Student Exchange

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Beginning in 1946 the Council of Mennonite and Affiliated Colleges in the United States sponsored an international student exchange whereby each Mennonite and Brethren in Christ college provided substantial financial aid to a limited number of select foreign students for a year's study on its campus (in a few cases extended to two years). At first limited to Europe and to Mennonites, this program was later extended to include all countries and all religious backgrounds, although the main emphasis continued to be on Mennonite students. The Mennonite Central Committee offices in various countries assisted in the selection of candidates and arrangements for travel. In many of the cases of German students the United States State Department provided substantial travel funds.

In the first ten years (1946-56) a total of 183 students were brought from seven European countries to the United States (Germany 96—began only in 1948—Holland 51, France 16, Italy 10, Waldensians, Switzerland 5, Belgium 3, Greece 2), an average of 18 per year. These were distributed among the American colleges as follows: Goshen 50, Bethel 28, Bluffton 22, Tabor 20, Eastern Mennonite 14, Messiah 14, Freeman 13, Hesston 8, Mennonite Biblical Seminary 4, Upland 3, unspecified 7. The purpose of the program was to enrich the service of these young people to their own churches and communities at home. Most of the 183 remained in their homelands, but 34 later immigrated to the United States or in a few cases (5) to Canada.

A smaller number of Mennonite exchange students were brought from South America to colleges in the United States and Canada, particularly from Paraguay, and a few from Brazil and Argentina. A few Mennonites were also brought from the Mennonite mission fields in India and Japan, and from the National Mennonite Churches in Java. Non-Mennonite students were also brought from Greece, Jordan, Lebanon, South Viet-Nam, Formosa, Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, Jamaica, and Mexico.

Author(s) Harold S Bender
Date Published 1959

Cite This Article

MLA style

Bender, Harold S. "Student Exchange." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1959. Web. 24 Mar 2018.

APA style

Bender, Harold S. (1959). Student Exchange. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 24 March 2018, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 648. All rights reserved.

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