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Immersion experiences, both local and global, are designed to help participants see the world with new eyes, to recognize the unjust suffering in a context that is different to their own, practice solidarity with marginalized communities, and to allow those experiences to inform their vocational discernment. In the words of Father Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, the Ignatian Center strives to empower immersion participants "to let the reality of this world into their lives, so they can learn to feel it, think about it critically, respond to its suffering, and engage it constructively." These immersion experiences, and the profound reflection to which they naturally give rise, are privileged moments of vocational discernment during which participants are uniquely invited to consider their place in the world.  

Immersions and ELSJ

Immersions can count as part of your Experiential Learning for Social Justice (ELSJ) requirement. Enroll and participate in an Ignatian Center immersion and request permission for the assessment manager for Undergraduate Studies in advance of beginning the immersion preparation. You will register for a directed study (1 credit) class. Coursework will allow you to reflect on the immersion experience and explore what it means to live in solidarity with our local and global community. Course assignments include critical reflections and an academic research paper.

Immersion Locations

Upcoming Immersions


Summer Break 2024 Immersions
Montgomery, Alabama - LEAD scholar Immersions
Navigate here to Civil Rights Legacy Today

Montgomery, Alabama - LEAD Scholars

Explore the living legacy of the civil rights movement and learn about the rich heritage of liberation and human rights in the African American and Southern Communities.


Chiapas Mexico Immersion
Navigate here to Indigenous Sovereignty & Global Solidarity

Chiapas Mexico

Engage with indigenous communities to gain a deeper understanding of indigenous activism for social and economic justice and the defense of human rights and sovereignty.


Lima, Peru  Universidad Antonio Ruiz de Montoya (UARM) Mural
Navigate here to Public Health & Environmental Justice

Lima, Peru

Engage with Universidad Antonio Ruiz de Montoya students and faculty for an in-depth exploration of the persistent inequities in basic health care due to a history of internal migration caused by violence and environmental crises.

Class of 2026 First Year Immersion Bay Area - San Jose mural under overpass
Navigate here to Class of 2028 Immersion

Bay Area First Year Immersion

Learn about Bay Area social justice issues, meet with community leaders and organizations, meet new classmates, deepen your understanding of SCU’s Jesuit tradition of holistic community-engaged education, and move in early!

(Applications open June 21- July 7)


The Immersion Process:

Summer Break Immersions applications open early Winter Quarter

Winter Break Immersions - applications open early Fall Quarter

Spring Break Immersions - applications open late Fall Quarter

Selected participants for Immersions will be expected to attend 4–5 pre-immersion meetings, 1 welcome back meeting, as well as create a Solidarity Action Plan upon their return (1-3 independent meetings)

Faculty/Staff Companion Positions

If you are interested in being a Faculty/Staff Companion for an Immersion, please contact Maria Autrey (, 408-554-5342.

Student Coordinators

If you are interested in being a Student Coordinator for an Immersion, please contact Maria Autrey (, 408-554-5342.

After applying and being selected for an immersion trip you will participate in the pre-immersion preparation process. Immersion teams will meet 4-5 times in the weeks leading up to the immersion (Tuesdays 5:45-7:15pm) and all participants will attend a weekend retreat intended for team building and reflection on themes that will be deepened through the immersion itself. Immersion participants commit to attending all team meetings and the pre-immersion retreat. These are opportunities for your team to reflect, share and get to know one another, to learn more about the community you will be visiting and the current issues facing that community and to pass on details on trip preparation, travel, etc.

*Please note: As of Winter 2023, all Immersion related meetings will take place on Tuesdays from 5:45-7:15 pm.

On your immersion you will be accompanied by a student Immersion Coordinator and/or an Immersion Companion (SCU faculty, staff, or graduate student). Your immersion team will be hosted by a local organization that will take care of the logistics for your stay. Each immersion varies in terms of what activities you will participate in so please be open and flexible. During your immersion you will have the opportunity engage with the local community and learn about the issues facing its members, as well as connect with the other immersion participants and share in reflection about the impact of  the experience.

