Student Immersions

Explore the many immersion opportunities offered locally, domestically and abroad.

StudentImmersion

Winter Break Immersions

Oakland, California

Friday, December 13th - Wednesday, December 18th
Cost: $300

Oakland immersion participants will spend time engaging in the issues and assets of Oakland, focusing in particular on the criminal justice system, food justice, environmental impacts, and educational issues in the city. Components of the urban immersion may include: a visit with Oakland Police Department officials, a visit to Ghost Town Farm, the urban garden featured in the book Farm City, home visits, and meeting with a judge working with the homeless population cases through the justice system and mass at St. Columbo’s parish. The group will meet with and work with other community-based organizations in Oakland. The immersion group will be hosted by the St. Vincent de Paul Society in Oakland.

Ecuador

Saturday, December 14th - Saturday, December 21st
Cost: $1,200 (see below for details)

Ecuador is one of the world's most dynamic and fascinating countries, a land in which incredible natural beauty and rich resources encounter desperate poverty. In Ecuador, Santa Clara students will be hosted by the organization Rostro de Cristo. Th ey will stay at the Rostro de Cristo retreat house in Durán, outside the major city of Guayaquil. SCU students will spend a majority of their time developing relationships with local families through daily visits and helping out with the community after-school program for grade-school children. The group will learn about some of the educational and healthcare challenges facing the communityand witness the important role that faith and religion play in the lives of community members.

SCU students will be challenged to reflect on how they can work with the Ecuadorian people to find long -term solutions to the reality of poverty. As most community members from part of the world's 3 billion people who live on less than $2 a day , this immersion invites participants to deepen in simplicity and solidarity by entering into a very simple lifestyle which resembles the way in which the local community lives. 

This immersion is offered in conjunction with a two credit ELSJ course in the Winter Quarter, which will serve as an opportunity to integrate and deepen some of the themes encountered on the immersion upon return to campus. In this course students will engage with themes related to the intersection of social justice and the Jesuit Catholic intellectual tradition. Themes explored will include the relationship between faith and justice, the value and moral challenge of different economic systems, the preferential option for the poor, and discernment of vocation. Finally, his course will facilitate integration of the experience of immersion with lived-experience upon return to Santa Clara and beyond. All students participating in the Ecuador Immersion are required to enroll in and complete the course.

New Orleans, Louisiana

Saturday, December 14th - Saturday, December 21st
Cost: $700

The Santa Clara delegation will spend most of the week working with St. Bernard Project on home construction projects. The group will learn about the effects of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans as well as other issues impacting the community through meetings with a variety of organizations. The immersion experience will include conversations with community members who were affected by the storm and community leaders who have struggled to respond to the community's needs. We will consider the role that race and class played in the hurricane evacuation process, as well as in the city planning for New Orleans. We will talk with experts and everyday people about their hopes, dreams, and plans for rebuilding their communities. Work with the St. Bernard Project ranges from mold remediation, hanging dry wall, finishing touches on a home, and everything in between.

Arizona Border Immersion

Saturday, December 14th - Saturday, December 21st
Cost: $650

The SCU delegation will spend the week in the Tucson area learning about migration and food. Hosted by BorderLinks, an international organization that builds bridges of solidarity across North and Latin American borders, the SCU students will learn about immigration policy and reform and its impact on the lives of people living along the US-Mexican border. The experience will focus on: agricultural policies, labor issues, environmental impacts, international trade policies and practices, poverty and food access. The group will come to understand the history and culture of this region through conversations and meetings with migrants, community leaders, activists, and NGOs which may include: Green Valley Samaritans, Florence Project, Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Café Justo, Sierra Club, and Kino Border Initiative.

Application Process

Selected participants will be expected to attend 4–5 pre-trip meetings and a pre-trip weekend retreat,  as well as 3 post-trip meetings in the Winter Quarter.

If you have any questions or need any additional information about Winter Break Immersions, please contact Jake Schneider, 408-554-5346.

Immersion Cost and Fundraising

The student cost indicated for each immersion, joint with Ignatian Center funds, will cover all food, lodging, and transportation (including airfare) associated with the trip.

We encourage fundraising efforts for participants as a way of reaching the goal of their monetary contribution and also partnering with family and friends to make this valuable experience possible. The most effective fundraising for an immersion trip is often individual letter writing to friends and family. Immersion participants may request a sample letter to assist with individual fundraising efforts.

Included in the online application is the opportunity to request financial aid for those students with demonstrated financial need. Financial aid requests are coordinated with the support of the Financial Aid office and the Ignatian Center staff is then able to follow up with individual requests from students. We do not want monetary limitations to prevent any student from participating on an immersion trip. Please contact us if you feel you have financial difficulties that might hinder your participation.

