mRelief Logo

Need financial assistance?

First, see if you qualify by using our online questionnaire:
Rent, SNAP or Utility AssistanceThen Call



(877) 426-6515

Suburban Cook

(847) 782-4000

Lake County

Catholic Charities Administrative Offices - (312) 655-7000.

Catholic Charities Social Services - email, or call (312) 655-7700 in Chicago or (847) 782-4000 in Lake County and someone will assist you. Call volume is extremely high so email is recommended if you are unable to find what you need on the web site.

Counseling Support Line - (312) 948-6951, 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM

To donate to our work by phone, call (312) 948-6087. Every gift helps someone in need.

 About ITSP
The Ibero Transnational Service Project (ITSP) is a collaboration developed by Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago, Loyola University Chicago and Universidad Iberoamericana Mexico to provide service and practicum opportunities to Iberoamericana students from Mexico. In Chicago, students are assigned to Catholic Charities programs serving the Latino community. Placements are designed to fulfill the social service requirement for a bachelor’s degree in Mexico, as well as provide professional experience related to the student’s field of study. In a reciprocal project, Loyola University Chicago sends students to Mexico in coordination with Universidad Iberoamericana and Jesuit Migrant Services. Through their service, students from each university gain greater knowledge of the reality of Mexican migration.

Ibero Service Project Fact Sheet
 Ibero Exp
Collapse All Expand All
Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago: Catholic Charities fulfills the Church’s role in the mission of charity to anyone in need by providing compassionate, competent and professional services that strengthen and support individuals, families, and communities, based on the value and dignity of human life.
In order to remain faithful to our mission, Catholic Charities is guided by these core values: Respect, Compassion, Competence and Stewardship.

Loyola University Chicago (School of Social Work): Loyola is Chicago’s Jesuit, Catholic University – a diverse community seeking God in all things and working to expand knowledge in the service of humanity through learning, justice and faith.

Universidad Iberoamericana Mexico: IBERO is an institution entrusted to the Society of Jesus, whose mission is to contribute to the achievement of a more free, supportive, just, inclusive, productive and peaceful society, through the development and dissemination of knowledge and the education of professionals and researchers with a high human and intellectual qualities, who are internationally competent, committed to great service to others, and inspired by authentic human, social and transcendental values.

Jesuit Migrant Services: From the service of faith and promotion of justice, Jesuit Migrant Services builds an inclusive, hospitable and fraternal world where the Human Rights of migrants, their families, and their communities are promoted, defended, and exercised and where they enjoy an improved quality of life.

  1. The Department of Social Service at Universidad Iberoamericana:
    Mtro. Javier Jiménez Esquivel
    Responsable del Área de Derechos Humanos y Migración
    Modalidad de Estancia Externa
    Vinculación Social para Universitarios Extranjeros
    Programa de Servicio Social Universitario
    Tel.+52 (55) 5950-4000 Ext. 4727

    Dra. Graciela Polanco Hernández.
    Departamento de Psicología
    Universidad Iberoamericana, Ciudad de México.
    (+52 55) 59-50-40-00 ext.7030

  2. Catholic Charities or Loyola University
    Cary Rositas-Sheftel, Ph.D.
    Latino and University Initiatives Manager
    Office of Latino Affairs
    (312) 655-7596

    Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago
    721 North LaSalle Street
    Chicago, Illinois 60654
 Interested Students
Students must be interested in community service and Latino migration. They must have English proficiency, good time management skills, and the ability to work well under pressure and as part of a team. Previous experience working with vulnerable and under-resourced populations is strongly recommended. Students must be ready to enroll in the Social Service Program at Universidad Iberoamericana.
 Application Timeline
Collapse All Expand All
Application Timeline
  1. Student Selection by Social Service Program at Iberoamericana University/Catholic Charities
    1. Mid-March (For Summer)
    2. Mid-May (For Fall)
    3. Mid-October (For Spring)
  2. Submission of Documents for J-1 Visa and Chicago Social Service Program
    1. April (For Summer)
    2. June (For Fall)
    3. November (For Spring)
Application Process
    1. PDF of Requirements for ITSP Students
      1. Applying for an Exchange Visitor J-1 Visa
      2. Catholic Charities Pre-Arrival Required Forms
      3. Paying the Program Fee of $150 
    2. Housing
      1. Students are responsible for their own housing.
      2. Past participants have recommended living at Baumhart Hall, which is located at the heart of the Loyola University Water Tower Campus
        • Each bedroom has two twin beds each, furnished with bed linens and towels. Pots, pans and dishes are included. Cost ranges between $2,400 and $2,600 monthly for an apartment of 2 bedrooms with 2 beds each and 1 bath.
        • For more details, visit
        • Housing at Baumhart Hall must be reserved no later than 45 days before the expected date of arrival. 
    3. Transportation
      1. Each student is responsible for his or her own transportation costs. Service Site Placements include downtown Chicago (also known as the Loop) and its surroundings areas. 
      2. Students mostly use public transportation (bus and subway). It is recommendable to buy a CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) Pass. Monthly passes cost $100.
      3. For more information:
      4. Occasionally, Catholic Charities may have students drive an agency vehicle to travel to and from their assigned placement site. 

