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Frequently Asked Questions

Arrupe International Immersion Program

1. How many Arrupe trips are there?

2. What is the difference between "education"-immersion trips, "service"-immersion trips, and "community"-immersion trips?

3. How many people get to go?

4. How much does it cost?

5. How do I sign up?

6. What is the "application process"?

7. What if I am not selected?

8. Do I need to speak another language to participate?

9. How long are the trips?

10. What is the time commitment involved?

11. Are the trips safe?

12. Do I need to be Catholic to participate?


   1. How many Arrupe trips are there?
For the 2016-2017 academic school year, there will be 9 Arrupe “programs” during winter break (January 2017). 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.

For 2016-2017 programs with trips during winter break (in January 2017), the 9 “Small Communities”– each of which is comprised of 12 BC undergrad “Participants,” 2 BC undergrad “Student Leaders,” and 2 “Mentors” - BC administrators, grad students, and/or other non-undergrad adults – were formed in April 2016.  Trips for the 2017-2018 academic year will be selected March-April 2017.

Winter break trip destinations: Belize; Chiapas, Mexico; Ecuador; Guatemala; Dominican Republic; Morelos, Mexico; Nicaragua, and Puebla, Mexico.  May trip destination:  Jamaica "Magis."

   2. What is the difference between "education"-immersion trips, "service"-immersion trips, and "community"-immersion trips?

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:
1) “education”-immersion trips, which include meetings with local leaders – educators, politicians, government officials, non-government leaders, Church representatives, etc. – and a visit to a particular community that hosts us through “family-stays,” etc.;
2) “service”-immersion trips, which include work projects done along-side people from the local community (such as building a house or participating in an agricultural project), visits to local organizations engaged in various solidarity projects, sharing in ministry to people who are elderly, in prison, etc.;
3) “community”-immersion trips, which include staying in a particular location and meeting and getting to know many people involved in the specific community.


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.


   3. How many people get to go?

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.


   4. How much does it cost?
The cost of each program is covered primarily through the collective fundraising effort of all Arrupe undergrad students’ - i.e. all Participants and Student Leaders. Participants are asked to submit a $500 initial fee as their own first contribution, and Student Leaders are asked to submit a $250 initial fee as their own first contribution.  Each Arrupe undergrad is then asked 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.

   5. How do I sign up?

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.

Several information sessions for winter Arrupe programs are offered about nine months prior to the January trips, in March, typically right after spring break. Information sessions for the summer Jamaica "Magis" program are offered about nine or ten months prior to the May trip, in December or January.


   6. What is the “application process”?

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.


   7. What if I am not selected?

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.)


   8. Do I need to speak another language to participate?

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.


   9. How long are the trips?

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?
Participating in an Arrupe program is a year-long commitment.  The commitment for winter programs runs from April to April.  As a Participant, you can expect to dedicate an average of 5 hours per week, the pre-trip and post-trip retreat weekends, and the point drive week requiring additional hours.


   11. Are the trips safe?

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 Mexico, which include destinations for 3 of Arrupe trips. (Please see notes on safety.)

   12. Do I need to be Catholic to participate?
The Arrupe program is open to people of all faiths, traditions, beliefs, and backgrounds. One does not have to be Catholic or Christian to participate. In fact, diversity in faith perspectives and upbringings, and then authentic and respectful “faith-sharing” can significantly enhance each participant’s learning and formation. That said, applicants need to know that these experiences are faith-based and that the framework used is influenced by BC’s Jesuit Catholic tradition, heritage, and identity, and that Catholic liturgies are a part of the experience, both at BC and during the trip. Regardless of one’s faith, tradition, beliefs, or background, participants are expected to explore and share their own faith and life journey, in all of its joys and struggles and questions, and within a small community context. Prayer, journaling, reflection and conversation are integral to the experience within this community context, and everyone is expected to participate and contribute, and to do so with honesty, vulnerability, appropriateness, and respect. Ideally, a primary learning/formation outcome is that each participant will have learned how to become “the best version” of him/herself by delving deeper into his/her own faith and tradition.