Spring Break Immersions

Appalachia, West Virginia

Saturday, March 22- Saturday, March 29, 2014              Cost: $675

Santa Clara students will spend the week learning first-hand about community development, culture, and environmental issues in rural West Virginia. In partnership with the Appalachia Institute at Wheeling Jesuit University, the SCU delegation will volunteer with a variety of community-based organizations that may include: senior center, health care center, violence prevention program, head start program, and a re-building project. Students come to understand the cultural significance of this region through music, food, and conversation with community members. SCU students will visit the museum of history in Charleston, West Virginia’s capital and will learn about current political reality and its impact on critical issues in the region. The immersion group will also learn about the region’s biodiversity, mountain-top removal mining, and natural gas extraction. SCU students will stay at Wheeling Jesuit’s Lantz farm and will have the opportunity to prepare and cook the evening meal together.

Los Angeles, California

Saturday, March 22- Saturday, March 29, 2014              Cost: $375

The Santa Clara immersion trip to Los Angeles is facilitated in partnership with Campus Ministry and will be hosted by the community of Dolores Mission, a Jesuit parish in East LA, whose parishioners take the initiative to address issues that challenge their community. These pressing issues include gang violence, human rights abuses against youth and immigrants, childcare, health care, and educational and employment opportunities. SCU students will visit Homeboy Industries and have lunch at the Homegirl Café. "Jobs not jails" is the mission of Homeboy Industries, which provides job placement, training and education to at-risk and former gang-involved youth. The immersion group will also help out with the after school program at the Dolores Mission school. Students will learn about the parish, school, and pastoral outreach programs and personally get to know members of the community. An integral component of this immersion is the home-stay experience with local families. Throughout the week, SCU students will partner up and stay with families who provide opportunities for conversation and shared meals.

Navajo Nation (Tuba City, AZ)

Saturday, March 22- Saturday, March 29, 2014              Cost: $675

The Santa Clara delegation traveling to Tuba City, Arizona will spend the week on the Navajo Nation in northeast Arizona hosted by Amizade Global Service-Learning. SCU students will be placed in a classroom throughout the week and will work directly with Navajo students at the Tuba City Boarding School. Through this experience SCU students will be able to build relationships with young students, share about their experiences as SCU students, and provide valuable to support to the teachers and students. The group will also learn with and from the local community about the region’s health care, education, welfare and environmental issues. Students will learn about Navajo history and culture through various activities that may include: visits to the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, and the Navajo Interactive Museum, storytelling with community members, and participating in a Navajo sweat lodge ceremony. The SCU group will stay in a hogan, which is a traditional Navajo home.

New Orleans, Louisiana

Saturday, March 22- Saturday, March 29, 2014              Cost: $650

The Santa Clara delegation will spend most of the week working with St. Bernard Project on home construction projects. The group will learn about the effects of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans through visits, conversations, and meetings with community-based organizations in New Orleans. The immersion experience will include conversations with community members who were affected by the storm and community leaders who have struggled to respond to the community’s needs. We will consider the role that race and class played in the hurricane evacuation process, as well as in the city planning for New Orleans. We will talk with experts and everyday people about their hopes, dreams, and plans for rebuilding their communities. Work with the St. Bernard Project ranges from mold remediation, hanging dry wall, finishing touches on a home, and everything in between.

Oakland, California

Friday, March 21- Wednesday March 26, 2014             
Cost: $300

Oakland immersion participants will spend time engaging in the issues and assets of Oakland, focusing in particular on the criminal justice system, food justice, environmental impacts, and educational issues in the city. Components of the urban immersion may include: a visit with Oakland Police Department officials, a visit to Ghost Town Farm, the urban garden featured in the book Farm City, home visits, and meeting with a judge working with the homeless population cases through the justice system and mass at St. Columbo's parish. The group will meet with and work with other community-based organizations in Oakland. The immersion group will be hosted by the St. Vincent de Paul Society in Oakland.

San Jose, California

Saturday, March 22 - Friday, March 28, 2014             
Cost: $300

Santa Clara students will spend five days volunteering and learning first hand about poverty and homelessness in downtown San Jose, just beyond SCU’s campus. In partnership with Sacred Heart Community Service, an organization that prepares and distributes food to over 20,000 people every month, the SCU delegation will volunteer at a food pantry and clothing store for those in need. Participants will volunteer at a senior center and tutor middle school students as well. The trip will promote a vivid awareness of poverty through a simulation experience in which participants will spend a day as homeless individuals receiving basic services from community agencies, and the group will sleep at a homeless shelter for one night during the trip. Finally, trip participants will learn about urban gardening projects connected to SCU. Participants will reflect on these experiences in the context of their education at SCU, and the group will have the chance to hear from with professors, community organizers, and other local leaders who actively work for equality and justice in our nearby community.

