How do I apply? What is the application process?
Students may apply for the Service & Justice Immersion Program by filling out the online application on the Nest. The link for the application is available on the Campus Ministry and Community Service websites.
For the 2021-2022 school year, there will be immersion trips during Spring Break and during the Summer. Applications will open near the end of September, and will close near the end of October. Please check the "Apply" tab on our website to learn more details about the application process.
Where are the trips?
The Office of Campus Ministry organizes spring break immersion trips to Montgomery Alabama, West Virginia, the Dominican Republic, Camden New Jersey, Apopka Florida, and the US/Mexico border.
There are also a summer immersion trip to El Salvador. The trip will leave soon after graduation and last ten to twelve days.
These locations may change from year to year.
How much money does an immersion trip cost?
Currently, international spring break trips cost $850, international summer trips cost $1,000, and domestic trips cost between $200 and $500. This fee covers all room and board costs, transportation expenses, and any supplies or program costs required. All other expenses are the responsibility of each student.
Can/how does fundraising for trips work?
Individual fundraising is the responsibility of each team member. Fundraising is done by soliciting funds from friends, family and/or their parish community. Individual funds raised are applied directly towards the student’s fee. Funds raised beyond the individual student fee are applied as a donation to the Service & Justice Immersion program, and are used for future student scholarships. Team fundraising is organized by the immersion trip leaders and varies by group. Funds raised by team fundraising are used as donations to the communities we visit during the trips.
When do the trips occur?
Campus Ministry organizes trips twice a year: during Spring Break and in May after graduation.
How long does a trip last?
Spring Break trips last for the duration of the break (one week). Summer trips organized after graduation are either ten or twelve days in duration, departing campus on the Monday after graduation.
What happens during the trips?
Each trip varies in the types of activities that go on, the people you meet, and the things you learn. Look on the Trip Locations page to learn more about each trip.
What are the living arrangements?
Living arrangements vary depending on the trip. Students will be staying in retreat houses, schools, hostels, or home-stays. Teams are house separately by gender, and communal living is expected. Our living arrangements are usually similar to the living conditions of the communities we visit.
Do you have to be Catholic/religious to participate in the trips?
Students do not have to be Catholic or religious to be a part of the Service & Justice Immersion Program. We hope that all students, regardless of faith background are interested in learning about how to better work for the common good! However, the trips are sponsored by the Office of Campus Ministry and there is a spiritual component to all of them. All team members are asked to be present for Sunday Mass during the trips and participate in nightly reflections/sharing.
What safety precautions are taken?
The Office of Campus Ministry takes safety very seriously. All of the partners we work with on each of our trips have great reputations and have been hosting university groups for many years. On all trips, safety is a top priority.
In addition, each international team is registered with the Department of State Overseas Travel Office. This registration alerts our local Embassy that our group is in the country, where they are and how long they will be visiting. The registration also includes a list of the team members and their individual passport numbers. Other safety measures include registering and working with a reputable organizations, having strict rules regarding team members visiting local communities, purchasing trip insurance and, continually reminding the team members of pertinent safety precautions that need to be kept.
What are the medical requirements/vaccinations?
Each student is encouraged to visit the Center for Disease Control website and decide for him/herself what vaccinations they would like to receive and what other medical precautions they would like to take. Each student is encouraged to consult his or her parents, guardians and/or doctor.
If any student has a special medical condition or allergy, they are encouraged to talk with Office of Campus Ministry and the Office of Disability Services to see which immersion locations might best be able to accommodate their needs.
The majority of the trips require COVID-19 vaccinations, however, some do not. Please review the trip locations page for more information.
Does the trip require additional insurance?
The only insurance a student needs is the health insurance required for them to be a student at CUA.
Are there professional staff members on the trips?
One or two professional staff members who are employed by The Catholic University of America lead each immersion trip. Normally, one is a member of the Office of Campus Ministry and the other a staff or faculty member.
If you are a CUA staff or faculty and are interested in attending an immersion trip as an adviser, please fill out our interest form here. Interest forms are accepted on a rolling basis, and you will be contacted by a Campus Minister upon the submission of your form.
Are there leadership opportunities for students on the trip?
Visiting a another community or country provides many challenges. All students are encouraged to be open to the beliefs, cultures, and new experiences that they will have. This team experience provides leadership training that develops prospective leaders for future Campus Ministry activities and programs. Each team has at least one student leader who applies and is chosen during the spring semester of the previous school year.
Are there any class requirements?
Currently there is a class requirement for the Spring Break Border Immersion Trip. The class is a 3-credit Theology course taken during the spring semester. The class is mandatory for any student wanting to participate in the border immersion trip.
There is also a class requirement for the West Virgina Immersion trip. The class is a 3-credit Liberal Arts course taken in the spring semester ,taught through the School of Social Work. The class is mandatory for any student wanting to participate in the West Virginia immersion trip.