Past Alternative Break Service Trips
Below are descriptions of trips that we have offered in prior years! Some are retired, and some may return in future years.
Trip Title: “Working with Children and the Environment: A Dual Approach in Helping the Costa Rican Community”
Trip Dates: March 11, 2017-March 18, 2017
Journey to the expanses of deep rainforest and jungle, towering volcanoes, and stretches of beaches that embody la costa rica. Renown for its incredible biodiversity, Costa Rica’s jungles hold a remarkable 500,000 species including a wide variety of birds, monkeys, frogs, sloths, big cats, and reptile species including the world’s fastest running lizard, the spiny-tailed iguana. Travel to this part of the Central American isthmus and experience its natural beauty and diverse wildlife.
ASB Costa Rica participants will stay in the town of Pejibaye, meet the local community and explore the food and culture. Volunteering will be split between two locales, a local elementary school and the Biological Reserve. In the local elementary school, volunteering will consist of helping with painting, tree-planting, and working with the children. In the reserve, it will consist of trail reconstruction and habitat restoration. These volunteer services will allow us to contribute to Costa Rica’s commitment to environmental preservation as well as give back to the local community that graciously houses us.
ASB Participants will also explore the cultural remains from the oldest known settlements in the Turrialba Valley, once home to the original hunter-gathers of Costa Rica. Then, we will enter Calle Chirraca, our canyoning destination, where we will rappel down waterfalls, zip line across canopies, and walk across a hanging bridge as we explore the deepest reaches of the valley. Next, we travel to a stop on the edge of the Pacuare River, mentioned by National Geographic as one of the top five rafting destinations in the world. Experience white water rafting on the rapids and then fall asleep surrounded by rainforests, with the sights and sounds of wildlife echoing in the canyons around us. Finish the trip with a scenic hike through the rainforest and a tour of an indigenous family farm.
Live la pura vida, the pure life, and volunteer with us as we fight to preserve the culture and natural environment of Costa Rica.
Approximate Cost: $1,615 USD* per participant
Trip Dates: December 16th 2016-January 4th, 2017
Ever wanted to travel to a country with delicious food, beautiful attractions, and friendly locals, all while volunteering in the local community? If so, AWB India may be for you!
Through AWB India, USC students have an opportunity to work within Banjara Basti, an Indian community in Sikar, Rajasthan. According to a 2011 census, about one in six Indian city residents live in an area of high poverty or in a dwelling with unsanitary conditions, which is roughly 64 million people. For people living in poverty, access to educational opportunities is limited. Students will try to learn and to understand the barriers to economic and educational development in India and to implement realistic solutions in one small community.
During the week, AWB India participants will be working in partnership with the NGO Adventures and Volunteering in India. AWB participants will collaboratively design a curriculum to teach the community of Banjara Basti. Students will primarily instruct within the established primary schools in hopes to empower the children to play an active role in developing their own community through their education and to inspire a passion for learning.
By leveraging the strengths of each participant, we will create a culturally relevant, sustainable curriculum that can be used by future volunteers at AVI to continue Banjara Basti’s economic development. Following AVI’s mission, we strive to help the community help itself so they can continue to grow and empower themselves long after our group’s two-week stay. Past projects include teaching children basic English and math, creating an inspirational mural for the classroom, installing water filters in the school and the local community, raising awareness about basic hygiene practices, and collecting clothing and educational donations to give to local children.
On weekends, participants will spend time traveling to Pushkar by camel, shopping in Jaipur and Sikar, and visiting the Taj Mahal (you cannot go to India without seeing it!). In addition to working with children and weekend travel, participants will be immersed directly in Indian culture. AWB India participants will have the opportunity to participate in Hindi classes, traditional Indian cooking and dressing workshops, henna painting, and yoga & meditation classes. Participants will also live with a local family on their village farm in order to learn more about the economic and cultural practices of the region.
Read about AWB India in a participant’s blog!
Estimated Cost: $2,800 USD* per participant
Trip Title: Disaster Relief Efforts in Louisiana
Trip Dates: March 11, 2017-March 18, 2017
The worst disaster after the Hurricane Sandy, the Louisiana flooding in mid-August has displaced more than 70,000 residents. There have been at least 13 reported deaths from this catastrophe. Furthermore, tens of thousands of homes are damaged.
