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3 month mission trips to africa
3 month mission trips to africa
3 month mission trips to africa
3 month mission trips to africa
3 month mission trips to africa
3 month mission trips to africa
3 month mission trips to africa
3 month mission trips to africa
3 month mission trips to africa
3 month mission trips to africa
3 month mission trips to africa
3 month mission trips to africa
3 month mission trips to africa
3 month mission trips to africa
3 month mission trips to africa
AGE GROUP:
18-30
COST:
$7,700-$8,200/person (USD)

Program Overview   Video

VIEW PHOTOS

Experience three unique parts of South Africa during your 3-month mission trip: the impoverished townships surrounding Pretoria and Johannesburg, the outskirts of the city where life feels Westernized and familiar, and small farming communities where resources are precious. Your picture of Africa will be challenged as you participate in Worldview Training alongside EM's Africa Director and learn more about how deep-rooted, animistic beliefs still influence so much of daily life.

You'll serve alongside local partners who have a vision to reach people in their community. Whether you're volunteering in classrooms, visiting with residents in old age homes, sorting donations, delivering meals to neighbors, or leading VBS-style programs after school, you'll have the chance to give but also receive. Put the needs of others above your daily plans and expectations, seeing both blessing and brokenness as you serve. This is the perfect mission trip for college students looking to take a semester off and experience life outside of the classroom.

Ideal Candidate:

  • Willing to engage in various projects and serve the local community
  • Able to adapt to a flexible schedule
  • Eager to participate in conversations with locals and build relationships
  • Able to do engage in physical labor (construction, farm work, painting)
  • Willing to adjust and abide by the norms of a different culture
  • Able to work through conflict and problem-solve well
  • Willing to follow and abide by safety guidelines and expectations

What to Expect:

*Please note: IMMERSION team members are stepping into a different culture, where schedules and plans are likely to change. We expect all participants to come with flexibility and a willingness to embrace last-minute changes to schedules, ministry opportunities, and projects. That said, here are some examples of things past team members have done in this community:

  • Helped on farms
  • Helped students with homework
  • Cooked and served meals at schools
  • Taken part in construction, painting, and landscaping projects
  • Packed food parcels
  • Sorted storage units
  • Attended church in multiple languages (depending on host family)
  • Hosted a kids club (similar to VBS)
  • Played sports with locals
  • Played games with students
  • Shared messages at local churches
  • Participated in activities with host families
  • Explored and experienced live in the local community

View Communities

Partner Communities

Partner Communities

South Africa
For almost 50 years, South Africa was dominated by an official system of racial segregation by the white minority rule known as Apartheid. Although many leaders and missionaries today work toward reconciliation between racial, social and cultural groups, it is difficult work. In a place with 11 official languages and different visions of the future, it takes even more intentionality to love your neighbor.

IMMERSION FAQ

Joining the Program

What are the benefits of joining an IMMERSION program?

These experiences can be life-changing! IMMERSION participants gain valuable life experience, serving in communities around the world, traveling to new places, and immersing in local culture. Through these activities, team members start to see the world, their life, and faith in Jesus in a whole new way. Participants also grow personally—in maturity, relational and leadership skills, and the knowledge of who God created them to be in the world. It is an incredible chance to find clarity and purpose as they live and serve alongside a team of young adults from across the U.S. and build real, authentic relationships with people around the world.

How do I join an IMMERSION program?

Step 1: FILL OUT AN INTEREST FORM or APPLY NOW

Step 2: The IMMERSION staff will connect with you to set up an initial informational call to answer any questions you may have about the program. Once your application is complete, we set a video interview to get to know you and determine if the program is a good fit.

Step 3: You are invited to join the program! You accept your spot on the team by paying an initial deposit of $250 (or $500 for 9 and 10-month Gap Year programs). After joining the program, your personal IMMERSION contact will connect with you about fundraising, pre-trip details, and more.

What are the requirements for joining this program?

IMMERSION participants must be between the ages of 18-30 at the start of the program. Outside of the age requirement, IMMERSION is a program for young adults with a desire to grow in their faith in God and their relationship with Jesus. We look for people who can embrace a rugged lifestyle, respect cultural differences, build healthy relationships with teammates and locals, thrive away from home, and are in good physical, mental, and emotional health. We ask all team members to commit to approaching their program with the right posture and attitude, as outlined in our IMMERSION Standards of Conduct.

Finances & Fundraising

What does it cost to go on this IMMERSION program?

The upcoming 3-Month South Africa programs cost $7,700 (2024) and $8,200 (2025). Most participants pay for their experiences with a combination of fundraising, personal funds, and financial help from parents or family.

What is included in the cost of the trip? Are there extra costs?

