International Immersions is a program sponsored by the Office of the Chaplain/Campus Ministry at Providence College. Each year at the end of May, Providence College students and staff members travel to different countries to volunteer and experience new cultures firsthand. Participants gain a vivid appreciation of their relationship to others - especially those who are underprivileged and suffering in today's increasingly interconnected world.
Each immersion includes weekly meetings during the second half of Spring Semester. These meetings are an important time for immersion participants to get to know each other, learn more about the purpose of their trip, and cover logistical details. After each immersion, participants return to Providence College for a retreat facilitated by Campus Ministry staff and student leaders. Group discussion and prayerful reflection are central throughout each immersion experience. Current freshmen, sophomores, and juniors are invited to apply for International Immersions. The program seeks students with a diversity of backgrounds and welcomes applications from individuals of all religions.
The Haiti Immersion is offered in collaboration between Providence College Campus Ministry and The Haitian Project, a nonprofit organization based in Providence. The Haitian Project was founded by St. Joseph's Parish in Providence to provide humanitarian relief to the people of Haiti. The Haitian Project operates the Louverature Cleary School (LCS) - a Catholic, tuition-free, co-educational secondary boarding school for 350 economically underprivileged Haitian children. Haiti is a country in which more than 1 million primary school age children have no access to education and nearly 80% of the population lacks basic reading and writing skills.
LSC students are encouraged to be active leaders in service to their community. Each day, students can be found cleaning their neighborhood, caring for sick and orphaned children and disabled adults, and challenging the notion that theirs is a country devoid of hope. LCS students receive a top-notch education, a tool that will help them as they seek to rebuild Haiti. The Haitian Project operates by a simple and powerful motto: "What you receive as gift, you must give as gift." -Matthew 10:8. (Click here for more information about The Haitian Project.)
Haiti Immersion participants spend five days living in community at LCS in Croix-des-Bouquets, Haiti. PC students will help teach classes, plan activities, and get to know LCS students and staff. The Haitian Project sponsors a yearlong volunteer program for recent college graduates to teach at LCS. Students with an interest in a year of post-graduate service are encouraged to apply for the Haiti Immersion. Eight students (four men and four women) and two PC staff participate each year in the Haiti Immersion.
Participants on the Jamaica Immersion volunteer with Mustard Seed Communities (MSC) in Kingston. MSC aims to uplift the most vulnerable members of society. Mustard Seed was founded in 1978 to serve communities in and around Kingston, and the organization currently serves populations in Jamaica, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, and Zimbabwe.
MSC operates several homes for the severely disabled, children with HIV/AIDS, and pregnant teens in Jamaica. Immersion participants have the opportunity to travel to these different homes to serve, learn more about MSC, and build relationships. The group stays at Sophie's Place, a home for more than twenty children with profound disabilities. Sophie's Place provides accommodations for volunteers, a chapel, and Little Angels basic school, serving residents of Sophie's Place and children from the surrounding communities. Thirteen students and two PC staff participate in the Jamaica Immersion each year. (Click here for more information about Mustard Seed Communities.)
Applications for International Immersions are available at the beginning of Spring Semester. Completed application packets, along with a $50 deposit, are due in the Campus Ministry Center shortly thereafter. Participants are selected and notified by Spring Break.
Due to generous outside funding, the trip cost for International Immersions is only $600 for each participant. The $600 cost covers transportation (ground and air), housing, and food for the immersion. Please note, however, that the $600 trip cost does NOT cover any expenses for participants related to passport applications or vaccinations.