International spring break: choose the alternative
"If you're looking for a spring break that involves service, new friendships, hard work, cultural immersion, and an overall amazing experience unparalleled by any other program, an Alternative Service Experience is right for you."
- junior Zach Yllanes
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
"Programs like this help bring awareness of how you as one person can cause an impact. It may be very small, but can affect change."
- Mandy Driver '12
"This was a great experience for me. Probably one of the best experiences I've had in my life. It was really liberating and rewarding to help a non-profit organization. I was also inspired to find something that really moves me enough to be passionate about it for the majority of my life. Oh and I got to drive a bulldozer. Where else would I be able to do that?"
- an ASE survey respondent
More than 12,596 hours of community service completed (all ASE programs)
332 Appalachian students, staff and faculty participants
30 hours of service per participant for Spring Break programs
94% of participants surveyed agreed that they were more interested in being a part of service opportunities in the future because of their ASE experience