The Jamaica Experience

Monday, August 8 to Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Ten to twelve Loyola students are selected each year to participate in The Jamaica Experience in Kingston, Jamaica. 

Recruitment has ended for the 2016 Jamaica Experience program. Recruitment for the 2017 Jamaica Experience will begin in September 2016. 


TO SERVE: Participants will work with those of the greatest need -- the impoverished & challenged, the disadvantaged young and the elderly.

TO LEARN: Participants will have an opportunity to explore the political, sociological, and economic issues that have created the environment and situation in which they will find themselves.

HISTORY OF LOCATION: Contrary to its advertising to lure tourists, Jamaica is an island nation of scarce resources and intense poverty. The city of Kingston is a crowded urban area where hundreds of thousands are living in the deepest poverty. It is a city where there are very limited social services and where many people live seeking the basic necessities of life.

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION: The Jamaica Experience is designed to expose Loyola University undergraduate students to the history, politics, socioeconomics, and social structures of Jamaica while living & serving in the city of Kingston.

Participants will spend approximately 10 days immersed in the cultue and history of Kingston through nature & history tours and direct service in the city of Kingston.

Participants in this international immersion program will learn, serve, reflect, travel, and live as one community. The program is rooted in an Ignatian spiritual foundation of finding God in all things and will include ongoing reflection within the community and during the program.

10-12 students will be chosen to participate. Upon acceptance, all students will be required to participate in an overnight retreat held at a local retreat house, weekly meetings during the semester before travel, and a community living experience in Kingston, Jamaica. All participants will be asked to abstain from technology during the duration of the community living experience. Fundraising for the program will be done by the group and as individuals.  

SERVICE SITES: The type of work on The Jamaica Experience will vary at each site, and include helping serve meals, washing/shaving, entertaining or writing letters, tutoring or sports & games, painting/ cleaning/ fixing up. The volunteer work sites can vary, but most likely will be:

  1. Riverton City Early Education Centre, a school located at a shanty town settlement built on the old Kingston garbage dump.
  2. Calaloo Mews Basic School, a primary school located across from Riverton City.
  3. The Home for the Destitute and Dying, a home for the elderly run by Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity.
  4. Missionaries of the Poor Bethlehem Home, an orphanage for physically and mentally challenged children and young adults.
  5. Bustamante Children's Hospital, the only children's hospital on the island of Jamaica.

COST: Fundraising with a goal $1,600. This covers air transportation (New Orleans /Kingston) local transportation, housing and meals for the entire week. Participants will be asked to fund-raise as a group and individually and assistance in such will be given. A $100 non-refundable deposit is required upon acceptance. 

RECRUITMENT: Recruitment has ended for the 2016 Jamaica Experience program. Recruitment for the 2017 Jamaica Experience will begin in September 2016. 


  • Application Due Date: Friday, October 16, 2015
  • Interview Dates: October 2015
  • Post-Selection Meeting: November 2015
  • Pre-Trip Mandatory Overnight Retreat: Fri, Jan 29 to Sun, Jan 31
  • Pre-Trip Weekly Meetings: Evenings in Jan 2016 to May 2016
  • Pre-Trip Group Service Day: Saturday in Fall 2016 TBD
  • Post-Trip Reflection: Fall 2016
  • Post-Trip Written Reflection & Evaluation: June 2016
  • Hepatitis A & Hepatitis B Vaccinations
  • U.S. Passport Required or Jamaican Visa for non-U.S. citizens
  • $100 non-refundable deposit due upon acceptance 
  • Must be a First Year, Sophomore, Junior, or December 2016 Graduating Senior (May 2016 Graduating Seniors are not eligible for this program)

    For further information, write


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