My Summer Immersion Trip Experience


Joseph Schueneman, Cub News Writer

If you are a student at the High, I’m sure you have heard about or been asked to attend an immersion trip. This past June I had the pleasure of partaking in one of these trips, joining a U of D group on an eleven-day international experience in the Dominican Republic. It was a great cultural and service experience where I spent awesome time with my friends. 

I signed up for this immersion trip last November and, after an interview and parent information meetings, I was all set to go on this trip as soon as school ended. I was excited but had no idea what to expect. The project is run through Creighton University, and I knew that we would be spending time working in a rural community, but I was unsure on the rest of the details.

On Friday June 10th, the group consisting of seven U of D students and two adult chaperones traveled from Detroit to Santiago, Dominican Republic with a brief layover in Newark, New Jersey. The group arrived and was bused to Creighton’s ILAC (Institute for Latin American Concern) campus, in the middle of the city. We spent the weekend touring Santiago, learning about the culture of the Dominican Republic, and the country’s relationship with neighbor Haiti. On Monday, we left Santiago to head to Rincon Caliente, a small town where we would be helping the community build an aqueduct. 

This was my favorite part of the trip. When we were at campo we spent our days working hard helping the citizens of Rincon Caliente with the aqueduct project. Our main job was to transport PVC pipes through streams and up hills ultimately delivering them to the summit of the river where the aqueduct was being constructed. The days were filled with hard labor, but also scenic views. Although the work was taxing, it was satisfying to look around and see the natural beauty of the countryside. When we were done working for the day, we kept busy and enjoyed ourselves. The authentic Dominican food was wonderful and the place where we were staying had a pond where we went to cool off when we were done with the project. One highlight of the trip was playing pool with the Dominicans every night. They were extremely good at pool and it was really fun to try to talk to them in Spanish. Josh Perez ‘23 said his favorite part of being in the campo was “being able to create relationships with the Dominicans”.  Our last day in campo tied our entire experience together as we gave a presentation to the local school children about the work we did that week. We spent the last two days of our trip at a resort right on the Caribbean.

I knew I was going to enjoy this experience, but it blew my mind how much I got out of it. I came back from my trip with an appreciation for the culture and life in another country and strengthening my friendships with my classmates. If you are looking for a way to get involved in school this year, attend an immersion trip. U of D offers Detroit, Appalachian and Tennessee immersion trips if you want in the country. There is a trip going to Jamaica over spring break, and a group will be returning to the Dominican Republic in June. 

You should attend an immersion trip to expand yourself, your world and your education. There is more to the U of D experience than just classroom learning and as great as our education is, I believe that a U of D experience is not just found from 8 o’clock to 2:45. An immersion trip is one of the many great ways to get involved at U of D Jesuit and fully participate in your Jesuit education.