International spring break: choose the alternative

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    Antigua, Guatemala (Photo credit Erin Weidman)

Appalachian State University's Alternative Service Experience (ASE) Program immerses students in a service experience in local domestic and international communities during school breaks. Created and led by trained student peer leaders, ASE involves direct service to a community, purposeful reflection and relationship building with others.

For Spring Break 2013, seven international programs still have openings. Costs range from $1,400-$2,150, which includes airfare, housing, food and in-country transportation. Scheduled for March 9-16, these drug- and alcohol-free adventures provide students with an "alternative," giving them an opportunity to volunteer, as well as learn more about the world and themselves.

All international ASE programs are 1-credit hour international service-learning courses and require four pre-travel and one post-travel class, as well as in-country reflections and assignments.

According to a student survey, ASE experiences lead to enhanced:

  • personal motivation for service
  • ability to self-reflect and cooperate with others
  • self-confidence with international travel

The 2013 international Spring ASE programs are:

  • Punta Gorda, Belize - Work alongside an environmental group on an organic cocoa farm to monitor and promote biodiversity, and live in a community next to the Caribbean Sea. Trip cost - $2,150
  • Mastatal, Costa Rica - Learn about the importance of sustainable development and lifestyle and different aspects of Costa Rican culture. Trip cost - $1,400
  • La Represa, Dominican Republic - Learn about international health care practices at Hospital Infantil Robert Reid Cabral, visit the colonial city of Santo Domingo and enjoy beautiful Caribbean beaches. Trip cost - $1,765
  • Quito, Ecuador - Experience the Pinchincha Mountains and witness the beauty of Ecuadorian culture through a partnership with Summit Adventure. Participants will learn about the effects of poverty and international migration, and teach at a bilingual school. Trip cost - $2,150
  • El Quimal, Guatemala - Live in the Mayan village of El Quimal, and work with Service for Peace to promote social justice in this underrepresented community. Trip cost - $1,765
  • Granada, Nicaragua - Work with children at La Esperanza Granada to promote learning as well as work on a project to provide a reliable water source to the community. Trip cost - $1,400
  • Huánuco, Peru - Work with Hovde Foundation to support vulnerable children, explore the art, history and historical cities of Peru, and enjoy the local cultural traditions of Huanaco. Trip cost - $2,150

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