far from just a "travel" program

The Francis Xavier International Baccalaureate Program broadens student global awareness while also helping  them traverse, with confidence, the distances between culture, economics, religion, and geography.

Greece Immersion Trip 2020-2

Francis Xavier International Scholars

In 2013, St Joseph High School quantified the intangible exercise of intentional and mindful cultural study with the development of the Francis Xavier International Baccalaureate Program.

Immersion Trips offer a unique perspective for our students as they take time to experience the lives of our sisters and brothers around the corner and around the world. They listen and learn from individuals and families; take excursions to monuments for meaningful history lessons; and engage in conversation to hone world language skills. Undoubtedly students’ lives are changed as they step out of comfort and into adventure and a new world-view as global citizens.

Confronted with authentic, global experiences, students explore significant challenges facing humanity such as housing needs, access to education, political infrastructure, and religious tolerance. Preparing future diplomats, entrepreneurs and social justice agents within a community centered in Catholic values ensures peaceful voices of innovation will always be in great supply. While the lives of our students and those they serve are emphatically impacted, our mission to empower young men and women through authentic and life-changing global experiences will only be compounded with time.

Students pursuing this certificate program will be involved in intensive world language study, take three credits of course work directly related to cross-cultural understanding and global perspectives, and participate in two or more SJHS domestic or international immersion trips. Once they fulfill these requirements, students will graduate with distinction as “Francis Xavier International Scholars.”


Past Immersion Trips

Appalachia Immersion Trip


China Immersion Trip


Italy Immersion Trip


Nicaragua Immersion Trip


Puerto Rico 2019

Camp Sunshine Immersion Trip



New Orleans


Peru Immersion Trip


Student Reflections



About Francis Xavier


Francis Xavier was one of the co-founders of the Society of Jesus; he is the patron saint for missionaries. He was encouraged by his close friend, Ignatius of Loyola, to commit his life to spreading the Gospel message and to devote his life to the service of others.

Francis Xavier was born in the Basque region of Spain. He was a member of a noble family, privileged with education. His childhood was disrupted by his father’s death and by political turmoil in his region of Spain. He traveled to Paris to pursue his education, which is where he met Ignatius and six other men who came together to form the Jesuit community.

Ordained in 1534, he spent his first years of vocation in Italy. In 1542, he was assigned to missionary work in Asia, arriving first in Goa, India where he stayed for five years to work alongside the poor and to help reestablish the Christian community that had ties to the early church as far back as St Thomas. He learned the languages of the countries that he traveled to which helped him work together with the poor. His travels took him to Ceylon, Malaysia and Japan; he died before reaching the mainland of China near Canton in 1552. Although his life was shortened by illness, Francis Xavier was able to make a huge impact on the universal church during his ten years of missionary work and life of solidarity with the poor. He is known as the second great evangelizer of the church following St Paul.

St Francis Xavier teaches us that we are called to share the Gospel by being living witnesses of faith to our families, friends, school, and community. Furthermore, his vocation challenges each of us to work for justice on behalf of those who cannot do so themselves. 

Micah 6:8 “He has told you, O mortal, what is good: and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with God”



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