The Jamaica Experience

Friday, August 3 to Sunday, August 12, 2018

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

Temporarily Suspended. Apply to NOLA Urban Immersion 2019 here. Due Nov.11, 2018. 


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 culture 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.

8-10 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, feeding/bathing/dressing, painting/ cleaning/ fixing up. Volunteer work sites can vary, but can include:

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

COST: Fundraising with a goal $1,650. This covers air transportation (New Orleans /Kingston) local transportation, housing and meals for the entire week. Participants will be asked to fundraise as a group and individually and assistance in such will be given. A $125 non-refundable deposit is required upon acceptance. 

RECRUITMENT: Recruitment has ended for the 2017 Jamaica Experience program. Recruitment for the 2018 Jamaica Experience will begin in September 2017. 


  • Application Due Date: Sunday, October 15, 2017
  • Interview Dates: October & November 2017
  • Post-Selection Meeting: November 2017
  • Pre-Trip Mandatory Overnight Retreat: Fri, Jan 12 to Sun, Jan 14
  • Pre-Trip Weekly Meetings: Evenings in Jan 2018 to May 2018
  • Pre-Trip Group Service Day: Saturday in Spring 2018 TBD
  • Post-Trip Reflection: Fall 2018
  • Post-Trip Written Reflection & Evaluation: September 2018
  • Hepatitis A & Hepatitis B Vaccinations
  • U.S. Passport or Jamaican Visa for non-U.S. citizens
  • $125 non-refundable deposit due upon acceptance 
  • Must be a First Year, Sophomore, Junior, or December 2018 Graduating Senior (May 2018 Graduating Seniors are not eligible for this program)

    For further information, write


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