Beyond Our Borders Immersion Program

What is Beyond Our Borders?
Beyond Our Borders is Ursuline Academy’s high school immersion program. Each year, a small group of students leaves the comforts of home for an adventure in service learning. Previous expeditions have included Guyana, South America and Belize, Central America. They live in impoverished villages, getting a sense of a life much different than their own. They teach. They build. They devote their time and energy to serving others, but they get so much in return.

How do you sign up for Beyond Our Borders?
High school sophomores and juniors go through a detailed application process, beginning with writing essays. If they make it through the first round, they are interviewed by a panel. From there, only a handful of students will become part of Ursuline’s Beyond Our Borders Immersion Program.

What happens once you are chosen?
Students participating in Beyond Our Borders make a two-year commitment. They spend one year prepping for their trip and, following the trip, another year sharing their experience and implementing service strategies in their own community.  

Belize 2016: Reflection Book Belizing in the Power of Books

Belize 2016 Reflection Book: Breaking the Cycle of Poverty

"Strengthened by the Word of God and by the communion with each other, let us have the courage to go beyond our borders and, with Angela, be signs of reconciliation and hope." – 2007 Ursuline General Chapter Message
My wonderful experience started from the moment we stepped out of the plane, looked around at the beautiful mountains, and met all of the children who ran from their school to the landing area to meet us. Through serving them and simply getting to know them, I was able to learn a lot about their culture, personalities, and even challenges they faced. – Emily, Beyond Our Borders - Guyana 

Community Service Projects

After returning home from Belize, students were challenged to take inspiration from their trip and relate it to comparable social issues in New Orleans. The students divided into four groups, recruited additional students, and worked to implement service projects that connected their experiences in Belize with the Ursuline community and with organizations throughout the city. The issues the groups chose to focus on included poverty and homelessness, violence against women, living simply and appreciating what one has, and the significant gap between wealthy and poor citizens.