Border Awareness Experience

Understanding the US/Mexico Border through experiential education

Annunciation House developed the Border Awareness Experience (BAE) in the early 1990s to facilitate face-to-face encounters between participants and people and groups on both sides of the border. It intends to raise consciousness about the issues facing the border such as immigration, economic development, human rights, and social justice. The BAE also educates North Americans about our roles and responsibilities in today’s globalized world.

Quick Facts About BAE

  • All participants, regardless of faith, backgrounds, and beliefs, are welcome.
  • The typical trip lasts 5-10 days.
  • Cost is $90 per person per day.
  • Pack lightly.
  • Accommodation is dormitory style.
  • Bedding is provided.
  • Three meals a day will be provided. Food is simple but filling.
  • US citizens will need a passport or original birth certificate.
  • Non-US citizens will need correct documentation or visas.
  • Daily reflections/debriefings are an integral part of the BAE.
  • Spanish is not required since translation will be provided.

For more information, email us or call (915) 533-4675.

An immigration van as seen from the Mexican side.

More background: Annunciation House has been working in El Paso/Ciudad Juarez since 1978 operating houses of hospitality for migrants and refugees. Annunciation House is a Catholic organization that accompanies the migrant, homeless, and economically vulnerable peoples of the border region through hospitality, advocacy, and education. It has an all volunteer staff who place themselves among these poor so as transform their understanding of what constitutes more just relationships between peoples, countries, and economies.

The US/Mexico border is a unique area where the ‘First World’ meets the ‘Third World’. It is a region where multiple factors (social, political, economic, cultural, environmental) come into play. It is worth understanding for its own intrinsic value, but perhaps more importantly, we can learn much by seeing the border as a microcosm of today’s globalized economy.

The El Paso and Ciudad Juarez metropolitan area is the biggest border community in the world. The combined population of both cities is close to 3 million people. Since 1964 Juarez has experienced enormous population growth due to the influx of maquiladora factories. These factories have provided jobs but also caused various social problems that afflict the city. El Paso and Ciudad Juarez are also one of the main entry points into the US for undocumented workers and drugs.

The BAE is an immersion experience. More than being an informational tour, it seeks to immerse the participants in the border culture and realities of the many people and groups that live and work here. The food that you will eat and the conditions which you will live in are as much a part of the experience as the people and groups that you will meet

A squatter settlement in Ciudad Juarez

What is a typical day on a BAE?

A typical day may include:

  • Visiting the US Border Patrol
  • Listening to the stories of migrants and refugees
  • Touring a maquiladora
  • Meeting human rights activists
  • Staying in a migrant shelter

The El Paso Federal Court House

If you would like more information or would like to inquire about participating in a BAE please contact us through this email form .

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