IMMERSION is meant to be as all-inclusive as possible, so you don’t have to worry about any hidden fees or big, unexpected costs! Most essentials (airfare, food, housing, staffing, training) are covered—but team members do need to plan for a little extra for immunizations, travel to training and home from debrief, personal meals while traveling, or a new passport if you need one! We also recommend a small stash of spending money in case you need shampoo, snacks, or souvenirs along the way. But this amount is minimal and totally up to you. Experience Mission also requires all team members to travel with a Personal Emergency Fund—a debit or credit card with $1,000-$1,500 available and $300 of reserve cash in case they were to have a medical issue or reason to travel home unexpectedly. This amount is purely a precaution. Most team members do not spend any of their emergency funds while on the program.

What is Experience Mission's refund policy?

Once team members commit to a trip, we're counting on them. Due to the long-term logistics that are set in motion when team members join a team, we are not able to offer refunds for deposits or trip payments, but we do our best to be flexible and work with team members to transfer their funds to a different trip whenever possible. Check out the IMMERSION Refund Policy that applies to this trip.

What happens if an IMMERSION program is canceled?

If a trip is canceled by Experience Mission because of the minimum team size not being met, safety concerns in the community, natural disaster, or another issue, we will provide the team member with other options during the same timeframe and transfer any available funds to the new trip. If a team member cannot find a location that interests them during the same timeframe, they will be offered a credit to be used toward a future IMMERSION trip within 24 months of the original start date.

Does EM provide any help with fundraising?

Yes! If the idea of fundraising a large amount overwhelms you, we are here to help! Each team member is connected with an IMMERSION staff member who will help you develop a fundraising plan based on the extensive history of successful fundraising ideas from past participants. We've seen over and over again how God can provide or far exceed the amount people need to go.

EM provides helpful tools to support you in the process, including:

IMMERSION Fundraising Coaches to talk through your fundraising abilities and ideas, and provide a roadmap to follow.

EM's IMMERSION Fundraising Guide wIth creative ideas and resources to get you started!

IMMERSION Fundraising Profiles which you can customize to share your story and easily collect donations.

Can a team member get college credit for participating in the program?

We are happy to provide a letter to your academic advisor or sign off on paperwork for your professor. Every college and university has different requirements for obtaining course credit, so it is up to you to do the research and make sure the IMMERSION program fits your school's expectations. But it is possible! We've seen team members get approved for foreign language, internships, study abroad, independent studies, or elective credits.

About IMMERSION

What do team members do during an IMMERSION program?

Each IMMERSION program is different in the exact daily rhythms, but every day brings something new and gives participants the chance to be a picture of the love of Christ through everyday life moments. Most ministries we partner with during IMMERSION are relationally focused, but there may also be opportunities for hands-on work projects such as painting schools or helping with agricultural projects. Our hope is that each participant finds opportunities to serve whether they are, whether leading VBS with their teammates, tutoring at a local school, attending church, participating in a Bible study, working on a host family's farm, doing laundry in a river, going to the market, playing soccer with locals, carrying water from a spring, or preparing meals with their host parents.

What does an IMMERSION team look like?

Experience Mission's IMMERSION programs are 1, 3 or 6 months long or a combination of more than 1 program. Each 1-6 month "Term" is made up of 5-15 young adults (18-30 years old) from across the U.S. and beyond. IMMERSION teams become like a second family for participants, creating life-long friendships as you serve and grow (and learn to deal with conflict, forgiveness, and grace) together.

How does EM equip IMMERSION participants to succeed during the program?

Each IMMERSION term begins with 4 days of training, team building, and personal reflection in the US. EM's IMMERSION staff shares stories from the field, challenges team members to examine their faith in new ways, and helps teams start to learn how to build healthy cross-cultural relationships.

After traveling to their first community, teams engage in a short on-field orientation with EM's local staff or partners to learn more about local culture, safety, and the schedule for the weeks ahead. Local leaders are available throughout the trip to help navigate the complexities of a new community and understand the context of their experiences.

EM also equips each team member with a devotional journal that is part-personal reflection, part-group learning activities, to help teams learn and grow together throughout the duration of the program. All 3 and 6-Month IMMERSION programs end with a 2-day debrief back in the U.S. which provides a valuable reflection and re-entry time as participants begin to ask “What's next?” after IMMERSION. 1-month trips will have an in-country debrief to give you the maximum amount of time in your international location. There will also be a 2-hour "virtual debrief" the day after you come home to process with your team and talk about what comes next and how to jump back into normal life.

How does this program help participants grow spiritually?

