Find Your Trip
AGE GROUP:
18-23
COST:
$15,200/person (USD)

Program Overview

Travel on a Gap Year mission trip from the small towns of Belize to the squatter camps, coastal towns and deserts of Africa. Fully immerse in farming and family life in Belize, engaging with Spanish language classes and the local church and schools. This laid-back way of life and ministry will help you slow down and learn to simply let God use you to make an impact through everyday routines and relationships.

After 3-months in the Caribbean in the Fall, you'll return home for the holidays before launching into your 6-month journey throughout Africa in January. This 2nd leg begins with worldview training in South Africa, living with host families near the capital of Pretoria before stepping into totally new cultures in Namibia and Lesotho. Each community on this Gap Year mission trip is radically unique, forcing you to re-learn, step out, and embrace each new challenge along the way.

For 2022-2023, this Gap Year combines 2 distinct IMMERSION terms into one, year-long experience: 3-Month Belize and 6-Month Africa.

Join an Upcoming Trip!

Join an Upcoming Trip!

Aug. 22, 2022 - Jun. 29, 2023 (CLOSED)

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Partner Communities

IMMERSION FAQ

Financial

What is included in the cost of the trip? Are there extra costs?
On our side, we try to keep IMMERSION all-inclusive so you don't have to worry about any hidden fees or big, unexpected costs! All your essentials (airfare, food, housing, staffing, training) are covered once you arrive at training—but plan a little extra for immunizations, travel to/from Indiana, 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 you 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 spend a penny of their emergency fund while on the trip.

Is the initial deposit refundable?
Once you commit to a trip, we're counting on you. We don't offer refunds, but we'll do our best to be flexible and work with you to transfer the funds to a different trip whenever possible. You can read more in our Payment & Refund Policy document.

I'm worried about fundraising. What have other team members done in the past?
Once you're all-in, we're committed to helping you go. Over and over again, we've seen people roll up their sleeves and get creative. We've also seen God show up miraculously when team members had no idea how they'd raise enough. We provide a few helpful things to support you in the process:

  1. Fundraising Coach to cheer you on, give a pep talk if you feel discouraged, and help you stay on schedule.

  2. Our IMMERSION Fundraising Guide with creative ideas and practical resources to get you started.
  3. An online Fundraising Profile that allows you to easily collect donations, share your story and post updates about your progress. Credit card fees on these donation pages are less than a GoFundMe page, and all donations are tax-deductible for your donors.

Can I get college credit for participating in the program?
We're happy to write 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's up to you to do the research and make sure the IMMERSION program fits your school's expectations. But it's definitely possible! We've seen team members get approved for: foreign language, internships, study abroad, independent studies, or elective credits.

Communication

How often will I be able to communicate with home?
We encourage you to pack your cell phone or other small, wifi-enabled device. Often, turning off cellular data and connecting to a local hot spot is the best way to stay in touch with friends and family. In some IMMERSION locations, you'll be totally off the grid for weeks at a time. In other locations, you can get online daily. During your interview, please ask our staff about expectations for each country so you can be prepared!

What if I have a personal emergency and need to talk with someone at home?
In all things, we're there to support you. If you have a personal emergency, our staff will allow you 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.

The Team

What can I expect from the application process?
We hope joining an IMMERSION team feels like an exciting, relational process. In our eyes, it's a two-way street—us getting to know you but also you learning more about Experience Mission. You don't have to be 100% committed to fill out an interest form, submit your application or even schedule a video interview. During your face-to-face video call with our staff, we hope you'll feel free to be yourself, ask lots of questions, and figure out if this is the right fit for you. Once you're accepted onto a team, it's up to you to say YES and begin fundraising using the free fundraising profile, making this adventurous idea become a reality.

How do I know if I fit the requirements for this team?
We're not looking for perfect people, but simply individuals who want to challenge themselves as they serve others. IMMERSION is a program for young adults (ages 18-30) pursuing Jesus with a desire to grow in their faith. 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. Please note: Holy Land IMMERSION team members must be 21-30 years old and have previous international travel experience.

How many people will be on my team?
We're expecting you to make some lifelong friends on IMMERSION! Each team is made up of 5-15 people who will know the good, bad and ugly about you. You'll sweat and serve and share so much life together across countless miles. We can't wait for you to meet each other.

