BCA Study Abroad Timeline 


1962                The BCA ship was launched in August 16, 1962, when 20 students set sail for Europe.  After ten days at sea, the first student group arrived in Rotterdam, Holland, with sea legs, German vocabulary on the tip of the tongue, and eager anticipation of a rich cultural experience.  A chartered bus with luggage trailer met them in Rotterdam and transported them around Amsterdam for two days before delivering them to Marburg, Germany, on August 29. Five students who traveled ahead joined the group to total 25— 9 men and 16 women— from seven colleges. These students studied at Philipps University in Marburg, under the direction of Dr. Bill Willoughby of Bridgewater College.

                        Bridgewater, Elizabethtown, Juniata, Manchester, La Verne, and McPherson College, along with Bethany Seminary, took the first steps to develop the BCA program by sending their students abroad.

                         “Brethren Colleges Abroad” was first coined as the name of the study abroad program.

1963                Seven adventurous students of French joined 22 headed for Marburg in 1963. Dr. Robert Byerly of Elizabethtown College supervised the students at the Institut d’Etudes Francaises Modernes in Strasbourg, France, from his Marburg headquarters.

1968                Academic Dean Earl Garver of Manchester College, who was responsible for administration during BCA’s early years, dies unexpectedly. Dr. Russel Bollinger managed BCA, and A.G. Breidenstine of Juniata College became the Administrative Coordinator in 1969 and walked BCA through the steps of tax exemption status.

1970                BCA first took to the air in 1970 when the group flew on Trans International Airlines at a considerable savings over previous ship voyages.

1972                Saturn Airways flew the first group of student from the U.S. to Spain in August 26, 1972. John and Pilar Getman met the 24 students in Madrid and flew with them on to Barcelona, Spain. Fancisco Lopez Frias, warmly known as “Paco,” helped with and directed the Barcelona program for 18 years.

1973                BCA officially established Barcelona, Spain as a study abroad location in 1973 after the successful introduction of the program at the University of Barcelona in 1972.

1974                By 1974 BCA was in financial distress due to the drop in value of the dollar, general recession, inflation and lower language enrollments. Total BCA enrollment had dropped from 82 in 1973 to 50 in 1974. There was speculation that BCA would terminate its programs. President A. Blair Helman was unwavering in his dedication to BCA and provided the strength and spirit to carry on.

1975                Administrative responsibilities were transferred to Allen C. Deeter of Manchester College in 1975.  Dr. Deeter continued to serve the Brethren colleges as Executive Director of International Studies until 1998. Under his direction, BCA stabilized financially and expanded from three overseas locations to nine.

In the area of U.S. cooperation, BCA also expanded. From the beginning the Mennonite colleges cooperated with Brethren Colleges Abroad in recruiting students, transferring credits, and providing a tuition free year for foreign students in the exchange. U.S. colleges and universities with which BCA was closely affiliated included: Bethel College, Eastern Mennonite College, Fresno Pacific College, Messiah College, Goshen College, DePauw University, Lewis & Clark College, Pomona College, Haverford College, Butler University and Franklin College.

1978                Cheltenham, England program opened in 1978 with 45 students. BCA’s first Cheltenham director, Dr. Greg Hastings of Manchester College, greeted the students at Heathrow Airport in London early in September. BCA Cheltenham students have enjoyed the close location to Stratford-on-Avon, the beauty of the Cotswolds, trips through Kent and Wales, and the more “at home” feeling of living in “digs.”

1986                The BCA program in Dalian, China, began in style. In February of 1986, four students were accompanied by the directors, Dr. Kendall and Dr. Ingrid Rogers, and a computer. They flew via Hong Kong to Beijing, where they were introduced to the Chinese culture for two days, before flying on to Dalian.

1989                In May of 1989 BCA evacuated 18 students and seven BCA faculty exchanges from Dalian and Shenyang following the Tiananmen Square incident. The program was in full operation again the next spring and continues as an open door to a fascinating land. BCA provided English instruction by many students and faculty, which was a significant aspect of the program.

On March 9, 1989, five BCA students arrived in Sapporo, Japan, to study at Hokusei Gakuen University, and BCA Sapporo became a reality. After two days of settling in, BCA Director, Dr. Gary Tyeryar of Bridgewater College took the group on “Honshu Trip” for ten days before the beginning of serious study at the university March 24. In exchange, Hokusei Gakuen University sent 11 students to four of our U.S. campuses.

1990                BCA Athens, Greece, opened in the fall of 1990 with one student. Several disappointed students were not allowed to go in the spring because of the Gulf War. The following year, however, 16 students studied through BCA at the University of La Verne in Athens. BCA Director Aphrodite Vavouyios taught them survival Greek and guided them to ancient Greek ruins and Cairo, Egypt.

1991                The continued high enrollments in Strasbourg program led BCA to start a second French program in Nancy, the capital of Lorraine. In the spring of 1991, 19 students studied at the Universite de Nancy under the direction of Dr. Ron Lyndaker. The mayor of the city welcomed them with a special reception.

                        BCA launched Cuenca, Ecuador, at the Universidad d Azuay. On August 21, 1991, nine BCA students arrived in Quito to meet Paul and Nieves Bueker who prepared the way for them to study in Ecuador.  Students studied language in Quito, slept under mosquito nets while traveling through the Amazon headwaters, and flew to the Galapagos Islands for a four-day tour. Finally, they met their host families and settled in for university study in Cuenca.

1992                Cochin, India, program is launched. As many as 40 students participated at one time, but the program ended in 2003.

1994                BCA in Xalapa, Mexico is launched.

1999                Karen Jenkins, who was the Academic Dean at Dickinson College, joins BCA as its new president.  BCA undertook a strategic planning process, which resulted in a mission statement, and redefined focus on peace and justice themes and a new marketing tagline – Bridge the World. Connect for Peace. Act for Justice.

2000                BCA introduces a new service – BCA Seminars for faculty and administrators.

                         A number of site assessments are conducted.

                         BCA offers short-term, summer programs for the first time.

2003                New study sites are introduced focused on Peace and Justice programming for students seeking instructional programs in English. The programs include: Dundein, Szxombathely, Letterkenney, Sydney, Derry, Galway and Brussels. The programs run without Resident Directors on site.

2004                Ron McAllister is named Interim President. His work helped to stabilize BCA financially and rebuild relationships with a number of BCA sending schools that were faltering.

A study center in Cuba is opened.   

                        The first BCA U.S. – European Relations Student Conference is launched in Strasbourg, France.

2006                Mell Bolen joins BCA as President. Her work focused on several key areas: building new information systems, including BCA’s first online application and course database; integrating assessment instruments and methodology; opening new programs in developing countries; focusing on BCA’s mission regarding peace and justice themes and working to integrate those themes as a primary component to BCA programs; and expanding the number of sending schools.

2007                BCA opens two new programs in India--Mangalore, focused on Social Work, and Pondicherry, focused on Marine Science.

                         BCA’s The Global Conversation course is launched in its pilot phase.

2008                 Customized programs are offered.

2010                 BCA Closes the program in Mangalore and opens a new program in Chennai, India.

2011                  Michael D. Monahan is named BCA’s new President.

2012                  BCA turns 50!