Immersion Program

Local Immersions

Urban & Rural Plunges

Bellarmine sponsors local urban and rural "plunges" on a number of weekends throughout the school year. These local immersion experiences offer students and faculty the opportunity to understand the impact of poverty at the local level, to interact directly with the poor affected by this poverty and to take action in response to what the students have witnessed on their journey.

Urban Plunge 2012_39.JPG
Urban Plunge
November 4-6, 2016; January 27-29, 2017
San Jose, CA
Juniors and Seniors
Estimated Cost: $50

Urban Plunge
October 28-29, 2016; April 28-29, 2017
San Francisco, CA
Juniors and Seniors
Estimated Cost: $75

The urban plunge provides students with the opportunity to grapple with the issues related to homelessness in San Jose or San Francisco. You'll meet with a number of different agencies that serve the homeless, and provide service via working at soup kitchens.

Rural Plunge
September 23-25, 2016
Salinas, CA
Juniors and Seniors
Estimated Cost: $80

The rural plunge takes students to Salinas for several days, where you will come to better understand the struggles faced by migrant farm workers by working alongside them.

Domestic Immersions

Appalachia Service & Spiritual Immersion

June 2017
Salem, West Virginia
Rising Juniors and Seniors
Estimated Cost: $1200

Students travel to Nazareth Farm, a Catholic intentional community near Salem, West Virginia. Nazareth Farm opened in 1979, and has been receiving volunteer groups ever since. As per their website, “Nazareth Farm is a Catholic community in rural West Virginia that transforms lives through a service-retreat experience. We serve alongside our neighbors to address substandard housing by providing home repair. We celebrate the richness of Appalachia and experience God by building relationships between our volunteers and the local community.”

Ignatian Solidarity Network Teach-In for Justice

November 10-14, 2016
Washington, DC
Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors
Estimated Cost: $1000

Students travel to Washington DC, gathering on the steps of Capitol Hill, with a large Ignatian Family, to express concern for issues of social justice. The trip includes meetings with other Jesuit high schools and universities, breakout sessions on issues of (in)justice, work in advocacy and an action component. Students will also tour our nation's capital and learn about how to advocate for justice at the highest level.

Kino Border Initiative

Spring Break 2017
Nogales, AZ and Nogales, Sonora
Juniors and Seniors
Estimated Cost: $800

The goal of this immersion trip is for students to better understand the reality of immigration and deportation at the US-Mexican border. Students spend time at the border town of Nogales, with the Jesuit ministry: The Kino Border Initiative. They serve and visit with deported individuals, walk in the desert and learn about the legal process that leads to deportation. The trip provides an opportunity for students to respond to Jesus' proclamation "Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." (Matthew 25:40)

Los Angeles Service & Solidarity Immersion

Spring Break 2017
Los Angeles, CA
Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors
Estimated Cost: $500

Students have the opportunity to spend their winter break in Los Angeles, California's complex and diverse urban center, to witness and serve the marginalized while living and engaging in communities that serve them. Staying in several locations around downtown Los Angeles, students serve the poor in a variety of ways, from serving in soup kitchens to tutoring children. Students visit Homeboy Industries, a recognized leader in gang rehabilitation, for a special baking session and tour. They also spend four days on Skid Row in the heart of downtown, where they cook for and serve the homeless, learn about drug addiction and rehabilitation, and see first-hand the many challenges that exist and what people are doing to provide solutions. Students live and eat simply on the trip so as to appreciate and enter into the greater reality of the poor, while also embracing the cultures of the many different groups who call this area home.

Mississippi Delta Immersion

June 2017
Rising Juniors and Seniors
Estimated Cost: $1200

On this trip, students travel to the Mississippi Delta, one of the poorest and most under-served regions in the United States. They learn about the Civil Rights Movement, the educational and economic disparity between the Delta and much of the rest of the US, and the history of Blues music, which developed in this region. Students engage in service work in several areas, helping with building repair specifically, and stay at a historical sharecropping site, as well as visit Blues clubs.

Navajo Reservation Immersion

Winter Break 2017
Tuba City, AZ
Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors
Estimated Cost: $800

Students travel to a Navajo reservation near Tuba City, AZ, completing service work in various settings that could include painting, boxing up lunches or cleaning yards. There is ample opportunity to learn about the culture and the current situation of people living on the reservation. Students also meet local area students and visit some sacred sites with a guide.

International Immersions

Ecuador Service Immersion

June 2017
Quito, Ecuador
Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors
Estimated Cost: $1700

Traveling to Quito, Ecuador, students work at the Working Boys Center (WBC), an amazing place where families from the 'poorest of the poor' work to break the cycle of poverty. Run by Fr. John Halligan, SJ, and BVM sisters, the Center provides education, healthcare, job training, a spiritual community and financial training. You help in all areas, but primarily in the grammar school.

