Frequently Asked Questions
- COVID-specific protocols
- How do I register for an Immersion Project?
- How much does it cost? What does the cost of the trip cover?
- When do I make payments for the trip?
- Who is eligible to go on an Immersion Project?
- Is there financial aid available?
- How much can I expect to receive as a Financial Award?
- Why do I have to pay the deposit before I hear if I received a Financial Award? Can I get my deposit back if the Financial Award is not enough for me to participate?
- Who will be leading the trip?
- How can I become a Project Leader (students)?
- How can I become a Project Mentor (staff/faculty)?
- Are the trips safe?
- What immunizations will I need?
- What if I decide to withdraw from the project? Can I get my money back?
- Are there travel restrictions that will impact travel for my Immersion Project?
- It is likely there will be travel restrictions, especially on travel outside of the country. These restrictions may be due to government regulations, or rules put in place by our host community partners in support of general community health such as testing, quarantining, mask usage or showing proof of vaccination. Local regulations and guidelines can change at any time – and that means students must be prepared to adhere to these changes.
- Will I need to get vaccinated before participating in an Immersion Project?
- Gettysburg College requires that all students be vaccinated unless they have a medical or religious exemption. At this time, our community partner host organizations are requiring that students participating have the COVID-19 vaccine. Host community partners require students to provide proof of vaccination prior to traveling. If you have an exemption to the vaccine please contact CPS to discuss how that could affect your participation in our Immersion Projects. Many countries already require vaccines and other immunizations unrelated COVID-19 for entry (ex. Tuberculosis tests, measles, rubella, yellow fever, etc.) so it is possible that it will be required even if it currently is not. The Center for Public Service will ensure that you have the most updated information prior to departure.
- I have registered for my Immersion Project, is it possible that Gettysburg College or the host community partner will make a decision that students cannot travel?
- Yes, it is possible. The safety of Gettysburg students and our host communities are our highest priority. The Center for Public Service reserves the right to make decisions about Immersion Projects in the best interest of our students and local community partners before traveling for an immersion program. Decisions to cancel programs or modify program schedules are based on a balance of global and local health news, public health and safety advisories and restrictions and input from our host community partners.
- If my Immersion Project is canceled or I voluntarily withdraw from my project, will I receive a refund?
If the Center for Public Service or our host community partners cancel the program prior to the start, program deposits and additional charges will be refunded, but non-recoverable individual costs such as visa, passport or immunizations will not be refunded.
If you voluntarily withdraw from your program prior to the start, the $100 deposit required at the time of registration is non-refundable. In addition, you are responsible for paying for all expenses incurred on your behalf at the time of the withdrawal. For example, if airline tickets have been purchased by the time of withdrawal, you will be responsible for the cost of the ticket, as well as any other pre-paid expenses.
- I have registered to an Immersion Project, but I am still not sure if I want to go. When do I officially need to make a decision?
- You are able to withdraw at any time but keep in mind that you are responsible for paying for all expenses incurred on your behalf at the time of the withdrawal. You are required to submit a $100 deposit to reserve your place on an Immersion Project. This fee is non-refundable should you decide to withdraw from the project.
- What do Department of State Travel Advisories or CDC Warning Levels mean for Immersion Projects?
The entire world, including the United States, is on a heightened state of alert due to the current pandemic. In April 2021, the Department of State increased the risk level in their Travel Advisories for over 80% of countries to Level 4: Do Not Travel. However, they acknowledged that this increase in the Travel Advisory Level was not a reflection of changing conditions on-site, but rather an attempt to align Department of State and Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) guidance. In June 2021, both the Department of State and the CDC revised their travel advisories for dozens of countries to a lower risk level, and issued specific guidance for both vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers.
Program providers and host organizations globally consider travel advisory levels issued by the U.S. Department of State, the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and other information from trusted sources as they make decisions about whether their programs will run. Students will be required to acknowledge and accept the risks and responsibilities associated with participating in an Immersion Project by signing an Agreement and Release document prior to participating.
How do I register for an Immersion Project?
Complete the online Registration Form by the date listed on the Dates and Deadlines sections of this website. Upon submission of your Registration Form, CPS will follow-up with your registration status. If the project is not full, CPS will email applicants a link with payment information and hold your spot. Payment must be made within 48 hours of receipt to confirm a spot on the Project. Registration is first come, first served, and projects fill up quickly. Participants registering for projects are entering into a contractual agreement with the Center for Public Service. Each participant is responsible for paying the project fees or any expenses incurred on their behalf should they decide to withdraw. CPS has the right to remove any individual from the project for failure to meet the expectations stated in all materials/correspondence and mentioned on this website from the Center for Public Service.
How much does it cost? What does the cost of the trip cover?
The project cost is listed under each project description. The cost listed is all-inclusive: round-trip ground and/or air transportation from Gettysburg College to and from the project site, meals, accommodations, project supplies, and all activities. Any visa and immunization costs are not included and are the responsibility of the participant.