In the midst of the presidential campaign and the 2016 Olympics, this disaster received little to no media coverage. However, volunteers from around the nation have answered the call to serve. Now it’s your opportunity to become a servant-leader in Louisiana.
Through ASB Louisiana, students will have the opportunity to aid in the construction of homes for flood victims and provide relief to the most neglected. Additionally, students will support the homeless population by assisting with day-to-day activities and serving in other capacities as needed. By enhancing the lives of others, participants will learn about the rich culture of Louisiana and explore the concepts of cultural humility and gratitude. Some of the experiences include visiting the National World War II Museum, Mardi Gras World and riding the Canal Street Ferry. This cultural exchange and exploration is available to all USC students. ASB Louisiana was formerly known as ASB New Orleans; however, the name was changed because students may be visiting multiple cities in Louisiana to render aid and learn about its history and culture.
Estimated Cost: $850
Trip Dates: Winter 2015 and Winter 2016
One of the most sought after tourism destinations in French Polynesia, Tahiti has much to offer its many visitors. Behind these paradisiacal scenes, however, is a vibrant people, who despite Westernization, have managed to maintain their rich culture and sense of hospitality. Join us as we explore this island’s lush landscape, collaborate with the nonprofits that work to preserve Tahiti, and learn about the history and way of life of the Tahitian people.
We will begin in the capital of French Polynesia, touring the city of Papeete, known for its municipal market and waterfront vendors. We will then travel to Papeno’o Valley, described as one of the most beautiful locations in the world by its visitors, lush and laden with waterfalls, yet significant for its archaeological sites and sacred cultural grounds. From Papeno’o we will hike across the island and end in the village of Teahupoo, famous for its surf break and often called the most dangerous wave in the world. We will be staying with local families and absorbing their culture through hands-on activities in agriculture, crafts, and of course food. Underwater caves and black sand beaches are possible destinations during leisure time. This type of work will carry over to our stay in Moorea, the small island off the eastern coast of Tahiti only a ferry away.
Though Tahiti is often taken at face value as an indisputable island paradise, there is much more to gain when visiting as a dedicated volunteer and student. Be prepared to learn firsthand about efforts towards cultural preservation, environmental conservation, and the effects of westernization and tourism on all levels of society. Leave with a greater understanding of a kind people, a rich culture, and memories that will last a lifetime.
Estimated Cost: $3,625 USD* per participant
Trip Title: “Making a Difference in the Lives of Homeless and Rescued Animals”
Trip Dates: March 11, 2017 – March 18, 2017
Around the World, countless animals wander the streets homeless looking for food and shelter. Some establishments, like community animal shelters, provide temporary housing and attempt to find these animals permanent homes. But due to their large numbers paired with shelters’ lack of space and low funds, many animals face euthanasia. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), approximately 2.7 million animals are euthanized each year in the US. That is approximately 7,397 adoptable cats and dogs that are euthanized every day- and that is just in the US! Organizations like the Best Friends Animal Society and other non-kill organizations provide safe homes for rescued and abandoned animals until they are adopted.
Alternative Spring Break (ASB) Utah is a service-based trip that aims to address issues concerning animal rights. In partnership with the Best Friends Animal Society-Utah, the largest animal society in the nation which houses around 1,600 homeless animals, ASB Utah will have a chance to help the animals both directly and indirectly. Participants will do service projects like trail work, light landscaping, painting and cleaning dog and cat buildings as well as have a chance to work hands-on with the animals at the sanctuary. From walking dogs to brushing cats to giving pigs belly rubs, there are a variety of things to do for all animal lovers who want to make an impact! Best Friends’ Animal Sanctuary located in Kanab, Utah has 8 separate animal areas: Cat World, Bunny House, Parrot Garden, Dogtown, Piggy Paradise, Horse Haven, Rescued Village Rabbits, and Wild Friends designated to suit the needs of each and every animal. Each and every one of the animals at the sanctuary has his or her own unique personality and are waiting to find the perfect family to call their own. Apply to meet them all and to help make an impact on their lives!
You will also have the chance to explore Kanab, Utah which is known for its beautiful scenery and outdoor adventures. Viewing the milky way at Bryce Canyon National Park and exploring the beauty of Zion Natural Park are just a few trips ASB Utah has in store! The trips costs include housing, meals, transportation, and cultural excursions.
Approximate Cost: $695 USD* per participant