With Spring Break on the horizon, you might be dreaming of a week filled with sun, sea, sand and the inevitable hangover, but have you ever considered going on an alternative spring break?
What is an alternative spring break?
An alternative spring break is a vacation that gives back. It isn’t about hanging on the beach and cutting loose at the clubs, instead, you spend your time doing something with a purpose. That can be either volunteering with a charity or taking part in a humanitarian or environmental project. Responsible tourism is the name of the game, forget the booze cruises of Cancun, here you will travel, meet new people and have a productive experience that will last longer than any party.
In this article, we give you the six main reasons you should reconsider and choose a vacation that will leave you with lifelong memories, for all the right reasons, help you build on your resume and also give back to communities around the world.
Have An Adventure With A Purpose
Forget partying the week away, if you’re on the hunt for an adventure then there are plenty of things you can do this spring break. From environmental conservation in Honduras, construction projects in Nepal, women’s empowerment in Tanzania or community development projects in Costa Rica. The possibilities are endless, and the world really is out there waiting for you.
You can have an adventure in another country, all whilst giving back and learning about the local language, culture and customs. Many volunteer programs allow for days off to explore and offer immersion opportunities with local families. If you have a passion, then there’s a volunteer program out there to help you share it with others.
The only downsides are that many programs come with a price tag, so it’s important to find one that will suit your interests. A good tip would be to contact the international office at your college and see if they have any recommended programs or if your school has any associated global schemes that you could apply for.
Gain transferrable skills
Ever wanted to learn a language, develop skills in project management or get experience in childcare or environmental conservation? By going on an alternative spring break, you can do just that! Learn skills that you can put towards your degree, or even that could count as extra credit!
The skills you will learn on your alternative spring break will set you up for the next stage in your career. You will be able to problem-solve, think on your feet and plan accordingly. If there is something that you are passionate about, then this is the ideal time to learn more and give yourself the opportunity to gain experience in this field.
Make an impact
You don’t have to travel far to make an impact, you can also give back, whilst staying at home. In 2006 MTV collaborated with United Way’s Storm Corps, which sent students to help those affected in the US by hurricanes. This was a popular scheme that gave back to communities and is one that continues to this day.
United Way offers alternative spring break weeks in the US, volunteers work with local organizations to help address issues in urban cities, like improving childcare centers and helping to build affordable housing. To get involved, all you need to do is sign up with your local United Way chapter. They will be able to put you in touch with any service projects in inner cities throughout the US. There are opportunities that last longer than spring break, so if you want to turn this into a long-term opportunity or something to help build up your skillset there are plenty of options. Your college should offer information on volunteering opportunities, check out the campus volunteer center or program to find out more.
Learn a language
If you are keen to learn a language or have been taking language lessons in your own time, then this is the perfect excuse to practice the lingo.
If you want to learn Spanish, there are plenty of language learning immersion courses in Central or South America. Costs will all depend on the region and the nature of the course, but you will often find you have accommodation in a homestay, so you can put your new-found skills to the test.
If you want to learn a language, whilst having a more traditional spring break then why not look at a Spanish language school in Cabo? A popular destination for spring break, this will ensure you get the best of both worlds and can still enjoy a party, whilst also learning a practical skill.
Add to your resume
There’s nothing wrong with kicking back on the beach all week, however, the learning you’ll gain on an alternative spring break will enable you to develop professional skills you can add to your resume. Not only will you be able to have lots of fun, but you will learn vital skills such as problem-solving or team building. You might even get to immerse yourself in a language or choose a volunteering opportunity that can be tailored to suit your major!
By having a cross-cultural or volunteer experience on your resume you’ll be able to stand out and set yourself apart from the crowds. You will also demonstrate adaptability and passion for your subject, as instead of partying your spring break away, you decided to do something with more meaning.
Make lifelong friendships
When you decide to go on an alternative spring break, you will meet a ton of people who are like-minded and share the same interests as you! Expect to make lifelong friends, from all over the US and further afield. Many volunteer schemes are attended by people from all around the world, giving you the ideal opportunity to meet and engage in a variety of cultures. Who knows, this may inspire you to visit them in their home country one day, and at least you’ll have a sofa to crash on!
Need a hand transporting your things to and from college? My Baggage offer serves across the US, from NYU to MIT. In fact, no matter where in the world you’re studying, they can offer door-to-door delivery of your luggage at a low cost. Interested? Find out more here.