Encounter FAQ

We receive a number of similar queries about our Intercultural Encounter programme. Here’s our best effort to answer the most frequently asked. Still have a question? Contact our Encounter coordinator.

  • Am I eligible to apply?

    There are two primary requirements. First, applicants must be between the ages of 18 and 40 or be a mature student, generally in the Cambridge Theological Federation. Second, applicants must have a Cambridge connection.

  • 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.

  • 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. First, we want to be able to fund as many meaningful bursaries as possible. Second, 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?

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

  • I’m interested in this idea, 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.

  • 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.

  • How do I apply?

    The application form is available on this website. Fill it out and e-mail it to the Encounter coordinator by the relevant deadline. Note that the references are an integral part of the application and it is your responsibility to ensure they arrive on time. In general, if you’re thinking about applying, it makes sense to contact the Encounter coordinator before applying. The coordinator can help you strengthen your application and ensure it is as strong as possible.

  • 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.

  • 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.