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Programs and resources for overseas cross cultural and intercultural encounters

The Forum for Intercultural Leadership and Learning began in 1921 as “The Canadian School of Missions”. Drawing on the learnings of those decades of global engagement we resource and support overseas encounters across cultures. Learn more about our programs and resources for preparation for overseas mission, re-entry to Canada, and short term mission and exposure travel best practices below.

Preparation for Overseas Mission and MinistryProgram participants

The “Engage Difference!” program offers an excellent preparation for overseas encounters and relationships across cultures, either short or long term. The program includes an emphasis is on understanding one’s own culture and its impact on relationships, as well as specific components that connect with the historical roots that shape these relationships, including mission history and colonization. If there is a minimum number of participants preparing for contexts outside Canada there will be specific resources and exercises for this group to apply the learning to the overseas context and/or the program facilitators can work with denominations or other overseas personnel sending agencies to provide supplemental activities and resources.

On Your Way: A Guide to Your Overseas Intercultural Experience This small but helpful book covers a broad range of topics for overseas mission personnel. Available in hard copy Order



Supporting Re-entry to Canada after short or long term overseas experiences

Returning overseas personnel experience common themes as they discern how to live faithful to their overseas experience and relationships.

The Re-Entry Program is designed to help those returning to Canada following international placements in their process of transition and re-integration. A gentle group process designed to utilize talents and personal experiences of participants along with presentations by staff and resource people. The program is run as a retreat and is an opportunity to spend time with a supportive group of people who have in common the experience of transition to life in Canada.

Typically participation happens after a period of time back in Canada and a beginning experience of re-entry . Over the days of the program we walk together through activities that mirror transition. We explore together a letting go – letting be – letting begin model of transition. Themes explored include telling the story, loss and mourning, violence and trauma, conflict, gifts of our journey, and next steps.

Custom programs are offered for long term overseas personnel, overseas theological students, and shorter term overseas placements. These program are offered when contracted by denominations and other institutions as they support their personnel in re-entry to life in Canada.

Short Term Mission & Exposure Travel 

In working with leaders of short-term exposure travel, the Forum for Intercultural Leadership and Learning draws from 100 years of international ministry experience, a diversity of resources, connections with denominational mission departments, and knowledge of the historical and global context of missions.

Below find information about our seminars for leaders of short term mission, our publications for short term mission, and other publications we stock. As a roundtable for discussions on mission, we are connected to research on short term mission. This page includes links to some of the growing research and reflections on short term mission. Also included here are downloadable documents from our publications.

Learning for International Faith Engagement (LIFE) Seminars for Mission Trip Leaders

These ecumenical seminars are for individuals contemplating international and local immersion, study, or work trip leadership, those who already have groups preparing to go, and seasoned trip leaders.  They allow participants to reflect upon the practical and theological issues involved and to build their programs from beginning stages, to plan for all of the details of the actual mission exposure trip, and to focus on the essential aspects of post-trip.  Group is limited to maximum of 20 participants.  Contact your denomination office as some provide support to participants.

This program is offered at the request of denomination partners or in partnership with other organizations. Please contact the Forum for Intercultural Leadership and Learning to collaborate on or negotiate a program offering.

“Sojourning: A Leaders Guide for Short Term Mission Travel”

Available from the Forum, “Sojourning: A Leaders Guide for Short Term Mission Travel” which provides information and reflection for each of the stages of Mission travel; Early Discernment, First steps in Organizing a trip, Pre-trip activities with participants, the trip itself, and Post-trip activities and process. Available in hard copy or electronic version Order

Online Resources

Downloadable documents and links to research and reflection on Short Term Mission

7 Standards of Excellence for Short Term Mission

Cost of Short Term Mission

To Hell with Good Intentions (Ivan Illich)

Evangelical Fellowship of Canada Code of Best Practice in Short Term Mission

Global Friendship (United Church of Canada)

Misguided Missions: 10 Worst Practices

The Spiritual Side of Mission Work Grouping

Why most mission trips are a waste of time

Academic research on short term missions:  Dr. Kurt Ver Beek’s website (Calvin College)

No Nonsense Guide to International Development

Globe Trotting or Global Citizenship: Perils and Potential of International Experiential Learning (Published by University of Toronto Press in 2014, we recommend this collection of Canadian research and thought on short term travel)





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