DePaul University Division of Mission and Ministry > Community Service > Alternative Break Service Immersions

Alternative Break Service Immersions

​​​​​​​Each year, over 130 DePaul students travel to different cities over Winter and Spring Break and join communities in service and social justice work. Service Immersion students dedicate their breaks to service, reflection, simplicity, community, spirituality and social justice. You have the opportunity to serve and build relationships with communities throughout the United States and Latin America who are working for a more just world.

The Division of Mission & Ministry, Witte Travel and our service immersion community partners are carefully monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic, and this program is subject to change. Some of the sources we are using include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. Department of State, news and media outlets, DePaul Study Abroad, and conversations with local partner institutions and contacts in our program locations. We take a variety of factors into consideration, with utmost concern for student safety and well-being. If the program is canceled prior to departure, students will be refunded 100% of the program fee.
As you consider participating in the Vincentian Heritage Tour, be sure to read the following Student Expectations During Covid-19. This document includes expectations for students before, during, and after their program. It will continue to be updated to respond to the changes in the Covid-19 pandemic. Review the expectations and share any questions or concerns with Joyana Dvorak. You will need to agree to these expectations when you submit your application.
Pre-departure:

  • Review and complete all health and safety materials prior to departure, including any orientations, online modules, or other materials required by the university.
  • Get vaccinated when you are able. DePaul’s on-campus student COVID-19 vaccination requirement includes the VHT. Upload your proof of vaccination as you would if planning to attend classes on campus. Be aware that some of the sites we visit will require you to show your vaccination card.
  • Masks are currently required during all program activities, so bring enough masks for yourself (refer to CDC and local guidelines regarding required/recommended mask types). Also, bring enough hand sanitizer to last for the duration of the program. Anything greater than 3.4 ounces will need to be checked.
  • Understand the current situation in your program destination, including any entry requirements and local rules and/or restrictions that must be followed upon arrival. You can find updated information about France here.
  • Follow the current U.S., country-specific, and DePaul guidelines regarding mandatory testing before your outbound and return flights. Most likely, you will need to provide a negative COVID test within 72 hours of departure and return.
  • If you become sick or have a last-minute medical situation that might prohibit you from traveling, contact Mission & Ministry immediately.

During the trip:

  • Be vigilant about wearing a mask, washing your hands, proper social distancing, and any additional established health/safety requirements through the entirety of the program—during both structured group activities and independent/free time.
  • Follow all health-related directives from Mission & Ministry, Witte Travel, local authorities, community partners, and DePaul University. Note: If local guidelines differ from DePaul guidelines, Mission & Ministry will communicate expectations for group procedures and behavior.
  • If you show symptoms of COVID-19 or have been informed that you were in close contact with another person who was medically diagnosed or tested positive for COVID-19, you must quarantine until you receive a negative test. If you test positive for COVID-19, you must report your case to DePaul University immediately and follow all emergency health and safety procedures as outlined by your Mission & Ministry, local authorities, community partners and DePaul University.
    • Costs related to a mandatory quarantine during Service Immersions will be covered by Mission & Ministry.
    • If a mandatory quarantine extends past the end of the program, Mission & Ministry will work with you to provide as much financial support as possible, given the situation.
    • Any medical costs, including hospitalization, should be covered by your CISI international travel health and accident insurance.
  • Under the CISI policy, any treatment for COVID-19 is covered as other illnesses, including testing, doctor visits, and hospitalizations. CISI will not cover testing that has not been recommended by a health professional (e.g. for peace of mind or to reduce the mandatory quarantine period). Visit CISI's COVID-19 FAQs to understand your coverage for COVID-19 related medical expenses. CISI also provides remote telehealth services and an emergency mental health crisis intervention service.
  • Work together with everyone in the group to hold each other accountable for following all health and safety precautions. Inform Mission & Ministry immediately if you have any concerns about anyone in the group who is not taking necessary health/safety precautions or is not reporting issues that may have arisen.
  • Be flexible and adaptable throughout the program, as planned activities may need to change with little notice.

Post-program

  • Follow all federal and local guidelines around entry to the U.S. and other requirements upon arrival. Follow all DePaul guidelines if planning to return to campus.
  • If you become ill with symptoms related to COVID-19 in the two weeks following your program, report your case to DePaul University immediately.
  • If you need to remain in your program destination due to a quarantine or travel restriction, Mission & Ministry and Witte Travel will work together with you to make sure you have an emergency plan in place to meet quarantine requirements. This includes, but is not limited to, housing, access to food and supplies, medical support, and a return flight or plan to secure a return flight when possible. Mission & Ministry will leverage any local resources/partners to assist with this or investigate other ways to provide support
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What would I be doing if I were on a Service Immersion?

VIA Service Immersions have three main components: direct service and social justice, community building, and reflection. Students spend the majority of the day engaged in service. This could include working at a soup kitchen, hearing the stories of civil rights activists, or learning about the root cause of poverty and oppression. In the evenings, students come together to reflect and make meaning of their experience. Through this reflection, students gain tools to bring change back home and work towards sustainable, lasting change after returning to DePaul. Throughout the week, student live in intentional community with one another, committed to the Vincentian understanding that relationship is central to the pursuit of justice.

What is VIA?

Vincentians in Action (VIA) is the framework with which we approach community service and justice work. You can read more about the VIA philosophy in the following documents:

In partnership with the Office of Global Engagement, international immersions qualify as an Immersive Global Experience for the Global Fluency Certificate (GFC).

GFC is a new program at DePaul that recognizes students who seek out a global education through their activities at DePaul. There are 3 main requirements:

  1. One year of foreign language
  2. Four Global-Learning tagged classes
  3. An Immersive Global Experience

Students who earn the GFC will receive a physical certificate at graduation, it will show on their transcripts, and demonstrates to potential employers your ability to work in a global environment. Hear what other students had to say about it! To register, click here. For any questions, email globalfluency@depaul.edu.

Consider registering for the Global Fluency Certificate today!


Upcoming Service Immersion Opportunities

Group picture in Tuba City.

Winter Break 2021

Applications for Winter Break Immersions are due on Friday, September 17. Domestic immersions are from November 30-December 7, 2021 and cost $275 + airfare. International immersions are from November 30-December 9, 2021 and cost $575 + airfare.

Apply Now
Students in front of St. Vincent De Paul Center

Spring Break 2022

Applications for Spring Break Service Immersions are due Friday, January 14. Spring immersions are from March 19-26, 2022 and cost $275.

Apply Now

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