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Dana Givens
March 16, 2017

There are plenty of people — young and old — who will use spring break as an excuse to party in the likes of Cancun and Ibiza, but even the greatest parties can lose their appeal after a while.

Your spring break can be an excellent opportunity to dive into a new culture and learn about the world outside your backyard, whether it is through volunteering, a solo trip filled with historical tours, or taking in a foreign language in a new city. This is your chance to turn your vacation into a meaningful cultural experience that will be one to remember.

If you are interested in a different kind of spring break this year, here are a few suggestions for a fantastic alternative experience.

Childcare Volunteer Projects

Volunteerism is a popular way to spend your alternative spring break and a great way to immerse yourself in the local community. For those studying childcare and education, working in classrooms or orphanages can serve as an excellent introduction to the field and can form lasting international connections.

ProjectsAbroad is one of the largest volunteers abroad programs in the world with alternative spring break options in Jamaica, Ghana, Fiji, and more. You would be assisting in small kindergarten classes and nurturing young children while staying with a host family. During your breaks, you can experience the culture and explore your destination.

Language Learning Programs

In today’s globalized economy, it is more important than ever to learn a second language in order to compete and connect with others across the world. A language immersion spring break is a useful way to indulge in cultural studies while picking up a new vocabulary.

Traditional language learning can be a challenge, and if your goal is to become a fluent speaker, it is extremely helpful to spend time in a country where that is the primary language. Xperitas offers language immersion programs for French, Spanish, and English. Live with a local family as you take courses to get around-the-clock exposure to the language in your chosen country, from Switzerland to Costa Rica.

Off the Beaten Path Nature Treks

If you're the independent type who wants to steer away from the traditional structure of a program, try an off the beaten path destination that offers scenic hikes and natural wonders to explore, outside the typical tourist landmarks in the city center. Juneau, Alaska and Bend, Oregon are ideal for ski enthusiasts, and offer up pure tranquility thanks to their secluded natural beauty. 

Asheville, North Carolina is a small town just a short drive from the Great Smoky Mountains, where nature hikes are the go-to activity. For international trekkers, New Zealand holds many popular hiking opportunities within its diverse landscapes along with Nepal and Australia.

Habitat for Humanity Building Projects

Help construct new homes for impoverished families and survivors of major disasters with non-profit organization Habitat for Humanity. The organization allows participants to give back in a rewarding act of community service either domestically or abroad, while bonding with others from around the world.

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