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San Diego Border: Tijuana - A Hub of Culture and Movement 
June 30 – July 4, 2023 











Join an immersive delegation experience for Presbyterians from across Southern California to learn about the realities at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Our trip facilitators will be from Via International (Via), which led our virtual border trips in 2021. Rooted in California/Baja California region and founded in 1975, Via is a non-profit organization with extensive relationships of trust across Mexico. Our group will spend time in Tijuana meeting with local communities and have the opportunity to learn from the people about their strategies to improve their lives, educate their children, and achieve their potential. We will have facilitated conversations with recent migrants who are finding their way to new lives as well as experts in the fields of migration and social justice. 

This trip is open to teenagers (with adult family member) on up. All participants are required to have a passport. Participants will meet up in San Diego in the early afternoon of June 30 and walk across the border together. People can be dropped off right at the border crossing, but some walking is involved to get through passport control, customs, and to the street in Tijuana. We will return to the U.S. before lunch on July 4. Lodging will be in Tijuana at a community house/retreat center. 

Thanks to the generosity of the Synod JPIC Committee and the mission/justice committees of four presbyteries, the per person cost for this 5-day study trip is only $465. This covers lodging, meals, transportation, and all programming in Tijuana. Carpooling to San Diego is encouraged. Transportation to San Diego and parking at the border are not covered by the registration cost. 

Have questions? See the FAQ below and/or contact Wendy Gist at

Have questions? See the FAQ below and/or contact Wendy Gist at

Click on the link directly below to start the registration process.

Synod of Southern California and Hawaii - Via International Trip Registration

To complete your registration, click on the link below to make your payment.

Border Trip Payment

Frequently Asked Questions:

Do I need a passport?

YES! And it must be valid for a minimum of six months after the trip.

What will we be eating?

Tijuana has so many people from so many places that you can experience food from many cultures.

Usually, the program supports local women who prepare homemade meals for the participants and, since

they come from all over Mexico, the dishes can be a diverse offering of the many regions of Mexico.

There will be efforts to accommodate dietary restrictions and you can note any on the registration form. If

you have severe food restrictions please talk to Wendy Gist.

What will our accommodations be like?

Our accommodations will be in a large community house. Rooms will be shared.

What can we expect at the beginning of our time in Tijuana?

Our group will be transported via bus/van to our accommodations. Once we are checked in an orientation will be provided including an introduction to Mexico and Tijuana specifically, including facts, local customs and culture, safety, rules and expectations. Participants will also learn about the critical issues facing communities, including health and nutrition, access to education, and, of course, migration. The orientation will provide an overview of activities for the week and background on the projects, people, and places we will be visiting and working with.

What is expected of me?

Participants should be adaptable and flexible, willing to work as part of a team, and respectful of local

traditions, culture, and customs. Spanish language ability is useful, but not necessary.

Who does Via International partner with in Mexico?

Los Niños de Baja California is a Mexican based NGO that has been working in the border region since

1975. Los Niños’ programs address the basic needs of communities by building the capacities of the

residents to become agents of positive change. The community members in turn create opportunities for

themselves, their families, and their communities.

Who will be accompanying us in Mexico?

Staff members of Los Niños and Via International, along with community promoters they work with. A

community promoter may also stay with us at our place of lodging.

Where will we leave our vehicles in San Diego?

Wendy Gist is still looking at options. There are large pay parking lots right near where we will walk

across the San Ysidro border crossing. Alternatively, people may want to ride the trolley to the San

Ysidro border crossing from somewhere else in the San Diego area. This may not be a one solution for all

situation since some of the group may have friends or relatives in the San Diego area where they can

leave a vehicle and others may take the train. However, options will be provided closer to the trip.

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