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New Mexico

Semester Programs: The New Mexico Semester

Imagine a place where it doesn't matter what kind of camera you own— every picture you take is filled with color and light. This is Gallup, New Mexico, home of Calvin’s New Mexico Semester.  Specifically the semester is situated in the Four Corners region on the campus of Rehoboth Christian School, offering students a wonderful home base to venture out and explore the American Southwest, a land that has a special place in the American imagination, one filled with arroyos, canyons, ancient cultures, stunning landscapes, a glaring sun, and the unfolding of history in places like El Morro, Canyon de Chelly and Santa Fe.  In the American mind, the Southwest is a place without boundaries, a land with its own style and pace, a land that beckons to you to explore its many faces and places. 

The New Mexico semester program is distinctive in many ways. The experiential nature of the semester, helps classes come alive as first and second year students learn Geology in the Grand Canyon, learn about the history and culture of the American Southwest in places like Mesa Verde and Chaco Canyon, as well explore the concept of vocation and calling through service learning placement throughout Gallup.  In addition, this is the only off-campus semester program at Calvin that is open to first year students, offering them the opportunity to take an alternative path to beginning their college degree.

Benefits for First Year Students                 Benefits for Second Year Students

Check out this video to see some of what you will experience on this semester:



You must be a first or second year student at Calvin.  Students must have a 2.5 GPA or higher (in either their final year of high school or first year of college). 

All students must be accepted into the program after completing an application and an interview with the program director. 


The Rehoboth Bridge Semester is usually close to the cost of Calvin’s tuition and room and board (21 meal plan).  The program cost will include: 

  • Administration fee
  • Tuition
  • Room and board
  • Calvin orientation just prior to the start of the fall semester (to be held at Calvin).
  • Transportation to and from Calvin at the beginning and end of the semester. 
  • Program excursions throughout the region to such places as Santa Fe, Arches National Park, Mesa Verde, and a major backpacking trip into the Grand Canyon.

All financial aid offered by Calvin can be used to pay for the cost of the program.

Additional expenses not included in the program fee: books, medical insurance, some weekend meals, independent travel and spending money.


Rehoboth dormYou will live in a dormitory on the campus of Rehoboth Christian School with at least one Calvin roommate.


The following courses are required of all students in the Rehoboth Bridge Semester program, with the exception of the PER course, giving students the option of 13 to 14 credit hours.  These courses are taught by either the Calvin director or qualified instructors from the Gallup area.  In addition, second year students could substitute one course from the University of New Mexico, Gallup for the DCM course if they have already fulfilled this requirement.

STNM 149: Prime Kingdom Citizenship
Designed to incorporate and expand on the following themes:  worldview, cultural discernment, responsible freedom, justice and vocation and include topics related to civic engagement, service learning and diversity.  This course will help develop students' sense of community while they explore Native American culture and the Rehoboth campus while also interacting with the surrounding communities of Red Mesa, Gallup and with reservation churches and communities.  The class will make use of field trips, guest speakers and service learning hours. 

3 semester hours

Fulfills cross-cultural engagement credit and Prelude

STNM 218: Peoples and Cultures of the Southwest
The study of anthropology is used as an introduction to the greater Southwest as a major world culture area. Includes field trips to Mesa Verde, Chaco Canyon, Canyon de Chelly. 3 semester hours, societal structures core
STNM 151: Introductory Geology
This introductory study of the geological structures of the earth makes extensive use of the unique geological features of the Southwest.Includes field trips to the Grand Canyon and the Bisti Badlands. 4 semester hours, physical world core
BIO 123: The Living World: Concepts and Connections

Students construct comprehensive understandings of the living world, interconnecting foundational principles about genes, cells, physiology, ecology, and evolution  to each other and to contemporary scientific, societal, ethical, and religious issues.  Biology is taught in this course as it is practiced, as a process of creative and critical inquiry.  Contemporary problems set the context for laboratory activities, studies, and discussions that facilitate investigating, thinking, and applying. Three two-hour sessions weekly.

4 semester hours
STNM 140: PER Course

Core physical activity classes, possibilities include:  Outdoor Pursuits, Rock Climbing, Biking, or Walking.

1 semester hour, PER core



The New Mexico Semester program will be offered in the Fall of 2014. To apply for the New Mexico Semester:

Current High School Seniors: After completing your application to Calvin College, please complete the online application for the New Mexico Semester and send the link for the online recommendation form to two persons you are using for references (one academic and one personal).  

Current Calvin Students:  Please stop by the Off-Campus Programs Office and complete a pre-application form.  Once your form is approved by the registrar and student life you will be sent the link to the online application for the New Mexico Semester.  

If you have any questions, please call the Director of Off Campus Programs, Don DeGraaf at (616)526-6225 or e-mail (


Read our FAQ's to learn even more about the New Mexico semester.


Check out our newsletter for the 2013-14 academic year!

Volume 1
Volume 2
Volume 3
Volume 4
Volume 5
Volume 6
Volume 7
Volume 8
Volume 9
Volume 10
Volume 11
Volume 12

Family & Friends Calendar

Calvin-Rehoboth Blog

Follow the Fall 2013 Semester on their blog.

More about Rehoboth

Location: Rehoboth is situated in the northwest corner of New Mexico. It is in the Navajo Nation territory, a reservation that spans parts of New Mexico, Arizona and Utah. It is just one mile from Gallup, New Mexico (pop. 19,937) and close to the historic Route 66.

History: Rehoboth is a village that grew around Rehoboth Christian School, founded as Rehoboth Mission School in 1903.

Rehoboth Christian School

This program site for the Rehoboth Bridge Semester began as a boarding school for six Native American students in 1903. Originally called Rehoboth Mission School, it was started by missionaries from the Christian Reformed Church. It has since grown to 400 students K-12 and no longer houses its student. The student body consists of predominantly Native Americans (68%), with a sizeable population of other minorities (11%).

More about RCS history >>


Read about the many excursions planned in the area for this semester.