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FAQ

GENERAL

WHERE CAN I FIND INFORMATION ABOUT CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)?

The health and safety of our students and staff is very important to SMBC and The Bridge 

SMBC/The BRIDGE is monitoring the coronavirus situation closely and taking advice from the relevant authorities. Learn more here

WHO IS THE BRIDGE FOR?

The Bridge is an interdenominational gap year program for Christians, 18 to 21, who love Jesus, want to learn more about God’s word, and have a heart for his mission. You may have just finished Year 12 or you may want a gap year during your uni/TAFE course or apprenticeship.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE BRIDGE AND OTHER CHRISTIAN GAP YEARS?

That’s a question that we can’t answer. The reason is, we don’t want to misrepresent another gap year/college given we haven’t been involved or attended their programs. Our recommendation is that you check out all the great gap years personally through talking with the leaders, visiting the campus (where possible) and their websites.

DO I HAVE TO WAIT TILL I'M 18 TO APPLY?

No. We understand that some of you might still be 17 when you first apply to The Bridge – that's perfectly okay, just as long as a parent or guardian provides consent and you are turning 18 in the year of the program.

I AM TURNING 22 DURING THE YEAR, IS IT OKAY TO APPLY?

Yes. However it would be worth chatting with us as we may advise you to consider applying to SMBC instead.

HOW MANY DAYS A WEEK IS THE BRIDGE ON?

The Bridge is a one year program, over two semesters. It runs three days a week at the SMBC Roberts-Dale campus in Sydney’s inner western suburb of Croydon Park.

There are also a couple of team building overnight events during the year - contact us for details.

In addition, there will be some voluntary activities that will happen outside the program that we encourage participants to be involved in. These include KYCK (April) and Reachout (September) Conferences at Katoomba. Opportunities will also be provided for experience in homeless and special needs ministries.

WILL I HAVE TIME IN THE WEEK TO WORK PART-TIME?

Yes! The Bridge is a three day per week experience which involves some study. It’s possible to work part-time (we recommend Saturdays, Mondays and Tuesdays) or you may be able to undertake ministry within your local church, for example, Friday evening youth groups or other such ministry opportunities.
If you choose to do the Diploma of Theology, extra time for assessments and exams will be required. It’s estimated that you’ll need to allow approximately six hours of preparation per unit per week for the Diploma course.

CAN I GET CREDIT FOR ANY OF THE BRIDGE UNITS (SUBJECTS) TOWARD MY UNI DEGREE?

If you choose to study a Diploma, it may be possible to get limited credit toward your university degree as Recognised Prior Learning (RPL). This is dependent on your results, the university, and the university course you will/are enrolled in. We recommend you chat with your university.

DO I REALLY HAVE TO ATTEND THE BRIDGE LECTURES IF I HAVE OTHER STUFF ON?

Yes! The Bridge is a program that requires full attendance unless you’re sick or have compassionate reasons. You'll need to plan part-time work and other activities around your Bridge program.

WILL I NEED A PASSPORT?

Yes! If we are travelling overseas you'll need a passport that is valid until at least 7 months after the Mission Study Tour (MST) finishes. If we are only travelling around Australia, no passport is required.

DO I NEED TO HAVE A CAR AND/ OR DRIVER’S LICENCE TO PARTICIPATE IN THE BRIDGE?

No. For those with a car, there is plenty of onsite parking (and bike racks) available on campus. For those who do have their licence, provisional ‘P’ plate or above, you’ll need a car to participate in the Defensive Driver Training day. And…if you don’t drive, other activities will be planned for you. Talk to us if you’re on your ‘L’s.
There are several public transport options to The Bridge Campus in Croydon Park ( 140 Croydon Ave, Croydon Park NSW 2133 ). See Transport NSW.

DO I NEED TO CHANGE CHURCHES?

No. Unless you’re moving to Sydney for the program and if so, we can suggest churches for you.

WILL I HAVE A MENTOR DURING THE PROGRAM?

We would like all participants to meet once a fortnight (for about an hour) with a more mature Christian (men with men and women with women). Ideally, this is someone from your church. We can provide your mentor with guidelines to help make the most of these times. If it's difficult for you to find a mentor, we can help. The purpose of a mentor is to pray with you, read the Bible with you, hear about what you're learning and help to guide your spiritual growth.

WHAT IS CROSS-CULTURAL MINISTRY (BRIEFLY)?

The old saying that ‘birds of a feather flock together’ is true: the more someone is like us, the easier we find it to relate to them. But God wants us to communicate his word and demonstrate his love to people from all cultural backgrounds. To do this cross-cultural ministry well, we need to understand the difference culture makes and learn how to adjust the way we talk, move, eat, love, laugh and listen so that the truth about God can be clear.

WHY IS CROSS-CULTURAL MINISTRY IMPORTANT?