Redwoods Monastery

Saturday, March 22 - Saturday, March 29, 2014             
Cost: $225

During this immersion the Santa Clara delegation will spend time with the community of Roman Catholic women monastics at Redwoods Monastery in Whitethorn, California. The monastery was founded in 1962 and is situated among the majestic redwoods and Douglas fir of the Lost Coast of Northern California. The sisters at Redwoods are committed to search for God through the concrete experiences of everyday life, to build a community of love that extends far beyond the confines of the monastery and to be open to inner and outer transformation. During the immersion participants will participate in the community’s monastic schedule of prayer, spiritual reading and manual labor. The experience will provide the group with an opportunity to create intentional community, explore ways of praying, experience nature through hiking and organic gardening, and hear the rich stories of women monastics.The SCU group will stay in the guest house at the monastery, share communal meals and have time to explore spirituality and creative reflection. For more information about Redwoods Monastery, visit their website: http://www.redwoodsabbey.org/

Application Process

The application process for the 2014 Spring Break trips will open in December.

Selected participants will be expected to attend 4–5 pre-trip meetings and a pre-trip weekend retreat,  as well as 3 post-trip meetings in the Spring Quarter.

If you have any questions or need any additional information about Spring Break Immersions, please contact Jake Schneider, 408-554-5346.

Immersion Cost and Fundraising

The student cost indicated for each immersion, joint with Ignatian Center funds, will cover all food, lodging, and transportation (including airfare) associated with the trip.

We encourage fundraising efforts for participants as a way of reaching the goal of their monetary contribution and also partnering with family and friends to make this valuable experience possible. The most effective fundraising for an immersion trip is often individual letter writing to friends and family. Immersion participants may request a sample letter to assist with individual fundraising efforts.

Included in the online application is the opportunity to request financial aid for those students with demonstrated financial need. Financial aid requests are coordinated with the support of the Financial Aid office and the Ignatian Center staff is then able to follow up with individual requests from students. We do not want monetary limitations to prevent any student from participating on an immersion trip. Please contact us if you feel you have financial difficulties that might hinder your participation.

Summer Immersions

Mumbai, India

Friday, August 1- Thursday, August 21, 2014
Cost: $1,950

India is the second largest country in the world by population and it was estimated in 2010 that 30% of its population, some 406 million people, live below the poverty line. As a point of comparison the total population of the United States is roughly 317 million.

In summer 2014, the Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education will launch a new model of immersion program in Mumbai, India. Santa Clara students, accompanied by our own Indian Jesuit, John Rose, SJ, will spend three weeks (August 1-21, 2014) in Mumbai and the surrounding areas, learning about history and culture of India with a particular focus on social and economic issues facing the people. Some issues to be explored may include, disparity of wealth and poverty, access to education, gender violence in Indian culture, the social works of the Jesuits in India, and religious conflict between Hindus and Muslims.

The delegation from Santa Clara will be received and hosted by the Ignatian Center in Mumbai (a Jesuit organization), will interact with students from the St. Xavier’s College (the Jesuit University) and their families, and will have placement sites in the community where they will engage in ongoing service during their time. Sites may include an orphanage, hospital or some other works of the Sisters of Charity, Mother Teresa's religious order.

Students will also have the option of participating in a weekend excursion to Taj Mahal, Goa and Ajanta Ellora.

Ecuador

Friday September 5 - Sunday, September 14, 2014
Cost: $1,200

Ecuador is one of the world’s most dynamic and fascinating countries, a land in which incredible natural beauty and rich resources interface with desperate poverty. While in Ecuador, Santa Clara students will be hosted by Rostro de Cristo. The immersion group will stay in the Rostro de Cristo retreat house in Durán, outside the capital city of Guayaquil. SCU students will spend most of their time developing relationships with local families through daily visits and helping out with the community afterschool program for grade-school children. The group will learn about educational and healthcare needs in the community. The group will also witness the importance of faith and religion in the lives of people living in this community. The SCU students will be challenged to think about how they can work with the Ecuadorian people to find long term solutions to the problems of poverty and together seek opportunities to improve the lives of the people, most of whom are a part of the world’s 3 billion people who live on less than $2 a day. This immersion invites participants to enter into a very simple lifestyle that resembles the way in which the local community lives.