When do I make payments for the trip?
A $100 deposit is required within 48 hours of your registration to confirm your spot on the Immersion Project. Remaining payments will be due as stated in the Dates and Deadlines section of this website. Participants failing to make these payments on time risk being removed from the project.
Who is eligible to participate on an Immersion Project?
Projects are open to all Gettysburg College students. Occasionally, persons from off-campus participate. Participants must be sixteen years of age or older. Students must be in good disciplinary standing (no more than 5 points and not on academic probation) in order to participate on an Immersion Project. Each participant must agree to full participation in their chosen project by attending all pre-trip meetings, completing required paperwork and preparatory assignments (such as readings, videos, other activities), behaving in an appropriate manner at all times, participating in group reflection, and contributing to the group follow-up project.
The Center for Public Service reserves the right to remove a participant prior to departure for reasons of, but not limited to, failure to make project payments in a timely manner, financial debt to the College, a history of judicial violations, failure to complete required participant forms (such as release and health forms), failure to attend mandatory Orientation Session and/or group meetings. The Center for Public Service reserves the right to send a participant home during the project (at the participant's expense) for reasons of, but not limited to, violations of College policy, the use of alcohol or illegal drugs, disrespect toward site community or group members, or medical/psychological emergencies.
Is there financial aid available?
Yes. Monies have been made available by various donors to be awarded to current Gettysburg College students to offset the costs of Immersion Projects. The total amount of money available differs each year, depending on donations. With limited funds available, this becomes a competitive process; not all applicants will receive awards. The amount of individual awards will vary. Applicants must officially register for an Immersion Project to qualify for award monies. Requests for financial support are included on the learning goals form. Deadline for Financial Award requests are stated on the Dates and Deadlines section of this website.
How much can I expect to receive as a Financial Award?
The Center for Public Service distributes the individual awards. Applicants must present well-written, thorough, and thoughtful applications responding to specific questions. Consideration is jeopardized when participants submit incomplete or inadequate applications. CPS will take into account: 1) total amount of award money, 2) total number of applications, 3) number of applicants per trip, 4) criteria detailed on the award application, and 5) number of applicants in each financial category. The Center for Public Service obtains the financial category of each applicant, as determined by the office of Financial Aid. Categories are high, medium, and low, based on an applicant's financial aid package.
Because donations vary from year to year, it is impossible to predict what the awards will be in a given year. However, in the past, students with the best applications and the highest need have received as much as half of the cost of their project as a Financial Award.
Why do I have to pay the deposit before I hear if I received a Financial Award? Can I get my deposit back if the Financial Award is not enough for me to participate?
Deposits are required to demonstrate that the participant has the appropriate commitment to the experience. However, if a participant pays their deposit, and after receiving their Financial Award notice decides that they cannot afford to go on the trip, we will refund their deposit. This is the only reason a deposit would be refunded, and only if the participant turns down the Financial Award within the time allotted on the award notice (typically three days). For all other reasons and times of withdrawal, the Withdrawal Policy applies.
Who will be leading the Immersion Project?
Each project is led by a student Project Leader with assistance from a faculty or staff member of the college who serves as a Project Mentor.
How can I become a Project Leader (students)?
Each Project Leader receives a reduction of $500 from their project fee (which in some cases is more than the total of the project fee - in this case, the leader does not receive the balance of that money, but does attend the trip at no cost). Participants interested in being considered for Project Leader must complete the Project Leader Application. A full description of the Project Leader responsibilities is included on the application, which is available on this website.
How can I become a Project Mentor (staff/faculty)?
If you are an employee at Gettysburg College and are interested in being a project mentor for one of the trips, please contact the Center for Public Service to discuss this opportunity.
Are the trips safe?
All domestic and international travel, whether personal or through the college, comes with a certain level of risk. The Center for Public Service and Gettysburg College takes all risk seriously and plans each project with attention to mitigating risk. Project leaders spend time in meetings prior to each project discussing cultural sensitivity issues and safety precautions. Participants are encouraged to do their own research on their destination to understand the community to which they are traveling. See the Safety and Medical information for more information.
What immunizations will I need?
We will make all participants on international Immersion Projects aware of what recommendations the Center for Disease Control makes for travel to those countries during orientation. However, participants are responsible to consult with their doctor about these recommendations and make informed decisions. You can see the CDC's recommendations for each country by searching the destination country on the CDC website.
What if I decide to withdraw from the project? Can I get my money back?
The $100 deposit required at the time of registration is non-refundable should the participant decide to withdraw from the project. In addition, the participant is responsible for paying for all expenses incurred on their behalf at the time of the withdrawal. For example, if airline tickets have been purchased by the time of withdrawal, participant will be responsible for the cost of the ticket, as well as any other pre-paid expenses.