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Our School Immersion Programme

An immersion programme is a form of experiential development education which sees students from the so-called developed world ‘immersed’ in the culture and day–to-day life of  host communities in the developing world. The hosts are partner schools, congregations and NGOs who facilitate and support the visit.


Students are afforded the opportunity to share and partake in the daily lives of their host community and attend school with their peers. Centered around the daily school experience, students are engaged in a development education experience which sees them gain invaluable exposure to, and an awareness of: the local culture, traditions and society and also the challenges faced by communities. It creates a space whereby the Irish students’ existing perceptions and attitudes of the developing world may be challenged.

The immersion is generally up to two weeks in duration and includes; ‘students being students’ and going to school for one full week in secondary school, attending normal classes and participating  in extracurricular school activities such as sport and entertainment. Students are placed in a class corresponding to their class in Ireland and attend regular class with their African peers, taught by African teachers. Students of very different cultures find common ground in the familiar classroom set up. This ‘learning by doing’ creates an awareness of the local culture, traditions and society and also the challenges faced by communities.

For over 12 years Aidlink has organised school immersion programmes; linking schools in Ireland and Africa and facilitating unique development education experiences.

For more an overview of the Aidlink Immersion Programme see here.

For our 2016 review of the Immersion Programme see here 

Immersion Learning also brings unique benefits to the work of development professionals, as outlined by Varja Lipovsek of Twaweza and Robert Chambers

If you are interested in finding out more, or if your school is interested in participating in an immersion programme, please contact

Development education is a core component of Aidlink’s work. We are committed to promoting an understanding, especially amongst younger people, of the causes and realities of poverty. Aidlink is a founding member of an NGO consortium that promotes development education through a dedicated website Other members of the consortium include 80:20 Educating and Acting for a Better World, Concern Worldwide, National Youth Council of Ireland, Self-Help Africa and Trócaire. For more information, please go to