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Details

Typical Program

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Duration and Directions



Trips can be arranged for five to ten days where visitors fly directly into San Diego’s Lindbergh Field Airport which is uniquely located right in the heart of downtown next to the iconic San Diego Bay.

Orientation

Upon arrival to the hostel and after a rest, an orientation will be provided including an introduction to the hosting organization including culture, safety, rules and expectations. Volunteers will also learn about the critical issues facing communities, including the impact of migration and globalization in this unique region. The orientation will provide an overview of activities for the week and background on the projects, people, and places where we will engage.

Volunteer Requirements

Volunteers should be adaptable and flexible, willing to work as part of a team, and respectful of local traditions, culture, and customs. Those taking part in communal solidarity projects need to be capable of doing physical work, although previous experience is not essential. Spanish language ability is useful, but not necessary.

Click here to view the packing checklist.

Check out a Sample Itinerary

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Food and Accommodations

Each night, volunteers will enjoy regional food, traditionally prepared by Los Ninos de Baja nutrition experts. As part of your immersion experience we’ve invited a local Promotora from Tijuana to join the group assisting with meal preparation, education, and cultural exchange. Enjoy traditional Mexican dishes prepared with a vegetarian nutritional model including fresh veggies, rice, legumes, soy, and other regional fare. Not to worry carnivores, we’ll still have chicken pozole and various tamales. Replenish with homemade agua frescas like, horchata, hibiscus, and tamarindo. For student teams, preparing food, eating together, cleaning up, and recycling are all part of the learning and immersion experience.

Community and Region

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Via Local Partner Organizations

Los Niños de Baja California is a Mexican based NGO that has been working in the border region of Tijuana since 1988. Los Niños’ programs address the basic needs of communities by building the capacities of the residents to become agents of positive change. The community members in turn create opportunities for themselves, their families, and their communities.

Impact

  • Discover the complexity of border life and globalization in a traditional pueblo setting
  • Learn how community leadership is demonstrated through communal programs involving food security and education in rural ejidos
  • Analyze the unique interdependence between Mexican and Indigenous cultures
  • Understand how indigenous identity can keep its roots while adapting to modern living
  • Participate in community-defined service projects improving local schools and teaching elementary english

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Testimonials

  • Loyola University Maryland “I highly recommend Via International as a great host agency for meaningful immersion programs, both domestic and international. They are rooted in the community with years of experience and relationships, organized and offer great educational input for the participants. They have everything you need for a comprehensive experience.”
    Andrea Goicochea, Assistant Director International ImmersionsAndrea Goicochea, Assistant Director International Immersions
  • University of Colorado Boulder
    “Via International is an excellent partner in engaging students in grassroots community development. During our recent service-learning trip to Bolivia, they proved responsive to our needs and adept at working with community partners and navigating local realities. The students came away with a remarkable understanding of local issues and global interconnectedness.”
    Karey Sabol, Director of International ProgramsKarey Sabol, Director of International Programs
  • Stonehill College
    “Our first experience working with Via International was exemplary.  The communication with the organizers was thorough and timely.  All aspects of the trip were carefully considered and taken care of with great respect to our group needs and the needs of 
    the receiving community. Our students walked away with a heightened commitment to learning about indigenous peoples, immigration and migration into the United States and a desire to educate their peers, friends and families regarding the information they learned.  We are definitely partnering with Via again and are grateful for such an educational, fun and life changing experience.”
    MaryAnne Cappelleri, Campus Minister for Service Immersion ProgramsMaryAnne Cappelleri, Campus Minister for Service Immersion Programs

Gallery

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Program Fees

Program Development

Is a key expertise of Via Staff providing faculty and student leaders collaborative input to refine itineraries. We create unique access to local partners and coordinate all pre-trip activities.

Travel Services

provide ground transportation in Mexico, 3 meals-a-day including snacks and clean water, lodging at community site, adventure activity and museum entrance fees, first aid supplies, and 24-hour supervision.

Educational Services

Create dynamic cultural exchange through a full-time Regional Coordinator and translator, presentations by local experts and partner organizations, discussions on regional issues and initiatives, community preparation and participation support.

Community Support

Covers the cost of volunteer work projects, bringing vital resources to community-driven initiatives, and funding the purchase of tools and materials that facilitate the visitor experience.

Sustainable Development Support

Provides an important donation to mission-based initiatives for year-round program development of micro-creditnutritionleadership educationecology training, and sustainable development initiatives.

Via's Integrated Model

We’ve designed our programs to provide high-value, affordable travel while maximizing volunteer and educational impact. Via provides full-service support and coordination to simplify logistics for group leaders and engage seamlessly with community-driven initiatives and local community members. Via’s regional facilitators and educational program development provide and integrated approach that offers visiting volunteer groups a deeply immersive, inspiring, memorable, and transformational experience that is safe, stable, reliable, and impactful.

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