Border Immersion Program


The Mulvaney Center’s Border Immersion Program is an opportunity for students to dive deep into the vibrant culture and unique challenges of the Border Region with a core understanding of the interdependency that connects the U.S. and Mexico. Students will learn about grassroots issues and organizations advancing social justice on the border, foster community engagement, nourish their personal development and promote global dialogue. We promote the understanding of immersion as a practice, an evolving lived experience that results in unique learning and growth. Common learning for participants includes:

  • Greater capacity to engage in authentic relationships cross-culturally
  • Greater capacity to reflect and break down stereotypes and assumptions
  • Greater awareness of one’s impact on other communities
  • Greater respect and compassion for the humankind as a whole


Border Immersion Program 2018-2019

Graph showing how many students participated in border immersion.
Graph showing the hours of immersion were done by students.
Graph showing where the immersion trips took place.
Graph showing how many community partners, staff and faculty participated in immersion trips.

Immersion Experiences

Fence dividing Mexico and the United States. You can see the different murals along the fence that goes all the way to the ocean. Tijuana and San Diego Day Immersions

Mulvaney Center’s Border Immersion Program has significantly expanded and deepened its presence in the San Diego/Tijuana community. One-day immersion experiences in both San Diego and Tijuana continue to be a practical way to expose students, faculty and staff to the border community.

Students hiking a trail in Nogales Sonora. Nogales Immersion

In Spring 2014, CASA expanded Border Immersion to include the Nogales Sonora/Arizona community. Through a partnership with Outdoor Adventures, students embarked on an “Alternative Spring Break” experience that included a road trip to and from Nogales as well as a three-day immersion in Nogales, Sonora.

University of San Diego's students at a beach in Guatemala during an immersion trip. Guatemala Immersion

For one week a group of students from the Mulvaney Center stayed with the Lopez Family in the small town of La Blanca located in northwestern Guatemala. The focus of the trip was centered on the idea of Borders- both their significance, as well as their insignificance.

A woman walks along mountains in a rural area outside of Mexicali. Mexicali Immersion The diversity and history of the border region teaches us that communities have been in constant movement for generations. Some migrations are with a specific purpose while others are forced, some might even be by accident. During a border immersion in Mexicali, Baja California, students learned about the Chinese population that settled in Mexicali and the Cucapa, the native people of the area.

Student Leadership

Beyond Borders Student Leaders 

The Beyond Borders team is composed of a group of students who create immersive experiences with neighbors on both sides of the border. They shed light on the challenges, opportunities and unspoken narratives of border communities.

Student leaders carrying a graduating team member.

Micah Fellows

The MICAH Summer Fellowship is a collaboration between the University of San Diego and Saint Mary's College of California. It allows current USD and SMC students the opportunity to cultivate personal and social responsibility through intentionally joining communities that are working to create positive social change. Tijuana Micah Fellows intern with different community partners that do work on the ground with migrant and refugee communities.

Tijuana MICAH fellows hugging.