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
October 5-6, 2018; March 22-23, 2019
San Francisco, CA
Juniors and Seniors
Estimated Cost: $50

Urban Plunge
October 26-28, 2018; January 25-27, 2019
San Jose, CA
Juniors and Seniors
Estimated Cost: $50

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 14-16, 2018
Salinas, CA
Juniors and Seniors
Estimated Cost: $75

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 21-29, 2019
Salem, West Virginia
Rising Juniors and Seniors
Estimated Cost: $1500

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 1-5, 2018
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: April 22-27, 2019
Nogales, AZ and Nogales, Sonora
Juniors and Seniors
Estimated Cost: $750

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

Winter Break: February 16-22, 2019
Los Angeles, CA
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 7-15, 2019
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: February 16-22, 2019
Tuba City, AZ
Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors
Estimated Cost: $700

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

Cambodia Service & Cultural Immersion

Winter Break: February 14-23, 2019
Juniors and Seniors
Estimated Cost: $1700

Participants on the Cambodia immersion will work with students and teachers at Xavier Jesuit School in northwestern Cambodia. They will teach and tutor elementary and middle school students, as well as meet and interact with peers from our brother Jesuit high school. Students will spend a couple of days in Siem Reap, learning about the rich cultural and religious traditions of the country.

Ecuador Service Immersion

May 28 - June 6, 2019
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

June 4-14, 2019
El Salvador
Rising 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

May 26 - June 5, 2019
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.

Mexico Service & Cultural/Language Immersion

June 14-23, 2019
Mexico City, Puebla, Oaxaca
Rising Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors
Estimated Cost: $2700-3000

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.

Puerto Rico Service & Cultural Immersion

May 25 - June 4, 2019
Rising Juniors and Seniors
Estimated Cost: $2500

Students will build, paint, and/or roof homes in a part of the country that is still reeling from Hurricane Maria. They will meet and work alongside students from our brother Jesuit school, Colegio San Ignacio de Loyola, learn about Puerto Rico's culture and tradition, and examine the political injustices facing the beautiful island.

South Africa Solidarity Immersion

May 27 - June 10, 2019
Johannesburg, CapeTown
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.

Taiwan Cultural, Language & Service Immersion

Spring Break: April 18-28, 2019
Multiple locations in Taiwan
Juniors and Seniors
Estimated Cost: $2500

Students and faculty leaders will travel to Taiwan for a 10-day immersion in culture, language and service. The group will visit the vibrant and modern city of Taipei City, exploring its rich Chinese traditions.  The Bellarmine contingent will also spend days in service, traveling to the north central mountains to tutor elementary school students of Taiya Tribe, a minority indigenous population in Taiwan. They will also help to clean up the local community. The indigenous peoples of Taiwan face economic and social barriers, including a high unemployment rate and substandard education. We will interact with students and teachers and learn about their lives and history, as well as the challenges they face in this fast moving, industrialized and media-driven society.

Tanzania Cultural, Service & Solidarity Immersion

June 5-19, 2019
Kilimanjaro and the bush
Rising Juniors and Seniors
Estimated Cost: $3600

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: April 19-25, 2019
Tijuana, Mexico
Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors
Estimated Cost: $600

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.


  • All applicants must attend a pre-application meeting. The meetings will take place in Andrade Theatre in the Library (except as noted below), and will take approximately 20 minutes.

     Meeting dates & times:

     September 5, 12:25 pm
     September 6, 12:25 pm
     October 2, 12:25 pm (Library classroom)
     October 4, 12:25 pm
     October 5, 1:30 pm
     November 14, 12:25 pm
     November 15, 12:25 pm
     November 16, 1:30 pm

  • Students may attend a maximum of one longer immersion trip and one plunge from August 2018-July 2019.
  • If you are accepted to an immersion trip which takes place over Winter or Spring Break, that acceptance will be contingent on you completing your required CSP service hours in the fall semester. If you are accepted to an immersion trip which takes place over the summer, that acceptance will be contingent on you completing your required CSP service hours in the fall and spring semesters.
  • Immersion Program Overview 2018-2019



First semester trips: September 7, 2018, 8:15 am

Second semester trips: October 8, 2018, 8:15 am

Summer trips: November 19, 2018, 8:15 am


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