Immersion Experiences are integral to a Jesuit Catholic education. What are Immersion Experiences?
Immersion trips are seven to ten day experiences to a variety of domestic and international locations that invite and challenge participants to enter into solidarity with the people, culture, history, and other realities of the region. Each immersion focuses on several specific social justice issues. Our goals are, first, to establish relationships with people on the margins so that we can begin to understand not only their particular situation but the structures within society that prevent people from living a full, dignified life and create such disparity in wealth, equality, and justice for all. For instance, an immersion to Montgomery, Alabama, focuses on racial justice, while an immersion to El Salvador focuses on the history of the Civil War, the United States involvement in the area, and present-day migration. Second, it is our goal that learning takes place through immersing ourselves into the local reality. Our third goal is to teach students the importance of reflection in their lives. Daily reflections enhance our understanding and connect us deeper with each other and God. Last, our goal is not to do service in the traditional sense (though occasionally immersion trips have a service component) but rather to serve by being fully present and learning how we can empower the locals and lift up their unique gifts and talents. We hope to enter into relationship (as friends who are equals) and foster these relationships in the long-term. We do not enter into relationship to change the other, but work hard to open ourselves up to being changed by their reality. We leave the location with many more questions than when we started.
Preparation and post-immersion gatherings are an opportunity for students to learn and reflect about the people, issues, and realities they encounter, and can provide a way for a one-week experience to become a life-time transformation.