El Salvador

Thursday, September 4 - Sunday, September 14, 2014
Cost: $1,200

This immersion into the reality of El Salvador will support a deep and intensive consideration of the country’s history of violence as well as the current challenges facing developing nations in Latin America and around the globe. The SCU delegation will spend 11 days collaborating with Christians for Peace in El Salvador (CRISPAZ). CRISPAZ builds bridges of solidarity between communities in El Salvador and those in our country with the goal of advancing the causes of peace, justice, and human liberation. During the first part of the trip, the SCU students will stay in the capital city of San Salvador. This introductory period will include meetings with professors, social workers, educators, politicians, clergy, and other experts who will describe both the history and the current national reality of El Salvador. These initial days in San Salvador also include a visit to the University of Central America (UCA), the Jesuit University in El Salvador where 6 Jesuits and their 2 co-workers were martyred in 1989 for their efforts to bring peace to the country’s civil war. Time will be spent in prayer and reflection about the example of their lives. During the second portion of the trip, the SCU students will spend several days in a rural community living with and accompanying the families in all aspects of their lives. They will visit and work in the corn fields, learn to make tortillas by hand, share meals, play soccer, and engage in conversation and relationship-building during the week.

Application Process

The application process for the 2014 Summer trips will open in Spring.

Selected participants will be expected to attend 4–5 pre-trip meetings and a pre-trip weekend retreat,  as well as 3 post-trip meetings in the Fall Quarter.

If you have any questions or need any additional information about Summer Break Immersions, please contact Jake Schneider, 408-554-5346.

Immersion Cost and Fundraising

The student cost indicated for each immersion, joint with Ignatian Center funds, will cover all food, lodging, and transportation (including airfare) associated with the trip.

We encourage fundraising efforts for participants as a way of reaching the goal of their monetary contribution and also partnering with family and friends to make this valuable experience possible. The most effective fundraising for an immersion trip is often individual letter writing to friends and family. Immersion participants may request a sample letter to assist with individual fundraising efforts.

Included in the online application is the opportunity to request financial aid for those students with demonstrated financial need. Financial aid requests are coordinated with the support of the Financial Aid office and the Ignatian Center staff is then able to follow up with individual requests from students. We do not want monetary limitations to prevent any student from participating on an immersion trip. Please contact us if you feel you have financial difficulties that might hinder your participation.

FAQs

How do I apply for an immersion trip?

All applications should be completed electronically and submitted via email.


What is the selection process like for an immersion trip?

Each immersion application is carefully reviewed by Ignatian Center staff. For spring break immersions, applications are also reviewed by the student immersion coordinators. In selecting an immersion group, we place attention on group dynamics for the experience, seeking to form cohesive and diverse groups in terms of personal experience, major, age, and gender. We are especially interested to read about why you want to participate on an immersion trip and how you see the trip fitting in with your life experience, your related coursework, and your experience at Santa Clara University.


The application deadline has passed. May I still submit an application and participate on an immersion?

Please contact us directly if this is your situation. Preference is given to students who submit their applications by the deadline, but in some cases it may be possible for you to join an immersion trip after the application deadline has passed.


How much do immersion trips cost?

The total cost for each immersion varies depending on factors such as the length of the trip and cost of transportation. For example, our summer immersion to Ecuador costs $1,200. This price covers food, lodging, and transportation (including airfare) for the entire trip. Our spring break immersion to the Tenderloin district of San Francisco costs $250. This price also includes food, lodging, and transportation for the entire trip.


Are there fundraising opportunities, and what other types of financial assistance are available to help cover the cost of an immersion trip?

The most effective fundraising for an immersion trip is often individual letter writing to friends and family. All immersion participants are provided with a sample letter and informational pamphlets to assist with individual fundraising efforts. Group fundraising may also be an option and provides an excellent opportunity for participants to get to know each other before an immersion trip. If necessary, we are able to meet one-on-one with a student to determine additional financial support through a payment plan, other fundraising opportunities, and/or scholarship assistance. We do not want monetary limitations to prevent any student from participating on an immersion trip. Please contact us if you have financial difficulties that might hinder your participation.

Student Reflections

Read about the experiences of students who have participated in an Immersion Trip.

Applications

The application deadline for the summer immersions to Ecuador and El Salvador has passed.

Immersions Video

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Profile

Michelle Davidson

Michelle Davidson

Last year, I went to Arizona on the Navajo Nation trip. The opportunity to have a reflective week without the distractions around me at school was one that I embraced. It was a week where I felt more in touch with my spirituality than I had in a long time.Read More