Date of Graduation

Spring 5-18-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Migration Studies


College of Arts and Sciences


Migration Studies

First Advisor

Amy Argenal


Higher education institutions have put more weight on the use of experiential learning to provide students with opportunities to grow intellectually and develop as engaged citizens. Many recent studies have looked at the quality and educational impacts of a variety of experiential and service learning experiences, yet few have explored what other ideological impacts may result from specific non-curricular experiential learning experiences. This study measured the impact of experiential learning, in the form of week-long migration-themed trips, on undergraduate student’s self-reported levels of solidarity, and related measures of civic engagement and political engagement and activism around migration issues. This study conducted surveys and semi-structured interviews with undergraduate students from a private California university who participated in week-long immersion trips to Mexico and Colombia in 2018 and 2019. Overall, the study found that immersion participants were impacted by their first-hand experiences on immersion trips, which provided different perspectives and understanding of migrants and migration. Participants showed a desire to continue learning and engaging with migration and in solidarity with migrants. Contrary to predictions, participants chose not to engage politically with current U.S. migration policies. These findings suggest that experiential learning can and should be utilized in order to provide university students with more opportunities to become civically engaged and gain a better understanding of migration, an increasingly important theme of our globalized world. Such opportunities prepare students to achieve a sense of solidarity, a quality which is lacking in our current political and social climate.