spring break
Spring Break doesn't have to be all sun bathing and shots... Source: Shutterstock.com

Spring Break holiday is approaching at the end of March – but if chugging beer by a lake isn’t your thing there are plenty of other ways to enjoy your Spring Break experience.

Traditionally, Spring Break is a week-long vacation filled with drinking and debauchery. For many international students, the promise of welcoming in summer without the watchful eye of parents is part of the appeal of studying in the US.

But, if you’re more about the books than the beer, there are still plenty of Spring Break trips that won’t make you want to eyeroll your way into the summer, reports The Tiger’s Roar.

The Department of Education is running three international Spring Break trips that help local communities through different projects.

An alternative Spring Break trip can be a meaningful experience. Source: Shutterstock.com

Students can choose between a choir trip to Germany which combines volunteering and sightseeing, a school mentor program in Trinidad, or hurricane clean-up projects in the US Virgin Islands after the destruction of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

These alternative Spring Break programs combine working hard and playing hard with seeing another part of the world during your overseas studies.

If you would rather see more of the US during your Spring Break, the Office of Student Life is taking students to Orlando to volunteer at the Second Harvest Food Bank for the holiday.

Megan Boyer, a molecular and cell biology and psychology student at the University of Connecticut (UConn) is taking her third alternative Spring Break this year. Over the past years, she has traveled to Atlanta and Philadelphia as a trip leader. This year she will work on environmental conservation in Utah.

“The trips are very productive, as you get to immerse yourself in a community for an entire week and find out what the real needs are,” she told UConn Today.

“It’s very meaningful to do this as a college student. People think college students don’t care in general, but this is a chance to show that they do.”

Although Spring Break is usually a chance to kick back and forget about college stress, these alternative programs encourage students to take on new challenges and grow from the experiences.

“My first trip was to Birmingham, [Alabama] and the first day on the bus I was thinking ‘What am I doing here?’” said Ajeet Sandhu, a civil engineering major at UConn.

“But I love [this type of experience] now, and have learned so many things. I’ve met the nicest people, and have made great friends.”

Alternative breaks are now offered across the country, with most universities organizing volunteering programs either in the US or further afield.

“The alternative break trips I helped coordinate certainly got me out of my comfort zone and broadened my understanding of true societal needs,” said Keith Carver, chancellor of the University of Tennessee at Martin.

The University of Tennessee will send 97 students to seven cities this year on alternative Spring Break trips to help in the communities.

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