While the immersion has ended, the full experience is a journey that is never truly over. More than an end goal, we believe that the immersion itself is a starting point for ongoing reflective and critical engagement of the realities of our local and global community. For this reason, participants commit to meeting at least 3 times upon return from the trip to continue processing, sharing stories, and determining next steps toward integrating the immersion experience into life at Santa Clara and beyond. Immersion companions, Ignatian staff members, and other members of the Santa Clara community are here as a resource to assist as you integrate your immersion into post-immersion life. 

The student cost indicated for each immersion, joint with Ignatian Center funds, will cover food, lodging, and transportation (including airfare) associated with the trip. Please note that the additional costs of supplies, checked baggage, airport food, vaccines, visa, passports is not covered by the Ignatian Center and will need to be paid by the student participant in addition to the program fee.
Financial Aid 
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.
Letter-Writing Campaign
All immersion participants will be asked to participate in a group letter-writing campaign to raise funds. We will facilitate the sending of letters to extended family and friends requesting program support. This is both a way to make the program more sustainable and accessible to more students and to engage your community, sharing the significance of the trip and partnering with them in this endeavor. Direction and support will be given in pre-trip meetings.

Pillars of Immersions

The four pillars that guide our Immersions are: 

Jenna Making Tortillas - square
Navigate here to COMMUNITY

with individuals from all walks of life

potential lifelong friendships

with communities with limited access to wealth, power, and privilege

Spiral stained glass square
Navigate here to SPIRITUALITY

about the Ignatian Spiritual Tradition

a faith that does justice, and explore what it means to find God in all things

on and investigate questions of meaning and purpose in the midst of the world's brokenness

Looking at border wall 2
Navigate here to SOCIAL JUSTICE

those on the margins who are experiencing various forms of injustice

relationships, and see, experience, and understand a reality apart from your own

how to respond in action

NIcaragua picking coffee beans
Navigate here to SIMPLICITY

authentic, just relationships

on the value placed on material goods in your life, the local community, and the greater world

a spirituality of simplicity, and learn to do less in order to be more

Additional Immersion Opportunities

San Francisco Tenderloin
Navigate here to Urban Plunge

Each quarter, the Ignatian Center’s Immersion program offers an intensive, 8 hour immersion experience in the heart of downtown San Jose or San Francisco to an SCU group or organization. Participants will delve into the issue of houselessness in one of the wealthiest cities in the world.

Mandi Sit
Navigate here to Immersion Coordinators

Undergraduate students who have been on an immersion trip during their time at SCU are eligible to become a Student Immersion Coordinator! As an Student Immersion Coordinator, they will develop leadership skills, assist in the planning and organization of all aspects of an immersion, and facilitate an unforgettable immersion experience.

Faculty Staff Immersion Kino Border 2023
Navigate here to Faculty & Staff Immersion

Since 1992, the Ignatian Center has hosted faculty and staff immersions, offering participants a unique, personal opportunity to enrich their own involvement with Jesuit higher education, strengthen their solidarity with marginalized communities, and foster companionship and collaboration with fellow SCU colleagues.

Navigate here to Accompany Student Immersions

Faculty, staff, and graduate students at SSCU are able to accompany our undergraduate immersion programs and participate fully in the trips. Serving as a Companion is a unique opportunity to grow with students in the pillars of simplicity, social justice, spirituality and community through shared experience and reflection.

Stories of Impact

Navigate here to The Infinite Impact of Immersions

After graduating from SCU, Yajaira "Yaya" Morales-Vidovich '11 entered the teaching profession well prepared. It was her experience on immersion trips, however, that Yaya credits for shaping not only her professional path, but her personal journey as well.

Kino Border
Navigate here to A Catalyst for Solidarity

During the Summer of 2018, the Ignatian Center sent 8 SCU faculty and staff members to Nogales, Arizona and Sonora, Mexico in collaboration with Kino Border Initiative. This organization helps make humane and just migration between the U.S. and Mexico a reality.

Mandi Sit Square
Navigate here to Humanizing Homelessness

Mandi Sit '20 first encountered the Ignatian Center when she decided to sign up for the San Jose First-Year Immersion trip the summer before starting at SCU. Find out how that trip and her two additional immersion experiences impacted her time at SCU.

Our students reflect on the time they spent during their immersion trip to Nicaragua nearly 3 years ago.

Navigate here to Questions? Contact Us!