We hope participants look back on their IMMERSION experience as a time of meaningful exploration and growth. In fact, we hope each person who goes is never the same after. We hope each team member's faith becomes more personal, deep, and bold as they seek to live their mission on the trip and return home. From personal experience, we know there is something incredibly powerful about leaving behind the familiar and serving others with your everyday lives.

What is the impact of IMMERSION? How do participants know they are part of something meaningful?

EM typically works alongside churches, missionaries, schools, or non-profits in each local community with the goal of cheering them on in their long-term work. Throughout the program, team members will have the opportunity to connect with a variety of local partners who already have a vision to reach out and support their community. Our hope is that IMMERSION program participants provide much-needed encouragement and support to our local partners in the work they are already doing. In this way, we honor and dignify our host communities and avoid bringing our own agenda or unintentionally hurting local communities. Learn more about EM's Approach to Healthy Service.

Do team members share the Gospel?

EM strives to share the message of Jesus in a way that is highly relational and respects each person's story and journey. Delivering this message of hope drives everything we do, but we think it is especially important to partner with local people who can continue the process of growth and encouragement to those considering Jesus anew or for the first time. Often, we have found the best moments to share faith don't happen in a scheduled program or impersonal public acts, but in the midst of a real, person-to-person conversation. These are the kinds of meaningful moments of mutual respect and trust we try to facilitate on the trip. If you would like to know more, check out How We Engage the Gospel.

Communication

How often will IMMERSION team members be able to communicate with home?

We encourage team members to pack their phone or other small, Wifi-enabled device. As a general rule, we typically tell team members to expect to have access to the internet every other week. However, it could be more or less often depending on the exact location. Team members should ask about this during the application and interview process in order to set good expectations for their specific trip.

What if team members have a personal emergency and need to talk with someone at home?

EM staff, team leaders, and local partners are there to support team members! If a participant has a personal emergency, they will be allowed to use the official EM phone with an international calling or data plan. In most locations, communication is fast and easy, but in some locations, it can be slow or very expensive to make a call back to the U.S. During your interview, ask our staff more about communication limitations or how we get in touch when there is an emergency.

What happens if there is an emergency at home and a team member's family can't communicate with a team member directly?

Many communities have WiFi or available cell service, depending on the device and plan a team member has purchased. If this is not an available communication channel, the Experience Mission office has a 24-hour line that is available to parents if they have an emergency at home and are unable to communicate with team members directly. In this case, our staff would help relay a message and support the team member in whatever way possible. 30 days before your trip, we will send assigned emergency contacts more information about how and when to use this line! We hope it gives them some peace of mind to know our staff is here to help if an emergency arises.

Will parents or family receive updates from EM throughout the trip?

In regards to travel, we encourage family members to go by the mantra that "no news is good news," and it is the responsibility of the team member to provide updates to family as they are able. Please know that in some locations their updates to you may not be immediate or frequent. The EM staff will be in communication with the team and inform you if there is an emergency, but otherwise, you will not receive official updates about delays, flight changes, arrival times, etc.

Can anyone visit team members while they serving on an IMMERSION program?

Over the years, we've seen how visits from family members in the middle of IMMERSION can create distractions (or extra homesickness) for both team members and teammates. Additionally, it can be a logistical challenge for families to arrange transportation or housing in remote communities, creating a burden for our partners or host families. For this reason, we ask parents and other family members to refrain from planning to visit team members during the trip unless Experience Mission staff has given special permission ahead of time.

Travel & Safety

Does EM provide a detailed packing list for each IMMERSION program?

Definitely! We help team members fit their entire lives inside a backpack. It can be one of the most freeing, humbling experiences to realize you can live with so little. Applicants can access a country-specific packing list after starting the application process.

Do I need a passport or visa?

Since you are traveling out of the country, you will need a passport! If a visa is needed for your trip, the EM staff will guide you through the process of applying for one after you join the team. If you don't have a passport yet, you will want to start applying for one now. The good news is, it will not expire for 10 years so you can plan lots of trips after IMMERSION!

When do team members get a detailed trip itinerary?

We provide team members with an itinerary, including all flight information, approximately one month before the start of each trip. Team members also receive a lot of details during pre-trip video calls or by interacting with teammates and our staff through online groups formed 3-4 months before the beginning of each trip.

How long has EM been working in IMMERSION communities? Does EM connect participants with trusted partners?

Depending on the specific location, EM has been working in a community anywhere from 1 to 15 years. We partner with local people who are often pastors, non-profit managers, missionaries, school teachers, or indigenous leaders. These local leaders work closely with our full-time staff and the IMMERSION team leader to identify host families, select ministry sites, place volunteers in classrooms, navigate cross-cultural barriers, and determine safety guidelines. We couldn't and wouldn't do ministry without our local partners!

How does EM choose host families?

