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An Alternative Spring Break Experience: Volunteering  

Looking for an alternative to the party scene for your spring break adventures? Check out these volunteering opportunities for college students.

Who says spring break has to involve a trip to the beach with thousands of other college students? Volunteering during spring break is becoming more and more popular, and for good reason. Students are smart, savvy, and know that they want to make the world a better place, and sometimes that means wanting to start now, before careers even begin.

If that sounds like something that might interest you, here are a variety of ways you can volunteer over spring break.

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Find what interests you

There are so many volunteer opportunities out there, it can be hard to figure out which one to choose. Before you start, you first have to figure out what you’re passionate about. Are you interested in bonding with other people? Caring for animals? Building something that would benefit an entire community?

If you love getting your hands dirty and thrive on that feeling of accomplished hard work, then maybe you’ll find a volunteer project that builds something. If you love taking your academic knowledge and helping someone else learn, then maybe you can tutor. If you want to help animals in need, then volunteering at the local animal shelter might be the right fit.

There are volunteering opportunities for any skill strength and personality type, but the first step is to figure out where you’ll find the best fit and make the greatest impact.

Figure out where you might go

spring break soup kitchenThe next step is figuring out where you (and your budget) would go to volunteer. If you’re planning to go abroad, know that you’ll be covering your own travel expenses. One great option is to find a trip operator that specializes in alternative spring break trips. Companies like Projects Abroad, Global Leadership Adventures, or International Volunteer HQ have a variety of trips planned for spring break. This provides peace of mind, a streamlined process, and straightforward opportunities to visit and interact with people in various locations around the world.

Often, meals and board are included in the price of your stay; however, it is important that you look at the cost of each trip package to determine what is included and what else you might have to budget for. Despite the logistical hurdles, the opportunities are pretty stellar when it comes to immersing yourself in a new experience and making an impact. Who knows, you might just find yourself volunteering in Guatemala, Argentina, or the Dominican Republic during your spring break.

If paying for a trip is just not in the cards, there are many local volunteer opportunities closer to home. You can make a difference over spring break even if you’re simply walking a couple of blocks from your dorm. Check to see if your college campus is offering any local alternative spring break opportunities; for example, colleges often host a Habitat for Humanity campus chapter that plans a build or local clean-up project. Volunteer Match is another resource that can help you search for volunteering opportunities near where you live. You can also contact your local animal shelter, homeless shelter, the Audubon Society, United Way, or a program like Break A Difference to learn about volunteer possibilities. Sometimes, starting at home can be the most impactful option.

Bring a friend!

One of the best aspects of any spring break adventure is the bonding that takes place with friends and strangers alike. Consider gathering a group, or bringing a friend, roommate, or sibling whom you miss along with you on your volunteering experience.

The act of planning, experiencing, and working shoulder to shoulder with someone you know will make volunteering a richer and more rewarding experience than you ever thought possible—and, of course, you’ll be bringing more helping hands to make an impact!

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