Frequently Asked Questions
Arrupe International Immersion Program
For the 2014-15 academic school year, there will be 9 Arrupe “programs”: 9 with trips during winter break (in January 2015), and 1 with a trip during the summer (in May 2015). An Arrupe “program” includes the trip as well as all of the preparation that happens before the trip, and all of the follow up that happens after the trip.
Arrupe trips offer participants the opportunity, for between one to two weeks, to become immersed in the lives of people who live in urban and/or rural communities in Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. Many of the people we visit during the trips live their lives in economic, political, social, and/or religious marginalization. Our approach is to strive to accompany, or “walk with,” the people we meet through “faith-that-does-justice”/intentional community-based:
We accompany, or “walk with,” the people we meet in order to learn about the reality of their lives, to bear witness to their joys and struggles, and to share in a common exploration about what it means to be fellow human beings, as part of a global community, together in solidarity.
While each trip is unique in its own way, there are 14 to 16 people per Small Community, or per Arrupe program, including 10 to 12 Participants, 2 Student Leaders, and typically 2 Mentors.
The cost of each program is paid for entirely through the collective fundraising effort of all Arrupe undergrad students’ - i.e. of all Participants and Student Leaders. We ask each Participant to submit a $150 initial fee as their own first contribution, and then ask each Arrupe undergrad to prepare at least 25 letters that will be mailed to family members and friends and to participate in a variety of summer initiatives. Additionally, in the fall, Arrupe undergrads participate in a “Point Drive” (involving asking peers to donate from their B.C. dining services meal plan) and several other Small Community-driven initiatives. It is the responsibility of all Arrupe undergrad Students to raise enough funds to completely cover the cost of each of the 9 Arrupe programs – including everyone’s airfare, in-country partner organization programming fees, food, lodging, travel medical insurance, as well as pre- and post-trip retreats and other administrative expenses. The fundraising process is a collective effort. While some undergrads may be able to generate more funds than others, each person is expected to contribute equally to the collective fundraising process in terms of time commitment, creativity, resourcefulness, and hard work.
If you are concerned about the cost of participating in an Arrupe program, please contact the Arrupe director to discuss your situation. No one will be turned away from participation in an Arrupe program solely because the overall cost seems prohibitive.
BC undergrads who are interested in participating in an Arrupe program need to attend one of a number of information sessions for each cycle of trips (i.e. the winter and summer cycles), and then apply for a program via an on-line application process connected to the Campus Ministry web-site. Note: If one is studying abroad during the spring semester selection process for a program with a winter break trip, one can view a session on-line.
Applications for Arrupe programs are made available via the Campus Ministry web site during the time when information sessions are happening. After attending or, if studying abroad, viewing, an information session, applicants are asked to complete an application by a certain due date. They are asked to provide basic personal information and respond to a few essay questions. Depending on the number of applications received, applicants may or may not be invited to interview for a particular program. We encourage anyone interested in applying to discern whether you really want to participate in an Arrupe program, given its vision and the time commitment required. Note: It is possible that applicants may not be considered for the particular programs that they identify on their application as a top preference.
Historically we have not always been able to accommodate all applicants. If you are not selected for an Arrupe program, please consider applying again, if possible. Whether or not you are selected for a program does not reflect on your value or worth as a person! (Please see Selection Criteria.)
While an understanding of Spanish is certainly useful on any of the trips during which Spanish is spoken, it is not necessary. For trips to Spanish-speaking countries, an “interpreter” is provided by our “In-Country Partner Organization,” and this person accompanies the delegation throughout the duration of the trip, facilitating communication between the English- and Spanish-speaking parties.
Winter break trips tend to be approximately 8,9, or 10 days long; summer trips tend to be 8 days to 2 weeks long.
10. What is the time commitment involved?
We do everything in our power to ensure that the trips are as safe and healthy as possible for everyone involved. We endeavor to work with organizations in each country – our “In-Country Partner Organizations” – which are well established, well respected, and with well-connected networks in-country. That said, we are traveling outside of the United States and there is always a safety and health risk involved with such travel. All potential applicants – and their families – need to be aware of this risk. Before applying for the overall program, we ask that applicants/participants to seriously consider receiving the immunizations recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and by their family health care provider, and to seriously consider the U.S. Department of State’s web site regarding its assessment of a particular country/region’s health and safety situation.
Please note: that as of March 2014, the U.S. Department of State has upheld a Travel Warning for travel by U.S. citizens to both El Salvador and Mexico, which include destinations for 4 of Arrupe trips. (Please see notes on safety.)
12. Do I need to be Catholic to participate?