Annunciation House


Border Awareness Experience

The Border Awareness Experience (BAE) is an immersion experience meant to raise consciousness about the issues facing the border, such as immigration, economic development, human rights, and social justice. Annunciation House developed the BAE program in the early 1990s to facilitate face-to-face encounters between participants and people and groups on both sides of the border, and to educate North Americans about our roles and responsibilities in today’s globalized world. More than being an informational tour, the BAE seeks to immerse participants in the border culture and realities of the many people and groups that live and work here. BAE participants stay in our houses of hospitality and eat with our guests; this communal living is as much a part of the experience as the people and groups that participants meet and the places they visit.

What is a typical day on a B.A.E?

A typical day may include:

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

More Background

Annunciation House is a Catholic organization that accompanies the migrant, homeless, and economically vulnerable peoples of the border region through hospitality, advocacy, and education. We have been operating houses of hospitality for migrants and refugees in El Paso and Ciudad Juarez since 1978. We have an all-volunteer staff who place themselves among the poor in migration 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 ‘Developed World’ meets the ‘Developing World’. It is a region where multiple factors (social, political, economic, cultural, environmental) come into play. 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 border 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.

Quick Facts


All participants, regardless of faith, backgrounds, and beliefs, are welcome.


The typical trip lasts 5-10 days.


Cost is $90 per person per day, which includes lodging, meals, and all activities.


Accommodation is dormitory style.


Three meals are served each day; food is simple but filling.


US citizens need a passport or original birth certificate.


Non-US citizens need correct documentation or visas to cross the borders.


Daily reflections and debriefings are an integral part of the B.A.E.


Spanish not required since translation will be provided

Get Involved

Annunciation House is run entirely by volunteers who commit themselves to an experience of transformative service and solidarity. Some of our volunteers are local community members, while others come for a time to both live and work in our houses of hospitality. Volunteers form a close-knit community: besides the common ground of living and working together, they meet every morning for reflection; take time off together each month to relax and have fun; and often form friendships that last for life. Read on to learn about the different ways to volunteer with us.