Volunteer Alternative Spring Break Trip

Alternative Spring Break: What it’s all About

When you think of spring break, you think of laying on the beach and ultimate relaxation. Maybe a little partying if you’re up for it. While that is the norm for most college students, some colleges offer alternative spring break programs and it is really something you should look in to. A spring break spent volunteering, traveling, and helping others can be beneficial to your future as well as eye opening and life changing. It can also be really fun.

riding an elephant with Rustic Pathways
Here are some universities that offer great alternative spring break programs and trips –
Eckerd College

Eckerd College is located in St. Petersburg FL on the beach. Attending school here is like a permanent spring break so it only makes sense that many students leave during actual spring break. The alternative spring break service learning trips here take students all over the world to work in orphanages, schools, nature preserves and communities in need of help.

Wartburg College

Wartburg provides service trips for students under the Break Away mission to “train, assist, and connect campuses and communities in promoting quality alternative break programs that inspire lifelong active citizenship.” They believe in the following 8 principals: Strong direct service, alcohol and drug free environment, diversity, education, orientation, training, reflection, and reorientation.

University of Virginia

Alternative Spring Break at UVA is completely student run. The service programs are meant to be “a year-round experience that emphasizes self-awareness through educational and cultural programs that take place before, during, and after the projects for the purpose of encouraging a more meaningful trip environment.”

Here are some other universities that offer great service trips and alternative spring break programs –
American University
Xavier University
Loyola Marymount University
James Madison University

Check out a full list of colleges with alternative breaks here. 

If your school doesn’t offer anything like the listed programs above, don’t worry, you can still get involved. There are a variety of different trips, jobs, and programs out there set up for college students.

Here are a just a few of the many alternative spring break programs you can enroll in outside of your university –
Rustic Pathways

Rustic Pathways offers trips for first time travelers to experienced globe trotters. Their trips are designed for both experience and service, and offer locations in the United States and abroad. There is a trip for everyone’s comfort level.

Projects Abroad

This group offers one week long volunteer trips that line up with school breaks. Students will travel and work in places like Jamaica, Argentina, and Belize. You can sign up solo or with a group of friends. All volunteers receive food and accommodations, as well as life long memories.


GoAbroad takes students on a volunteer trip to Jamaica. Student can choose to teach, work in the orphanage, or help with building maintenance. This programs allows student to “get real world experience, explore career options and build a resume while making a true difference in the lives of the people and communities.”

United Planet

This non-profit groups goal is to immerse students in local culture while doing their part to create a global community while providing a meaningful experience. United Planet hosts volunteer trips to 35 countries worldwide. They provide students with classes, in-country travel, home stays, meals, and work.

Cross-Culture Solutions

Cross-Culture Solutions alternative spring break trips are designed to make you feel awesome and give back. They offer volunteer opportunities all over the world, including India, Thailand, Tanzania, and Brazil, just to name a few.

Check with your school and see what they offer. It may be something that isn’t advertised at all and is a well-kept secret on campus. If your college doesn’t offer an alternative spring break program, you could suggest that administration look into it. An alternative spring break trip could be something that you take charge of.

about the author

Callie Pederson

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Degree in Communication and Creative Writing. Outdoor enthusiast, animal lover, blogger.

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