Alternative Spring Break: Volunteer Travel
The American ritual known as spring break has evolved from a sprawling beach party into a chance for students to do some good. The opportunities to contribute are numerous and wide-ranging. You can volunteer in a low-income school, help out on an archaeological dig, or work for a crucial environmental cause. This guide to alternative spring break presents organizations focused on volunteer travel, along with recently published articles on the topic, so you’ll be equipped to find a cause and project that suit your own unique interests and talents.
If you remember your last spring break as a blur of crowded beaches, overpriced meals, and bad ... read more »
The length of your break, the location of your trip, your budget, and work preferences are a ... read more »
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There are special considerations to make regarding your health and safety when volunteering abroad. The sites below should quell any pre-trip worries.
- If you plan on volunteering in a country you’ve never been to before, look for an organization with in-country staff; they’ll be better aware of cultural and safety issues.
- If you’re still determined to spend spring break amid scantily clad coeds on the beach, at least go prepared. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a “Spring Break Guide to Staying Safe and Healthy” for women, with advice that is largely applicable to men as well. Read statistics on binge drinking, advice for staying healthy and active during your break, and how to protect yourself from disease.
For international health and safety …
The U.S. Department of State
“International Travel” section offers safety information for students venturing abroad. Look for tips for women traveling alone, what to do in an emergency, as well as new requirements for travelers, among other pertinent topics to consider before international spring break.
discusses issues of relevance for female volunteers abroad. Explore the complexities of race and sexual stereotypes, in addition to methods of dealing with common crime.
The Center for Global Education
offers a “Pre-Departure Health Training Handbook” for students traveling abroad. The guide is adapted from a Peace Corps document, which makes it especially applicable to volunteer travel. Find information on specific viruses, infections, and diseases, as well as advice for crisis management and general personal safety.
For general health information …
provides authoritative information on numerous health topics, as well as health news. Turn to this especially helpful site if you want to research a specific disease or condition; thorough topical health guides are provided.
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