  1. Orientation Week
    • Their first week with Catholic Charities, the students have Orientation Week, where they learn more about the agency and the different projects they’ll be working on. Students meet with their supervisors and managers of each program to learn more about each other, the community served, and their project expectations.
  2. Site Placements
    • The skills and interests of the students are taken into consideration when placed at their different service sites. The Catholic Charities Ibero Service Project Manager develops  a schedule and coordinates the students’ placements, concentrating their volunteer efforts in their designated field of study. The schedule is for one semester, Monday through Thursday/Friday and on weekends as needed. The students travel daily to Catholic Charities service sites that serve primarily Latino families: Back of the Yards, Summit, Cicero, and Berwyn. Once a month they attend a Migration Studies Seminar at Loyola University School of Social Work (SSW). Throughout the semester, regular assessments are made to  ensure the students and the community is being adequately supported.
  3. Support & Supervision
    • Students are provided on-site supervision by Catholic Charities with weekly follow-ups and frequent communication with the Project Manager. During their monthly seminar at Loyola, they meet with a trained Jesuit priest and reflect on their experiences. They also have homework assignments and communication with Iberoamericana & Loyola SSW Coordinators. Upon completion of the program, students are evaluated by their supervisors on their performance, ability to achieve their project objectives, and sense of personal and  professional growth. Students write a personal reflection on their overall experience and achieved goals and results.
 Student Testimonials
Past Student Experiences:

Video Testimonial:
  1. Marketing
  2. Nutrition
  3. Psychology
Written Testimonials:

I believed that I knew all about migration and poverty, but it wasn’t until I volunteered at Catholic Charities that I faced real migrants, hunger, and isolation. I became conscious of the importance of culturally-sensitive services.
Estefania Arreguin, Communications, Spring 2008

I think when I get back to Mexico I will be a totally different person. These are the experiences that not only help you professionally but also personally. And I don’t mean it like “Ok, I’ve done something good for someone, now I feel better,” but that you actually grow as a person, you start to care about others, to respect others, help as much as you can, don’t judge or discriminate for any reason. Never talk bad about anyone without getting to know him or her first, because you might get surprised…. it helped me be more mature… I learned how to live alone, far from mom and dad who gave me everything, washed my clothes, etc. I learned a lot about myself, how to be more patient and tolerant when living with other people that I barely knew… All these things together helped me realize who I am and who I want to be. Not only as person but as a professional too… Made me realize that there are a lot of problems and needy people in this world that I have the chance to help, not only here in Chicago, but in Mexico too.
Maitane Celorio, Nutrition, Fall 2011

Definitely these opportunities make you a better human being. First of all, because I consider myself lucky to stand where I am; second, I can say I took advantage of the program to learn about the possibilities I’ve got in life to help others. I think no money would be enough to make me feel as good as a smile from a client makes me feel. Their smiles are real and hide nothing but happiness.
Gonzalo Terán, International Relations, Spring 2013

My experience in Chicago with the Ibero program has been amazing on both a personal and professional level. It did not only meet my expectations but exceeded them in ways I am sure I have yet to discover… I came here as an immigrant in order to work with immigrants who were in a completely different situation to mine. This, in general, was very challenging. I got to compare my situation with theirs, to realize that I could say “I miss this but I am going home” while they couldn’t. This sort of “parallel experience” with the women made me feel much more empathy and compromise towards the work I did here. It made me understand that sometimes you have to leave things behind in order to adapt and to build a new and happy life. I understood the reason for “Spanglish” and for a new culture that isn’t Mexican or American but something in between. I realized the reason and need for a community where you feel that you belong. This, and so much more, has made me discover the thousands of dimensions and impacts of migration and, slowly, start to decipher where I stand with it.
Valeria De La Rosa, Psychology, Spring 2015

The students in the ITSP help the individuals and families we serve feel more connected to their homeland. Children, especially in our afterschool programs, have positive role models in the university students [serving] as tutors, and parents are grateful for the Mexican culture that the Ibero students share. The program is truly transformative for our Ibero students as well. They become sensitized to a different reality and leave wanting to do more in their home country.
Dalia Rocotello, Director of Latino Affairs at Catholic Charities