For most American students spring break is a week of studies and responsibilities and for some is a week of travel and parties. But for other students spring break is a week to better themselves and help others. For instance, some students use the time to shadow a professional and prepare for a future career. Others spend their time volunteering or what is often called “voluntouring.” Spring break voluntouring is a “hybrid holiday that combines volunteer work and travel in a short vacation.”
Alternative spring breaks have become increasingly popular with college students and even high school students. Instead of relaxing in the sun or sleeping in all day, students are signing up for weeklong programs and opportunities. There are many voluntourism opportunities for students to consider. In the past, young adults have aided organizations that feed the hungry. Helped build homes for those affected by Hurricane Katrina, and traveled aboard to assist after the earthquake in Haiti.
Volunteering while vacationing benefits everyone involved. The students will be able to aid the community or help the environment while challenging themselves. Also, making new friends, and learning new skills. Their work will also look good on their résumés. While there are some costs involved, especially with international travel, there are some organizations and websites dedicated to helping students accomplish their volunteering goals.
If you’re thinking about spending some time this spring voluntouring there are many options to choose from.
3 Voluntourism Tips
Listed below are three Mindful commUNITY examples of spring break voluntouring.
- Help the environment. If you’re looking to spend your break out in nature consider taking an environmental alternative spring trip. For instance, students can fulfill hands-on conservation service in national preserves through an Alternative Spring Break program offered by the Student Conservation Association and American Eagle Outfitters.
- Aid disaster areas. If you’re looking to help those that have been affected by a natural disaster consider organizations like United Way. They’ve recently teamed up with MTV and hosted “Spring Fix,” an alternative spring break that will help those struggling from Hurricane Sandy.
- International opportunities. If you’re considering traveling abroad and helping others there are many organizations that you can consider. For instance, Projects Abroad lists alternative spring break opportunities in countries like Costa Rica, Jamaica, Mexico, and Morocco.