St. Mary's University- San Antonio, Texas

International Immersion Program Office of Civic Engagement

A signature program in Civic Engagement at St. Mary's University, our International Immersion Program is currently employed as a curricular experience, housed in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Course Description:

This experiential learning course is designed to offer select students the opportunity to spend 8 days living, learning and experiencing the Ecuadorian culture in light of the Catholic faith. They will engage in theological reflection, social analysis, and exploration of global justice issues, while further developing their understanding of their responsibility in our global community, and the call all baptized have to be agents of change for the common good. An experience housed in Civic Engagement, this project focuses on providing students the opportunity to connect faith, service and justice in a global setting. This experience will enable students to look more closely at the faith-justice relationship, and furthermore to enter into greater discernment about their vocation - coming to a deeper understanding of how their passions and heart's desires can meet the world's greatest needs through their individual skill set, talents and treasures, rooted in faith. This allows students to recognize their role in a global community, and come to more fully understand their responsibility in being agents of change in the world, rooted in faith.

Course Objectives

  • Develop a deeper understanding of cross-cultural relationships, particularly within the international context.
  • Understand through first-hand experiential learning the connection between faith and justice, based in the principles of Catholic Social Teaching, through international immersion/travel.
  • Gain a deeper understanding of global poverty and the role of individuals and communities in both -perpetuating and interrupting the cycle of poverty.
  • Engage in simultaneous social analysis and theological reflection.
  • Further discern one's vocation and call to serve the Common Good.
  • Grow in one's faith through relationships, service, immersion and reflection.

Course required reading/resources:

Nouwen, Henri. 1993. Gracias!, A Latin American Journal. New York: Orbis Books.

Livermore, David A. Serving with Eyes Wide Open: Doing Short-term Missions with Cultural Intelligence. Grand Rapids: Baker Books.

Various articles on mission, cross-cultural acclimation and Catholic Social Tradition.

At St. Mary's University, as a Catholic, liberal arts institution we aim to educate our students for the Common Good. We strive to offer them both curricular and co-curricular opportunities that teach them to question deeply, to develop more thoroughly their ethical leadership skills, to grow in their civic agency, and to discern how their skills, passion and heart's desires meet the needs of the world. The International Immersion Program offers students the opportunity to embrace a holistic approach to education grounded in the liberal arts and faith, and encourages students to understand their individual and communal call in our global society.

For more information, please contact the Director of Civic Engagement Clare Acosta Matos, or visit St. Mary's Website.