What is the Immersion Experience Program?
The Immersion Experience Program offers 7-12 day travel opportunities to the regions in which IPM’s Project Partners work. The purpose of the Program is to allow participants to be with and learn from our Project Partners, forming friendships with the people they meet, while learning a bit about the country’s history and current day realities.
How much does an Immersion Experience cost?
Immersion Experience costs vary based on several factors, including destination, IPM Staff costs, and group size. The program fees range from $850-$2500. Airfare is billed separately from the program fee, at cost. IPM works with a travel agent to find the most competitive fares at group rates. For more information on pricing for a particular destination, contact Alyssa Bovell at firstname.lastname@example.org or +1.866.932.4082.
Are there trips open to individuals?
Yes! IPM offers 4-6 open trips each year, allowing individuals of all ages, religious denominations, and interests to join IPM on an Immersion Experience. Because each of our institutional groups may have a particular focus, and many groups meet several times before the trip, our group trips are closed to individual participants, except in special circumstances.
How many participants do I need to form a group?
Depending on your chosen destination, our minimum group size ranges between 8-12 participants. This is the minimum number of participants that IPM needs to make the trip fiscally feasible, but we do offer several solutions for first-time or smaller groups that may not be able to reach this minimum. For more information on options, contact Alyssa Bovell at email@example.com or +1.866.932.4082.
What are the accommodations like on an Immersion Experience?
Participants on an IPM Immersion Experience should expect simple accommodations. Most often, we stay at family owned guest houses with which we have an existing relationship. Participants should also expect to eat the local food. Food is simple and filling. IPM communicates with all restaurants, guest houses, and Project Partners to ensure the food is safe for travelers, accommodating to all food allergies and restrictions including vegetarians and vegans.
Is there financial aid or fundraising support available for students and participants?
IPM does not offer any financial aid for Immersion Experience participants. However, we can share fundraising strategies utilized by other groups. Because we facilitate nearly 20 trips each year, our capacity to offer direct support in fundraising is limited, but we are happy to offer whatever resources we may have available for group fundraising efforts. IPM does offer a limited number of scholarship funded trips. These are open to pre-selected students at participating schools only.
For a group trip, can we customize our itinerary to meet our needs?
Our itineraries are flexible, and can be customized to meet the goals of a particular group. Each itinerary is developed in a close conversation between IPM Staff and the Project Coordinator. IPM’s standard itinerary includes visits with several of our Project Partners in the Region, as well as cultural and historic events and site visits. We are happy to add options such as overnight or day-long home stays with local families, local religious services, or other particular site visits as is possible.
How far in advance do I need to book a trip?
For group Immersion Experiences, we encourage that you begin the process of setting up their Immersion Experience with IPM approximately 7-9 months in advance. In our experience, this provides ample time to recruit a group, fundraise if necessary, find the best price for airfare, and for IPM Staff to set up the itinerary. A 20% program fee deposit must be made to hold dates. Our calendar does fill up quickly, particularly during academic breaks. However, we are able to accommodate requests closer to the departure date, pending availability of Staff, Project Partners, and accommodations.
For IPM’s Open Immersion Experience, our timelines are extremely flexible. We do ask that any participant considering an Immersion Experience contact us so that we can communicate regarding the best time to purchase flights and provide any additional information you may need to make a final decision.
Contact Alyssa Bovell at firstname.lastname@example.org or +1.866.932.4082 for further information and date and location availability.
What is included in the program fee?
IPM Immersion Experiences are “all inclusive.” Included in the price is all in-country transportation, overnight accommodations, 3 meals daily, translation, donations to the Project Partners visited, and IPM Staff costs. We recommend that participants bring $3-$5 per day for snacks and water, as well as whatever additional money they might want for souvenirs.
How is this different from a service or traditional mission trip?
IPM Immersion Experiences operate with the understanding that our purpose in traveling is to form relationships and develop a stronger understanding of the reality of life for our Project Partners. We do not do any direct service projects, and understand mission as a two-way street. It is our hope that returning participants become advocates for our Project Partners and marginalized citizens around the world, becoming responsible global citizens. Program fees do include monetary contributions to IPM’s Project Partners, compensating them for the time they spend with each of our groups. All IPM Project Partners are engaged with IPM on a long-term basis for organizational development.
Is IPM affiliated with a particular religion or faith tradition?
IPM is an interfaith organization. We were founded by two returning Lutheran missionaries in 1974 who wanted to re-envision the meaning of “mission” as a two-way street. IPM facilitates Immersion Experiences for groups of all faith traditions, or of no faith tradition. IPM Staff work closely with group leaders in planning and crafting nightly reflections that are appropriate for each group, which may or may not include a faith-based component.
Who is the IPM Staff on Immersion Experiences?
Immersion Experiences are guided by IPM Staff from our Headquarters Office in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, and our Regional Offices staff. Cleveland-based Staff accompany most groups, particularly groups that are new to IPM. Other groups travel with Regional Staff only. For more information on the IPM Staff and to read Staff bios, visit the Staff page.