During spring break each year, the Center leads a group of students on a study away service-learning program.  This program has an emphasis on vocational exploration in three aspects: faith and social action, social and economic justice, and international humanitarian efforts.  Not only are global perspectives enlightened, but many students return to campus and the community more attuned to local injustices and struggles and seek ways to connect with organizations that work to solve these problems.

In past years, groups have traveled to Cuba; Cuernavaca, Mexico (Center for Intercultural Dialogue on Development); and New York City.

This year’s FOCUS program will be in Northern Ireland in March 2014.  Students must apply for this competitive program.  Those students accepted into the program will receive a program scholarship to cover most of the program costs, including travel, transportation on site, lodging, program fees, resource materials, program orientation expenses, and most meals.  Students accepted into the program are responsible for a paying a $500 deposit (spread into two equal payments) to contribute toward the total program cost.

This year’s FOCUS program will be to Northern Ireland, in partnership with The Corrymeela Community.  The mission of the community is below:

  • Corrymeela’s mission is: embracing difference, healing division and enabling reconciliation. Our vision is of a peaceful and sustainable society based on social justice, positive relationships and respect for diversity. The Corrymeela Community strives to embody these values in every aspect of our lives. (from The Corrymeela Community website)

This is an ecumenical Christian community that welcomes all to work on issues of peace, understanding, respect, and cooperation.  Please visit their website to learn more about their programs and work.  While visiting Northern Ireland, students will hear stories from those involved in justice and reconciliation efforts in the area, visit cities and communities, and participate in personal and group vocational reflection sessions and discussions.  The Cothran Center staff will continue to work with students, upon return, as they seek ways to connect their learning and experiences back in their own communities and on their vocational path.

Students interested in applying for the program can download an application through this link: FOCUS 2014 Application

There will be an information session for interested students on Monday, October 7, 2013, from 5:00-6:00 p.m. in Furman Hall 128.


Applications are due by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, November 1, 2013.  There are very limited spaces for this selective program, so students are encouraged to complete their application materials as soon as possible.  This program is intended for sophomores and they receive priority in the application process; however, juniors may apply and be considered for the program this year.

For more information on this program, please contact the program director, Eric Cain, at or Rolyn Rollins, administrative assistant, at  You can also visit us in the Cothran Center in Suite 215 of the Trone Student Center.

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