When the words “spring break” are spoken, raucous parties with tequila and bikini-clad women usually come to mind. While a large number of students actually do spend their break this way, an increasingly large number of students are choosing alternative spring breaks in which they spend their week off as volunteers in communities in need.
How to Find an Alternative Spring Break
Alternative spring breaks give you the chance to make a difference in the world you live in and you can choose to work on the issues that are most important to you, as there are a wide variety of programs addressing the issues facing our world. Such trips also give you a chance to sharpen up your resume by gaining new skills and experiences.
The first place to start investigating available trips, costs and discounts is to ask for information at your college or university. Your study abroad office or student affairs office may already offer a program that will interest you.
If your school does not offer an alternative spring break program, or if their programs don’t inspire you, reach out to non-profits that do work that interests you. Many non-profits organize alternative spring breaks and they might provide unique options for trips not available through your own school.
There are also many privately operated tour companies that run alternative spring break trips for students. The organizations providing these opportunities usually charge higher fees, but they take care of most of the planning work so that there is little or no effort required on your part. They also help you with learning how to fund raise for your trip, if necessary.
This list of alternative spring break ideas from About.com goes into even more detail about the places where you can volunteer and will help you start to narrow down your options.
Keep in mind that the fees you’ll have to pay for an alternative spring break trip can vary from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. The cost will depend a lot on where go, who runs your trip, how long you stay and what you plan to do when you’re there. Check out a variety of alternative spring break programs to compare pricing and options to get the best bang for your buck.
Choosing a destination
The places you can go to lend a helpful hand for a worthy cause vary and depend on whether you want your trip to be within the country or international. Your options are usually determined by the organization offering the program.
If you choose a domestic trip, it can be a great opportunity to visit parts of your own country that you’ve never been to before. Almost every community is in need of some help, and that need can surge at a moment’s notice. For example, about 35000 students from around the United States ended up going to New Orleans, Louisiana to lend a helping hand during Hurricane Katrina’s devastating aftermath.
Worldwide travels enable you to help others while visiting far-off continents like Africa, Asia, and South America! While there, you can make an impact helping with serious issues affecting a community, such as the AIDS pandemic, hunger, child abuse and even homelessness.
No need to wait
Alternative spring breaks have become so popular that it is easy to find programs and organizations that will help you spend your spring break doing good. In fact, the hardest part may be choosing between all the wonderful options you’ll find and deciding where to go! Remember: you don’t have to wait to graduate to have a life-changing experience and start making a difference in the world.