Our local partners help us identify trusted host families in each community. Host families are eager to have team members in their homes, but they are usually just as nervous as you are! Remember that this is a cross-cultural experience for them, too. Typically, we divide team members into pairs for home stays and families are within a short distance of one another, giving participants the chance to see teammates around the community and serve together in a variety of ways.

What happens if there is an emergency—is there a hospital or clinic nearby?

If there is an emergency, EM staff members will support team members by helping them communicate with home and getting them to a safe location. Often, local clinics are a short distance from where team members are staying, however, large hospitals can often be several hours away by vehicle. Experience Mission requires all team members to travel with a Personal Emergency Fund—a debit or credit card with $1,000-$1,500 available and $300 of reserve cash in case they were to have a medical issue or reason to travel home unexpectedly. This amount may seem high, but it's purely a precaution. Most team members never touch their emergency fund while on the trip.

What precautions does EM take for international travelers?

EM registers all teams with STEP (Safe Traveler Enrollment Program) through the U.S. State Department. This allows our staff team to receive official travel alerts if there is an issue in the region including political protests, civil unrest, increased crime, weather alerts, natural disasters, terrorism, or specific threats for foreign travelers. You can read more about the precautions we take here: Traveling and Serving Internationally

Should I purchase Travelers Insurance?

Experience Mission requires all team members to travel with a Personal Emergency Fund—a debit or credit card with $1,000-$1,500 available and $300 of reserve cash in case they were to have a medical issue or reason to travel home unexpectedly. This amount may seem high, but it is purely a precaution. Most team members never spend a penny of their emergency fund while on the trip. Although travel insurance is not currently required, we highly recommend it because it may help you recoup some costs if you have an issue.

What are the vaccine requirements?

There are no required vaccines, however, there are several that are highly recommended for each country IMMERSION takes place in. Check the CDC quidelines for up-to-date recommendations.

About EM

What is the core mission of Experience Mission?

In an ever-changing world, EM exists to help people love God and love their neighbors. We believe God is at work in all people and cultures. We desire to be creative connectors across diverse and historical divides, participating in God's work of reconciliation, justice, affirmation, and hope.

  • EM connects people and communities on the margins to volunteers
    who desire to give their time, attention, and resources in order to be a picture of God's love and participate in God's work of reconciliation, justice, affirmation, and hope.
  • EM partners with local ministries and organizations
    who are already active within their community, allowing them to take the lead by supporting their vision for making a difference in the lives of people they live among on a daily basis.
  • EM encourages people of all walks of life to serve and love others with humility
    to give without expectations, to honor the dignity of all people, to seek to foster mutual respect and trust, and to deepen their understanding of both the beautiful diversity and the complex stories of communities and cultures they encounter.

→ EM'S MISSION & VALUES

What are EM trips all about?

We firmly believe the people we serve on mission trips are not our “mission project.&rdquo They are valuable creations of God with so much to offer. While it may be obvious that change needs to happen in certain communities, we believe change needs to happen in each of us as well. EM's approach to missions seeks to enter into these service and learning experiences in a healthy way. We believe there is a better way than forcing change or imposing our thinking, values, and beliefs on others.

→ EM'S APPROACH TO MISSIONS

What denomination is EM a part of?

Experience Mission is an inter-denominational Christian organization and is not directly affiliated with any specific denomination. Participants from all denominations and backgrounds are welcome on our service-learning mission trips. Our statement of faith, how we share the gospel, and how we engage people of different faiths can be found HERE.

Recent Blogs & Stories

Best Christian Gap Year Programs of 2024 & 2025
EM's Gap Year IMMERSION program will help you discover more about who God is, his heart for people across the globe, and your place and calling in this world.
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Practicing Deep Love in South Africa
The fear of hurt often stops us from pursuing relationships because nothing hurts quite the same as leaving those who you begin to love. An IMMERSION reflection.
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View All From 3M South Africa

How to join an IMMERSION team

1

Fill Out an Interest Form / Apply Now

No commitment necessary! We'll answer your questions and help you determine if IMMERSION is right for you.

2

Complete a Video Interview

Application complete, the next step is a Zoom video interview so we can learn more about you. If IMMERSION seems like a good fit, we will offer you a spot on the team!

3

Serve & learn on IMMERSION!

Your team of 6-12 young adults will live life alongside people in different circumstances as you learn more about who God is, his heart for people across the globe, and your place in this world.

Fill Out an Interest Form

Is IMMERSION right for you?

Take our 10-question quiz to find out if you’re ready for an experience like IMMERSION!

Take the Quiz

IMMERSION Fit Quiz
IMMERSION Fit Quiz

Take our 10-question quiz to find out if you’re ready for an experience like IMMERSION!

Take the Quiz

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