Everywhere we look around our city, our country and the world, we see people from different nations, language groups, cultures and sub-cultures. These differences don’t just affect the way we dress and what we eat, they also shape the way we talk, the things we value, the way we relate to people and even the way we think. God has called us to share his love and his word with all people everywhere. To do this well we need to understand the difference culture makes and develop the skills needed to relate to people who aren’t like us.

WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDYING AT AN 'INTERDENOMINATIONAL' COLLEGE?

Studying the Bible in an interdenominational context helps to protect us against developing a narrow viewpoint. It helps us to avoid making assumptions that any particular denomination is the sole trustworthy custodian of genuine biblical or Christian truth. As our staff and students mix and share their lives in community, we learn from one another as we learn from the scriptures. We thrive as we read and study God’s biblical revelation on its own terms, without undue pressure to follow a particular denominational viewpoint. Staff and students represent many denominations. Your denominational loyalty will be warmly respected.
Denominations do have their place and make great contributions. Our primary unity as Christians, however, is not denominational, but because we have been made one in and by Jesus Christ. Saving faith is the gift of God, as his Spirit applies the redeeming work of his Son.

MISSION STUDY TOUR

WHEN WILL THE MISSION STUDY TOUR HAPPEN?

The Mission Study Tour usually takes place during the mid-year holiday period or September/October. An information night will be held for students, parents and carers. Students will be required to have a valid passport only if travelling overseas. The mission trip forms two of your study units – ask us more about it!

WHERE ARE WE GOING TO ON THE MISSION TRIP?

We will be travelling to a country in South-East Asia or Australasia. SMBC works closely with many mission organisations and have been conducting short term mission trips as part of student training for decades. The Bridge mission team will be getting alongside well established, long term missionaries on the ground. Please don't hesitate to ask us any questions about this aspect of the program.

Learn more at MISSION TRIP

DOLLARS AND CENTS

I'VE HEARD ONCE YOU ARE OFFERED A PLACE IN THE BRIDGE PROGRAM, I NEED TO PAY A DEPOSIT. IS THAT CORRECT?

Yes, you will need to pay a $300 non-refundable deposit to secure your place. However, this deposit is deducted from your program costs for the year. The next instalment of payment will take place in Orientation.

IS LUNCH INCLUDED?

Yes - and morning tea too - for the three days you are on campus. Complimentary tea, coffee, hot chocolate and biscuits are available throughout the day.

AM I ELIGIBLE FOR FEE-HELP?

FEE-HELP is an Australian Government loan scheme that assists students to pay their tuition fee and is available to all Australian citizens. It is available to students who are enrolled in the Diploma of Theology course, and who intend to complete it. There is a loan fee of 20 percent applied to FEE-HELP loans for undergraduate courses. For more information visit Study Assist.

AM I ELIGIBLE FOR YOUTH ALLOWANCE?

If you are enrolled in the Diploma, you may be eligible for Youth Allowance and can apply at Centrelink. Youth allowance is income and assets tested. For further details contact Centrelink on 132 490 or Youth Allowance.

AM I ENTITLED TO CONCESSION FARES ON PUBLIC TRANSPORT?

If you are enrolled in the Diploma of Theology course you are entitled to a concession card. For more information, please visit NSW Transport/Opal.

WHAT IS THE BRIDGE PROGRAM PAYMENT POLICY? 

2022 Payment Policy

Learn more at COSTS

APPLYING

WHEN CAN I APPLY FOR THE BRIDGE?

Now! Applications are open for 2023. See the APPLY section.

DO I HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL I'M 18 TO APPLY?

No. We understand some of you might still be 17 years of age when you first apply for The Bridge - that's perfectly okay, just so long as a parent or guardian provides consent and you are turning 18 in the year of the program.

WHEN DO APPLICATIONS CLOSE?

We encourage you to apply as soon as possible to ensure there's a place for you! However, applications for 2023 close just before Orientation in early February. It's worth noting that it takes time to meet and chat with you, check your references, and finalise other paperwork - so the earlier you apply, the better!
We recommend you indicate your interest in the program by emailing Andrew Koulyras at: thebridge@smbc.edu.au. That way we can give you a call to chat further about the program or questions you might have.

CAN I APPLY FOR THE BRIDGE IF I HAVEN’T GOT THE HSC OR EQUIVALENT?

Yes. The Bridge is available to eligible students who left school before completing the HSC. Applicants just need to demonstrate a willingness to participate fully in all aspects of The Bridge program. During your interview, we’ll help guide you into what level of study to undertake.

WHAT HAPPENS IN THE INTERVIEW?

An application interview (and getting references) sounds very formal, but it isn’t! We just want to get to know you better, hear about your love for Jesus and make sure The Bridge is the best direction for you. The interview will take about 45 minutes.

CAN I STILL DO THE BRIDGE IF I LIVE OUTSIDE OF SYDNEY?

Yes! We welcome students from regional areas and interstate. You’ll need to chat with us via Zoom or online, over the phone, or visit us for an interview. You'll need to provide your own accommodation, but we can recommend some options for you.

CAN OVERSEAS STUDENTS APPLY?

