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.
When final decisions about the Immersion Program for the 2020-2021 academic year are made, information will be given to the student body.
Where are the trips?
The Office of Campus Ministry organizes spring break immersion trips to Jamaica, West Virginia, the Dominican Republic, Philadelphia, Apopka Florida, the US/Mexico border, and Ecuador.
There are also two summer immersion trips to Belize and El Salvador. Both trips leave the Monday after graduation and last ten to twelve days.
These locations may change from year to year.
How much money does a mission trip cost?
Currently, international spring break trips cost $850, international summer trips cost $1,050, and domestic trips cost between $325 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 and work that go on during the trip. Look on the Trip Locations page to learn more about each location.
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 to be a part of the Service & Justice Immersion Program. 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 and participate in nightly reflections/sharing.
What safety precautions are taken?
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 finally, continually reminding the team members that they are in a foreign community and that they need to be alert and watch out for each other.
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.
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.
Are there leadership opportunities for students on the trip?
Visiting a foreign community or country provides many challenges. All students are encouraged to be open to the beliefs and cultures they experience there. 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.