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Calvin College Press

There and Back, Learning and Living Abroad, Donald G. De Graaf, Calvin College Press, Calvin College, Off-campus program, Semester AbroadThere and Back: Living and Learning Abroad
(December 2015)

by Donald G. DeGraaf

There and Back: Living and Learning Abroad encourages students to prepare for off-campus study programs, to think deeply about the challenges they will encounter, to document their growth, and to explore, affirm, and expand their faith. Featuring blog posts from former students, There and Back offers a resource to help students become pilgrims rather than tourists and to deepen their study abroad experience.


Paperback: 978-1-937555-02-3, $21.99

Where to Purchase

Buy now from

Calvin College Campus Store: 616-526-6376 or 800-748-0122

Reqeust an Examination Copy


Rachel Watson, "Calvin Professor Takes on Living and Learning Abroad in a New Book," News & Stories (February 12, 2016)


There and Back: Living and Learning Abroad is much more than the typical "how to get the most out of your experience" guidebook for studying abroad.  DeGraaf wisely and carefully accompanies the student traveler along the inner personal-spiritual challenges of the journey.  Real transformation from a study abroad experience requires not only a guiding vision and openness to the "other," but also intense self-reflection and a willingness to dwell with the tensions of unanswered questions, conflicting and confusing loyalties and sobering realities. This book thoughtfully challenges students to explore these tensions and to be open to surprising discoveries. Packed with helpful information and the voices of students who have successfully negotiated transformative journeys, There and Back should be a must read for students and study abroad professional as well.
— Dr. Ken Bussema, Vice President for Student Programs (retired), Council for Christian Colleges & Universities

In his book, There and Back, Don DeGraaf uses the gift of story and personal experience to produce a guidebook as important as any travel guide. DeGraaf's book helps students and other pilgrims unlock the treasures of traveling and living abroad through meaningful reflection on the places and people encountered along the way.
— Chris Van Zanen, LCC International University, Klaipeda Lithuania

As a student who studied abroad in Hungary, I found There and Back to be a thoughtful compilation of things I wish I had access to before, during, and after my time abroad. I will be the first to purchase a book for my younger sister who is eager to study in Spain, as well as extra copies to give as parting gifts as my friends embark on their study abroad adventures. DeGraaf provides a much richer picture of what studying abroad can be and encourages students to reach this potential with the Lord as their guide. I am interested to see how this book will impact students, their experiences, classes, relationships, and their lives.
— Lauren Anderson, Student

About the Author

Donald G. DeGraaf is a professor of Kinesiology and Director of Off-Campus Programs at Calvin College.  He served as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in the Philippines and has also worked in Korea, Hong Kong, and the Netherlands, all of which has contributed to his passion for international education and global engagement. His teaching focusses on experiential education, non-profit management, youth development, and leisure and life satisfaction.  He has co-authored ten textbooks and numerous articles related to these scholarly interests.