Introduction

Campus Ministry of Boston College, with its strong commitment to integrate faith and social justice, has long had a tradition of offering students the opportunity to spend some time in other countries to learn about the realities, hopes and struggles of those who live in situations of economic or social marginalization. We believe that everyone has a real responsibility to learn about the suffering of our brothers and sisters throughout the world and to seek constructive ways to change the structures which oppress them. At the same time, we recognize the inherent value in building relationships of respect and mutuality in which learning can take place on both sides. We have found that all of our service and immersion programs have led to changes in our hearts and minds and the way we understand ourselves and others in the world.

At present, Campus Ministry offers a number of immersion experiences allowing students to learn about other countries and cultures different than their own. This provides opportunities to hear stories of people who struggle for peace and justice in their communities. The selection process for these programs is held in the fall and spring semesters. Once selected, groups are formed that meet weekly to organize fundraising, to build community among each other, and to learn about the country and its indigenous issues. Upon returning to Boston College, the groups continue to meet to process the experience and to discover ways to share their impressions with others at the University.



WINTER PROGRAMS

Belize Winter Camps
Students travel to Seine Bight (on the Placencia Peninsula) Belize, Central America. Living in a community center and working with Belizean teachers, they run a one-week winter camp for village children and teach in the regular school system the following week. Additionally, volunteers spend time in Belize City engaging in service work and meeting with members of the local community.

For more information, contact Ignacio Volunteers -- 552-3514 or igvol@bc.edu.

Mexico Experience
Students travel to Tijuana, Mexico. Living together at La Casa del Migrante, a shelter for migrants run by the Scalabrini Fathers, they serve at a community shelter; participate on construction projects and in social service work at several locations (including a soup kitchen and outreach centers for the elderly and the young); and examine the political, social and economic relationships which exist between Mexico and the United States.

For more information, contact Ignacio Volunteers -- 552-3514 or igvol@bc.edu.



SPRING PROGRAMS

The Nicaragua Immersion Program
The Nicaragua immersion Program is in its seventh year at Boston College. Over the past six years, students have traveled to this impoverished country in Central America to spend time in a poor campesino community and experience firsthand the lives of people who struggle each day to feed their children, obtain clean drinking water, and find a way to support themselves both individually and in community. The trip takes place during March Break and lasts for about nine days. We spend time in the capital city and out in the rural areas of the country to learn about the concerns of the people from different vantage points. We meet with the community leaders as well as those involved in education, healthcare, labor and politics. Each night during our stay, we meet as a group to share the impressions, thoughts, struggles, and joys. We spend time in prayer and reflection, for Campus Ministry is deeply committed to helping our students to "contemplatives in action." It is our responsibility to think critically about the larger social, political, religious and economic implications which serve to affect the lives of the people.

For more information, contact Campus Ministry at 552-3475 or e-mail to ministry@bc.edu

The El Salvador Program
This trip, initiated by students at Boston College, traveled to El Salvador for the first time during May and June of 1998. The trip is very similar to both the Nicaragua and Mexico trips in that it serves to immerse and involve the group in the culture and country of El Salvador. This country has a long history of struggle and pain, including an intense civil war and many economic struggles for the people there. The group spends time in the capital city of San Salvador, with visits to a church to hear about the ways the people of this country are trying to organize themselves to improve the conditions of daily life. They also learn about important moments in the tragic history of the country, visiting sites such as the UCA, San Salvador, where six Jesuits, their housekeeper and her daughter were assassinated in 1989. The experience also involves opportunities for daily prayer, reflection and discussion so that the group can process all that they will encounter in the visit there.

For more information, contact Campus Ministry at 552-3475 or e-mail to ministry@bc.edu

The Jamaica Program
Students immerse themselves in the urban reality of Kingston, Jamaica by serving at several different outreach ministries, including an orphanage, a home for the elderly, and a home for severely disabled children. Additionally, they will visit The Culture Yard, a museum dedicated to the artist who emerged from Trenchtown, Jamaica and became a voice of liberation for those Jamaicans living in oppressive conditions.

For more information, contact Campus Ministry at 552-3475 or e-mail to ministry@bc.edu


SUMMER PROGRAMS

The Cuernavaca, Mexico Program
In late May or early June, a campus minister accompanies a group of about 20 Boston College students to Cuernavaca, Mexico. This is a two-week immersion program conducted at the Cuernavaca Center for Intercultural Dialogue on Development (CCIDD). The program provides direct experience with those who find themselves living in the poorest of conditions in Mexico, including Latin American refugees, as they struggle each day for survival and dignity. In addition to the staff at CCIDD, professors, social workers, medical personnel, and clergy participate in dialogue with the BC students. Visits to the squatter settlement in Cuernavaca, to the indigenous people in the mountains, and Christian-based communities round out the learning and intercultural dialogue. Returning to school in the fall, the participants meet to reflect and process the experience.

For more information, contact Campus Ministry at 2-3475 or e-mail at ministry@bc.edu

The Dominican Republic Program
Students run a summer camp for 300 children in grades 2-6 in the rural town of El Cruce in the southwestern Dominican Republic. They will be assisted in the classroom by Dominican teachers. The group will also visit a batey, a community of Haitian immigrants working in the sugar cane industry. A minimum of intermediate Spanish is required.

For more information, contact Ignacio Volunteers at 2-3514 or igvol@bc.edu.

The Jamaican Program
Students travel to the rural towns of Annotto Bay and Highgate in Northeast Jamaica to run a two-week summer camp. The students pair with Jamaican co-teachers and serve as teachers/coaches for over 300 children and adolescent students. Additionally, the groups spend a few days in Kingston, the capital of Jamaica.

For more information, contact Ignacio Volunteers at 2-3514 or igvol@bc.edu.

The Al Minya, Egypt Program
Students spend the summer break living and working at a Jesuit school assisting in various activities, learning Arabic, and working with the disabled. They will also visit the ancient cities of Luxor and Aswam.

For more information, contact Ignacio Volunteers at 2-3514 or igvol@bc.edu.