With spring break peeking around the corner, now’s the best time to start planning your 2021 alternative spring break.
Want to do something unique with your vacation and meet like-minded students your age? Hoping to gain hands-on clinical experience or make a lasting impact in a short space of time? An alternative spring break is perfect for you.
Here are our top five suggestions of things you can do on your alternative spring break in 2021:
- A Public Health internship in tropical Belize
- An Early Childhood Development program in Ghana
- A Building Volunteer Program in Jamaica
- Rainforest Conservation work based in the Amazon, Peru
- Sea Turtle Conservation on a black sand beach in Mexico
Read on to find out how you can swap lecture halls, timetables, and deadlines for experiential learning, roll-up-your-sleeves work, and meaningful travel!
#1 Gain clinical experience during medical outreaches - you better Belize it!
On your Public Health Alternative Spring Break Trip in Belize, expect to don medical gloves and get to work during outreaches in San Pedro. The nature of our outreaches means you’ll get clinical exposure and learn from local healthcare workers. You’ll also:
- Assist with checking blood pressure, help identify and give patients more information about medical conditions such as diabetes.
- Raise awareness around some of the most prominent healthcare issues in Belize, such as obesity.
- Join medical workshops to boost your knowledge.
- Learn about medical conditions you’ve only encountered in textbooks or during lectures.
If you want to earn credit for school or get a certificate of hours, chat with us before your departure so we can organize evaluation and feedback from our local teams.
#2 Our Early Childhood Development program in Ghana
Hoping to put some geographical distance between you and your studies during Spring Break? Travel to Africa and work with children in Ghana. Spring break volunteering means you’ll dedicate your time to making a tangible impact on the lives of these children, based in either Cape Coast or Akuapem Hills.
Here are some benefits of working with children in Ghana during your break:
- If you’re majoring in Social Work, Child Development, Education, or Psychology, this is a great way to get practical experience.
- You’ll be an extra pair of hands for childcare workers based in busy centers.
- Expect to teach children about the necessity of healthy habits like washing their hands, or caring for their teeth properly. Leave the children with your hygiene workshop resources, which can be used for future lessons.
- Help caregivers assess children. Some of them may be struggling with development milestones like writing their name, following instructions, or socializing with other children. Early observations can help children in the long run!
You’ll also have access to our Management Plans which guide the work we do in childcare centers around the world. If you have any questions about reaching certain goals in Ghana, we’re happy to assist.
#3 Building Volunteer Trips to Jamaica
In 2018, our hardworking team of volunteers did great things for local communities all over the world. Our Building volunteers built, renovated, and improved the learning environment for over 7,400 students! Their work means that more young people globally can learn and express themselves in safe and stimulating environments.
Perhaps the most tangible thing you can do on a spring break service trip in 2020 is to join our Jamaica Building Program.
Here are a few highlights from previous spring break volunteers working in Jamaica:
- Brick-by-brick you’ll help build or enhance structures like sanitation facilities or school playgrounds.
- Are you a creative? Give drab walls a blast of color by painting a mural, or turn a classroom into an engaging and stimulating environment.
- If the opportunity arises, you’ll renovate homes for those who need it.
You may even meet the people you’re helping. In many communities around the world, the green Projects Abroad t-shirt is a welcomed sight!
#4 Rainforest Conservation work in the heart of the Amazon
If there’s any time that the Amazon could use extra help from people, it’s now. Recent fires tore through parts of the forest in Bolivia. After two months of burning, rains and human intervention, the fires were contained. With the worst of the fires no longer burning, our Amazon team is still as dedicated to working hard at ensuring the survival of animals and the unique rainforest ecosystem.
Short and long-term volunteers are always needed to:
- Feed and care for animals in our rescue center
- Take part in reforestation efforts
- Work with staff to maintain the butterfly house
- Observe and assist in bird biodiversity studies
Each day held new excursions, including many activities such as animal feeding, trail clearing, bird watching, turtle rescuing, butterfly catching, fruit collecting, cage making – and the list goes on! All of the activities we participated in took place within the jungle and contributed to the bigger picture of conserving this majestic environment that few people have ever experienced.
#5 Sea Turtle Conservation on the shores of Mexico
Close your books for a moment. Place yourself on the black-sand beaches of Cuyutlan, Mexico. Standing on the shore, imagine watching the gentle waves rolling over your feet. Now imagine watching small turtles scuttle past you into the waters they call home. They have one goal - to survive. Help preserve these little ones during your spring break in Mexico and make an active effort in protecting marine life.
On your alternative spring break conservation program you’ll:
- Work at an ecological center, with specialists in the field.
- Help protect the endangered Olive Ridley Turtle from poachers and other wildlife.
- Help researchers collect scientific data during your observation work.
Every night one volunteer was scheduled to go on night patrol. This would be at either 11pm or 5am. We would sit on the back of the quad bike while one of the staff members drove along the beach 12km north and south of the camp. I was lucky enough to see a mother Olive Ridley turtle laying her eggs into a nest, where we waited and waited until she went back to sea and we collected and buried the eggs. I really didn’t mind the early patrol; it actually felt like a dream when I did it!
Where should I go for spring break 2020?
During your alternative Spring Break abroad, you can gain experience while traveling responsibly to Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Still not sure which spring break 2021 destination to choose? Here’s some insight into each:
- In Ghana, while doing childcare work, you’ll be based either in Cape Coast or the Akuapem Hills. Did you know that during colonial rule, the Cape Coast had the largest slave trade center in West Africa? Visit museums and monuments to learn more about Ghana’s history.
- Akuapem Hills is well-known for its lush and green surrounds. Explore your area during childcare work.
- On the outskirts of Ghana’s capital, you’ll do Public Health work in Dodowa. You’ll get the chance to work in schools, churches or community centers.
Latin America & the Caribbean
- All alternative spring break programs in Belize are based in the town of San Pedro. The small town has over 15,000 people. In your free time, visit a local beach or learn more about the world’s second-largest barrier reef found along the coastline of Belize.
- Costa Rica is famed for its beauty and vast biodiversity. A good spring break idea for college students in Costa Rica is to squeeze in a trip to see a volcano, walk in a rainforest, or relax on a beach. You’ll be based in Heredia.
- To experience the local hospitality, you’ll live with a Jamaican host family during your trip. On a Jamaican alternative spring break, you’ll be based in Mandeville. The college town is close to the waterfalls, beaches, and stunning hiking trails.
- We have two locations in Mexico for your spring break in 2021. Work to save turtles in Cuyutlan during your program, relax during your free time on the beach, or do Public Health work in the city of Guadalajara amidst cobblestone streets and urban living.
- Dr. Evan from Animal Planet’s ‘Evan Goes Wild’ has been to our Amazon Rainforest program in Peru, and you can too! You’ll live, work, and play at the Taricaya Ecological Reserve and when you need some bright lights, hop onto a boat, and head towards Puerto Maldonado, the closest town.