Yes, however, please contact The Bridge Coordinator at thebridge@smbc.edu.au for your application requirements, costs and forms.

Learn more at APPLY

CHURCH

What role does The Bridge have in a student’s pastoral and spiritual life?

The local church is of vital importance to the growth and maturity of The Bridge students. At The Bridge, students will gather around God’s word together, pray and talk about how to live in a Christ-like manner in all of life. The Bridge cohort can have a big impact on students as they find themselves amongst a large group of people their own age serious about following Jesus. The Bridge is a means of God's grace for growth, alongside their local church which remains their pastoral and spiritual home.

How should a church think of a student of The Bridge? Are they a volunteer at church or are they a student minister?

Honestly, we leave that up to the individual church. We love our students to be well-integrated and serving at their church. Their expression of that will look different depending on their maturity, capacity, personality and giftedness. Most students would be in a volunteer role, but there may be churches who choose to train students, intentionally meet with them as interns, or mentor them in a particular ministry.

How many hours per week of ministry does The Bridge recommend for a student?

This will be highly dependant on each individual student and their capacity. The following breakdown might be helpful to understand how our students spend their time:

  • Attending The Bridge program. The program is full-time from Wednesday through to Friday (8:30-4:30) plus a few extra weekends and nights away.
  • Studying. Requirements for students undertaking The Bridge at Diploma level is up to 18 hours per week which ebbs and flows with assessment and exam preparation.
  • Engaged in the usual church commitments of attending church, Bible study and usually one ministry.
  • Family or student accommodation commitments.
  • Part-time job commitments.
  • Time resting and being refreshed.
  • In community. The Bridge students often benefit from and enjoy getting to know their cohort outside of Bridge hours.

Many students find they do not have a lot of time for additional ministry responsibilities. Most will limit to their service to youth group and/or children’s ministry.

How can a church pastorally support a student?

The Bridge students have reflected that they've found the following support channels have been helpful for them in the past:

  • Getting plugged into a supportive small group/Bible study as early as possible, particularly for students who have moved to Sydney for study.
  • Having an older, mature Christian mentor who they meet with every two weeks (someone the same gender as them). Having space to talk about what they're learning in God’s word and how they can apply it at home, with friends, for the future, etc.
  • Check-in with the student and see how they’re going and praying for them (in private or in church). Big questions can arise for students as they take their lectures and study God’s word in a new environment and manner during the year.
  • The supporters, pastors and encouragers of The Bridge students receiving the monthly Bridge email highlighting some of the seminars, subjects and activities undertaken each month.

Are there any particular ministry experiences (i.e. giving talks, leading teams, starting a ministry, etc.) at my church I could encourage the student to think about or be involved in to enrich the student during the year?

Understanding the student’s time limitations, here are a few experiences that could complement their year at The Bridge:

  • Cross-cultural ministry or evangelism. Global Mission is a key focus of The Bridge. Students will have lectures and experiences to grow their understanding and capacity to engage in this area. During Semester 2 students are asked to find and participate in a cross-cultural ministry that could be a local ESL, food pantry, door-knocking or homework/kids club that reaches people from different cultures. If there are opportunities to take part in these ministries in their local church, that would be great.
  • Joining the church’s mission team to learn more about the missionaries your church supports, and how they can be engaged directly in support.
  • During Semester 1 students will be introduced to key evangelism concepts and methods. Evangelism opportunities will help to continue developing a heart for the lost and a willingness to reach out with the gospel.
  • During Semester 2 students will learn how to understand and teach a Bible passage. Delivering a Bible talk (with assistance) could be a helpful putting into practice of these skills.
ACCOMMODATION

IS CAMPUS ACCOMMODATION AVAILABLE?

There is limited availability of accommodation on campus for participants of The Bridge program. Please enquire at SMBC to learn more, 02 9747 4780.

Other accommodation options for you to explore include:
Arundel House in Glebe provides student accommodation for women who are 18 to 21.
Flo Harris Lodge in Lewisham caters for men and women. 
The St Barnabas Terraces in Glebe also provides student accommodation for men and women aged 18 to 21. To arrange a tour of The Terraces please contact the Supervisor 02 9692 8798.
Alternatively, you may wish to contact local churches in the inner west area of Sydney, that is, those close to Croydon Park.

GETTING HERE

HOW DO I GET TO THE SMBC ROBERTS-DALE CAMPUS?

SMBC Roberts-Dale Campus is located at 140 Croydon Ave, Croydon Park NSW 2133 and is easily accessible by car as well as public transport. Croydon railway station is about a 15 minute walk to the campus, and Burwood railway station is about a 25 minute walk to the campus. See Transport NSW

CAN I RIDE MY BIKE TO THE ROBERTS-DALE CAMPUS?

Yes. There is bike storage and showers are available.

GOT MORE QUESTIONS?

We’d love to chat with you. 
Contact us at thebridge@smbc.edu.au or (02) 9747 4780 or drop in to the SMBC Admin Centre, at 43 Badminton Road, Croydon NSW 2132 .


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