Program Overview

The Villa Academy Heritage program in New York City is designed to introduce students to the nation’s origins through the stories of immigrants and Catholic landmarks. Visit the Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini Shrine, join mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral and see the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral. In Lower Manhattan, learn about the early history of the city when Catholics were a marginalized minority. On Liberty Island and Ellis Island, experience the spaces that stand as testament to the great waves of immigration that forged New York City as a multicultural metropolis. Engage in the New York City communities through service learning with Cabrini Immigration Services and more. Create memories that last a lifetime, watching a brilliant Broadway performance and viewing the city from the top of the Empire State Building. On this unparalleled New York City learning journey, students are encouraged to draw new insights, ask challenging questions and continue these lessons at home, creating opportunities for further discovery.


Destination Highlights

Learn about the city of immigrants, New York City, firsthand on a service learning trip and Catholic heritage tour. The faith-based organization, Cabrini Immigrant Services, provides much-needed assistance to the city’s diverse immigrant populations in legal matters, family support, food distribution, community advocacy and more. Located in Lower East Side, the organization has played a critical support role in the local immigrant community for over 20 years. The nearby Tenement Museum portrays the lives of previous generations of immigrants to the Lower East Side. Immigrants in New York City, especially Irish immigrants, were supported by the efforts of Tammany Hall in the 1800s to receive basic social services. At the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration, the stories of 12-million immigrants record Ellis Island immigration as the source of nearly half of the current U.S. population.

One of the world’s greatest destinations, New York City, is a place where amazing things can happen at any hour of the day. While exploring Lower Manhattan, take note of Federal Hall, where the first U.S. president took the oath of office in 1789. Since the city never sleeps, overlook the lights at night from the Empire State Building and go shopping on 5th Avenue in the evening. Visit the National 9/11 Memorial, built on the site where the twin towers fell in 2001. For a view above it all, students go all the way to the top of the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere to explore the One World Observatory. Stop by the Statue of Liberty to see the symbol of American freedoms and justice. Enjoy the pure artistry of a Broadway show, where only the most talented performers grace the stage.

Experience the Catholic heritage of New York City, a group in the city that developed their position from the lowest to the highest. Take part in mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, a Catholic church that takes up an entire city block with its Gothic-style architecture. Another Catholic landmark we visit is the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral, originally the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York until the current St. Patrick’s Cathedral opened in 1879. Stop by the Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini Shrine, where Mother Cabrini’s remains are enshrined in a glass case in the altar of the chapel. During her life, she founded over 50 foundations and schools all over the country to support immigrant communities.

New York City has a diverse culture, from the richest to the poorest social classes, along with global connections and the expanse of natural history. During service learning activities, students get to see the other side of the city, interacting with the everyday challenges faced by both immigrant and native-born residents. At Cabrini Immigration Services, support the local immigrant population and take part in service learning alongside them. Inspired by the patron saint of American immigrants herself, Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, students engage in service learning at her shrine in northern Manhattan.

Daily Itinerary

Note: Activities are subject to change based on availability.

Learning Outcomes

In this New York City Heritage program, engage in service learning in support of those in need, learn about immigration to the U.S. in a lecture and tour noteworthy landmarks. See what has shaped U.S. history, on tours to local landmarks including the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and Lower Manhattan. Consider the city in the context of equality during service learning with Cabrini Immigration Services and Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini Shrine. Experience mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Explore the famous sights of the city and come away with a deeper understanding of how immigrants from different nations and eras came to New York City to build a new life.

We take care of everything

At Experience we make sure everything is covered — from housing to technology and beyond — to provide the best experience for our students.


Public and private transportation provided throughout the program.


All scheduled activities and experiences are included in the cost.


Local hotel (quad occupancy) accommodations.


Three meals are provided daily: breakfast, lunch and dinner.


Interactive learning experiences designed to expand educational and career goals.


Advanced student security software that integrates geofencing, logistics, communication and more optimized safety features.


Dedicated 24/7 staff availability, supporting students every step of the way.


Tour Directors create a fun and engaging learning experience for students.

What’s My Investment

Tuition Cost

6 Days / 5 Nights

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