Trip Philosophy

Will this program help me grow spiritually?
We hope you'll look back on your IMMERSION term as a time of meaningful exploration and growth! In fact, we hope you're never the same. We hope your faith becomes more personal, deep and bold as you seek to live your mission on the trip but also once you get home. From personal experience, we know there is something incredibly powerful about leaving behind the familiar and serving others with our everyday lives.

What's the impact of IMMERSION? How do I know I'm part of something meaningful?
Throughout the term, you'll have the opportunity to connect with a variety of local partners who already have a vision to reach their community. EM typically works alongside churches, missionaries, schools or non-profits in the community with the goal of cheering them on in their long-term work. We desire to encourage our local partners in the work they are already doing instead of taking over or coming in with our own agenda.

What will my daily schedule look like?
Each day brings something new and gives you the chance to share Christ's love through everyday life moments! Most ministries are relationally focused, but there may also be opportunities for hands-on work projects such as painting schools, digging outhouses, or helping with agricultural projects. Our hope is that you'll find opportunities to serve whether you're leading VBS with your teammates, tutoring at a local school, attending church, participating in a Bible study, working in your host family's field, doing laundry in the river, going to the market, playing soccer, carrying water from the spring, or preparing meals with your host mom.

How will EM choose my 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 homestays and families are within a short distance of one another, giving you the chance to see teammates around the community and serve together in a variety of ways.

Will I be able to 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 that we do, but we think it's especially important to partner with local people who can continue the process of growth and discipleship. Often, we've found the best moments to share your faith don't happen in a scheduled program, but in the midst of a real person-to-person conversation. These are the kinds of meaningful moments we try to facilitate on the trip. If you're interested, read more about How We Share the Gospel.

Is EM part of a specific religion or church denomination?
Experience Mission is a Christian organization, although we aren't connected to any one church or denomination. Our staff members all have a personal faith in Jesus and come from a variety of church traditions and denominations. Our Statement of Faith in the About Us section of our website seeks to unite us, not divide us, in ministry.

Travel & Safety

Do I need a passport or visa?
International travel 101: You definitely 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. Regarding visa costs, you can count on us to cover any visa fees as part of the trip! But if you don't have a passport yet, you'll want to start applying for one now. The good news is, it won't expire for 10 years so you can plan lots of trips after IMMERSION!

When will I get a trip itinerary?
We'll send you an itinerary, including all flight information, approximately one month before the start of your trip. But you'll also receive a lot of details during pre-trip conference calls or by interacting with teammates and our staff on your team's Facebook group! These will start 3-4 months before the beginning to your trip.

What if there is an emergency that affects the entire team? What will we do?
Your team leader, local community partners, and international staff are equipped to support you if there is an issue (i.e. natural disaster, political unrest, increased crime, etc.) while living abroad. If your team were to need to leave the country, each of you would be responsible to use your “Personal Emergency Fund”—a debit or credit card with $1,000-$1,500 available and $300 of reserve cash in case you were to have a medical issue or reason to travel home unexpectedly—to rearrange travel plans, but our staff would be available to guide you. EM encourages team members to purchase Travelers Insurance and offers provider recommendations once you join the team. We also take extra precautions by enrolling our teams in STEP (Safe Traveler Enrollment Program) through the U.S. Department of State. This means we will receive any urgent travel updates for U.S. citizens in the region where you are living and serving.

Should I purchase Travelers Insurance?
Experience Mission requires all team members to travel with “Personal Emergency Fund”—a debit or credit card with $1,000-$1,500 available and $300 of reserve cash in case you 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 spend a penny of their emergency fund while on the trip. Although Travelers Insurance isn't required, we highly recommend it because it may help you recoup some costs if you did have an issue. We make a recommendation for one provider in your Mission Center who offers rates as low as 40 cents per day, so the cost is minimal.

If my parents need to get ahold of me, how can they reach me?
Our office has a 24-hour line that is available to parents if they have an emergency at home and can't communicate with you directly. 30 days before your trip, we'll send your parents 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.

Recent Blogs & Stories

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.
Read More
Every Nation, Tribe and Tongue
Cydni's IMMERSION team has a beautiful cross-cultural experience that leaves her more in awe of God than before.
Read More
View All From 6M Africa

How to Join an IMMERSION Team

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IMMERSION Fit Quiz

How to Join an IMMERSION Team

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2

We'll personally guide you through the process of joining a team

3

Embark of a life-changing journey

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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