, how might the experience impact on your ministry? What links might you hope to establish through the visit that you might be able to build on to encourage people in your congregations to see themselves as part of the World Church?

    The Trustees will be looking to support people who will gain from the experience themselves, but also share what they have learnt with others.

  • Question 7

    Describe what you believe mission to be, and/or reflect on CCCW’s idea of mission. How does your placement fit into either your own understanding of mission, or CCCW’s? If you are going with a mission agency, do you know what their mission beliefs are, and how do your own views and the placement reflect these? Contact the Encounter Coordinator for resources to help you begin thinking about mission if you don’t know where to start.

  • Questions 8 and 9

    You will need to demonstrate to the Trustees that you are using your own initiative and have deepened, or will deepen, your understanding of the context you will be travelling to. What have you personally researched about the host culture, its Church, its people, the context you are going in to? What websites have you read, or books? You need to give evidence of your understanding of the context of your placement.

    You may also take practical steps such as talking to someone from the host culture about what you might experience, or taking time to learn some of the language of your host culture.

    You should show:

    • Some knowledge of the historical/social/cultural context of your destination country and the impact that you feel this may have on the particular church and/or NGO environment that you are going into;
    • An outline of the specific resources that you plan to use to explore the context before you go, and/or while there. For example, naming readings and resources (which can be somewhat website-based).

    Literature you read should ideally include something written by a Christian who is from the cultural background you are going into, rather than only Western theologians/missionaries

  • References

    Note that the references are an integral part of the application and it is your responsibility to ensure they arrive on time.

    You should download and send a copy of the Letter to Referees, along with details of your proposed visit, to the two referees whom you have named on your application form and ask them to send their letter of reference by post or email before the deadline.

    The referees should be a minister of your church, a chaplain or tutor of your college, an employer, or another person who has known you for a number of years. They should not be fellow students, relatives or colleagues.