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Travel Opportunities for United Students, Alums and Guests

United's Commitment to Global Education

Recognizing we live in an increasingly globalized world, United is committed to the global awareness and engagement of its students. One way it fulfills this commitment is the requirement that each student take an immersion course in global justice.

These courses make a significant impact on students' awareness of issues surrounding economic justice and globalization, and participants indicate a growth in their awareness of local and worldwide diversity. These courses also help equip students to engage issues of global interconnectedness and interdependence as related to the church's mission, as well as preparing them to meet the multicultural leadership needs they might encounter in their work after seminary.

Do I have to be a United student to attend?

Trips are open to alums, friends, family and the wider community. All trip participants must be students and register for the course, either as an auditor or for credit. Alums of United or other trip participants who have a seminary degree may use our Continuing Education Audit Registration form to register for the course. Other trip participants must apply and be admitted as non-degree students and register for the course via our standard registration process.

For more information, contact Sara Smalley in the admissions office, 651.255.6119.

I'm a United student. What are my options for fulfilling the Global Justice Requirement?

  • Each academic year, United faculty lead two international global immersion trips which fulfill the requirement.
  • Every other year, a global immersion course is offered in the Twin Cities area.
  • Some students opt to take an independent study course to fulfill the requirement.

For more information on the requirement and fulfillment options, contact the registrar, Susan Hastings, 651.255.6120.

Global Justice Trips in 2014

  • Global Encounters on Our Doorstep (CS746, January 2014)

    The class meets mornings (usually between 9:00 AM and 12:30 PM) in a variety of places in the Twin Cities during regularly scheduled, winter-term class sessions. In addition, there is a weekend trip January 17-19 to Shalom Hill Farm in Windom, Mnn. $350 deposit due December 17, 2013.

Global Justice Trips in 2013

Other Trips in 2013

  • Iona Pilgrimage (October. This is not a global justice trip or for credit.)

Trips Offered in the Past

Other Trips in 2013

Iona Pilgrimage*
October 4-12, 2013

Thank your so much for your vibrant interest in the Pilgrimage to Scotland and the Isle of Iona. Click here for the pilgrimage brochure.

We continue to work on the pilgrimage programming and are so excited to share this sacred journey with you.


Martha Postlethwaite, 651.633.4311, mpostlethwaite@unitedseminary.edu 
Ramona Scarpace, 612.201.6634, Rscarpace@comcast.net 

*This is not a global justice trip nor is it for credit or attached to any United course.

Trips Offered in the Past

Global Justice Trip to the Philippines
June 10-24, 2013

Eleazar S. Fernandez
, professor constructive theology

This trip offered participants an opportunity to broaden their understanding of our global realities as well as deepen their commitment to greater well-being in the context of our highly globalized world. In particular, participants were offered the privilege to live with the Filipino people, listen to their stories, learn about people’s movements, share their faith and hopes, engage in dialogue about global issues and explore ways of global solidarity. Participants were exposed to the life and ministry of churches in the Philippines and had the opportunity to explore or strengthen church partnerships.

Global Justice Trip to South Africa
January 4-24, 2013

Chris Smith, professor of preaching
Kim Vrudny, United alum and professor, University of St. Thomas

Richard Cogill, consultant

Through analysis of works of artistic resistance, students examined the interrelationships between two catastrophes of the modern era in South Africa: Apartheid and AIDS. Students approached works of art with theological lenses to explore such themes as lament, imago Dei, prophecy, theodicy, justice/charity, memory, storytelling, covenant, forgiveness/reconciliation and hope. Artistic examples were drawn from the visual arts (both “fine” and “folk“ styles), music, literature (novel and poetry), and film. Students learned about the arts of resistance through guest presentations and tours of selected sites in Cape Town and surrounding townships.

Palestine-Israel Global Justice Trip
June 18-July 2, 2012

Eleazar S. Fernandez, professor of constructive theology
Peter Makari, area executive, Middle East and Europe, Global Ministries

The Palestine-Israel Travel Seminar was an expression of the church’s commitment to the formation of seminary students, clergy, and lay leaders who embody a greater understanding of our global realities, the interconnections of our lives, and the mission of the global church. The trip provided an opportunity for participants to see closely the Israeli-Palestinian context and listen to people’s stories of survival, struggle and hopes. Part of the trip was engaging in conversations with individuals who have devoted themselves to the ministry of dialogue and peace-building. There were opportunities to visit holy sites that are central to the major religious faiths in the area.

Global Justice Trip to Chiapas, Mexico
January 16-26, 2012

Faculty Trip Leader: Chris Smith
Assistant Leader: Don Christensen
In-country Trip Leader: Teresa Ortiz, Twin Cities Mexican educator who lived and worked in Chiapas

Description: This trip focused on the southern most state of Mexico - Chiapas. We visited co-operatives, ecological projects, and religious communities, worshiped in Acteal with Las Abejas and spent time with some of the Zapatista leaders. We experienced the pervasive strength of Mayan indigenous culture and spirituality and met individuals and communities working for change and liberation, including:
1. The ongoing struggle for autonomy and liberation of the Zapatistas
2. The active non-violence strategies of Las Abejas
3. The Liberation Theology influence of Bishop Samuel Ruiz who served the Diocese of San Cristobal for over 30 years.


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Reflections from
past trip participants

"I encountered the many aspects of Christ in my spiritual journey to the Philippines. The beauty of the islands and the amazing hospitality of the Filipino people opened my eyes to the hope of the kingdom in the midst of oppression. I am forever changed in who I am, my relationship with God, and my ministry."

Mickey Olson '07
Duluth, Minn.

"On our trip to the Philippines, I was immersed in a culture deeply rooted and connected to the land; they hold onto hope, live their faith, and love one another. I experience transformation by being in community with a people that struggle for justice and peace everyday of their lives. It was a mountain top experience!"

Rev. Karen J. Aitkens
Bethel UCC
Kansas City, Mo.

"Today, we had breakfast where we are lodging and then watched a presentation with a brief overview of Filipino history. After that we walked to the mall two blocks away and had lunch. I had stuffed squid, a crab dish, some kind of stewed pork and pancit (noodles). I also bought some durian fruit for later to share with my adventurous travel mates."

Laura Thompson
United M.Div. student





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