El Salvador Solidarity Immersion

El Salvador 2012.jpg

June 2017
El Salvador
Rising Juniors and Seniors
Estimated Cost: $2200

While in El Salvador, students examine the history and influences of the Jesuit martyrs, visit with members of the two major opposing political parties, and visit our sister community in Agua Escondida. In addition, the delegation attends several meetings with representatives of various human rights, labor and environmental groups. They also plan the November liturgy in honor of the Jesuit martyrs and host the Solidarity Dinner in support of our sister community, Agua Escondida.

Guatemala Service & Solidarity Immersion

June 2017
Guatemala City, Guatemala  
Rising Juniors and Seniors
Estimated Cost: $1700

Students travel to Guatemala City to serve and accompany students and staff at Esperanza Juvenil. Known as Boys Hope Girls Hope in the United States, this Guatemalan program provides approximately 60 youth with shelter, food, clothing and a comprehensive education and co-curricular program. Service activities include painting, building maintenance and tutoring. These projects are paralleled with constant soccer, art and conversation with the children. The group also visits Mayan ruins and tours the vibrant cultural center of Antigua.

Haiti Cultural & Service Immersion

July 2017
Carice, Haiti  
Rising Juniors and Seniors
Estimated Cost: $2400

Students fly into Cap Haitian and then travel to the rural community of Carice in the North Eastern Region. You coordinate a week-long summer day camp for elementary/middle school students at the Foi et Joie School. Jesuits operate Faith and Joy Schools (Foi et Joie - Creole / Fey y Alegria - Spanish) in low-income communities in 20 developing countries. This school in Carice is one of the 18 quality Foi et Joie schools in Haiti. The immersion group also visits the historic Citadelle, the northern coast and other cultural sites.

India Cultural & Service Immersion

Winter Break 2017
Pune, India
Juniors and Seniors
Estimated Cost: $2500

The India immersion course analyzes contemporary justice issues and the religions of India. Students stay in a Jesuit community in Pune, and receive the benefit of mini-lectures from Jesuits while visiting students at a local Jesuit high school, as well as surrounding temples and slum-neighborhoods. Students will also visit and spend time in service to the forgotten women and children in Pune. Ultimately, throughout this immersion, students explore poverty in India.

Mexico Service & Cultural/Language Immersion

June 2017
Mexico City, Puebla
Rising Juniors and Seniors
Estimated Cost: $3000

Students travel to Central Mexico for an immersion rich in solidarity, language, culture and service. Starting in Mexico City, the group explores the vast capital city and familiarizes themselves with the smells, the sights and the sounds of this metropolis of over 21 million people. They then travel to the rural countryside of Puebla for the core of the trip, spending six days living in solidarity with the boys at the IPODERAC orphanage. The group completes 60 hours of service at the boys home while living as the community lives and helping with daily chores in addition to completing a major service project. After six days of hard work and plenty of soccer, the group returns to Mexico City to further explore the city, including a visit to the ancient pyramids of Teotihuacán.

Philippines Cultural, Service & Solidarity Immersion

July 9 - 22, 2017
Manila, rural Philippines
Rising Juniors and Seniors
Estimated Cost: $2300

This trip helps students see the world with new eyes - to recognize the unjust suffering of marginalized communities and individuals, and to allow those experiences to inform their emerging sense of self, faith/spiritual tradition and vocational discernment. For the first week, students will accompany marginalized Filipino communities through Casa Bayanihan, which will highlight the many social issues in Manila. During the second part of the immersion, they will build houses and live with families in a rural village through Gawad Kalinga. Not only will students be able to encounter the poverty of the Philippines but they will also encounter the ways in which the Filipinos respond to their suffering, which are unique to the Filipino faith and culture.

South Africa Solidarity Immersion

June 2017
South Africa
Rising Juniors and Seniors
Estimated Cost: $3000

This trip explores the dimensions of social (in)justice in post-apartheid South Africa. Students meet with political and religious leaders, as well as explore local townships and community organizers. Students stay at a Jesuit church outside of Johannesburg, and learn about African culture and South Africa's struggle for justice.

Tanzania Cultural, Service & Solidarity Immersion

June 14 - 28, 2017
Rural Tanzania
Rising Juniors and Seniors
Estimated Cost: $3500

Students will travel to the Mt. Kilimanjaro area of northern Tanzania to explore a beautiful region and devastating poverty. They will spend the majority of their time in rural Tanzania, putting on a summer camp for school children. Students will develop a deeper understanding of the social and economic reality of Africa, while being in one of the most beautiful regions of the world.

Tijuana Service Immersion

Spring Break 2017
Tijuana, Mexico
Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors
Estimated Cost: $650

During Easter/Spring Break, mostly junior and senior students, along with members of the Dads' Club, travel into Tijuana to literally build a foundation for the future for four to five families. During the building of each house, family members may very well be working side-by-side with the students as they build the house.


The application process for immersions is now closed.


Mr. Joe Cussen
Asst. Director of Christian Service: Immersion 

Immersion Program Calendar

Thu Sep07

Parent/Student Immersion Information Night

Location: Alessandri Theatre
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Thu Feb01

Solidarity Dinner

Location: Liccardo
6:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Fri Mar30

Tijuana Immersion Trip Departs

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B: Immersed