William & Mary

Join a Branch Out International Alternative Break

Thanks for your interest in a Branch Out International!. Our vision is to create a community of active and educated individuals dedicated to the pursuit of social justice. We do this by engaging students in diverse quality alternative breaks so that they become active and educated members of society.

Teams Accepting Applications

TREE is currently accepting applications on a rolling basis.

Team Member Expectations

As a member of Branch Out International, there are several program-wide policies for which your compliance is mandatory. Please read this sheet carefully and indicate your willingness to fully abide by these policies by typing your name as an electronic signature on your application. 

Your attendance and participation in weekly team meetings and team fundraisers is required, as set by your Site Leaders. Because we expect your commitment to your alternative break (in terms of time, focus and fundraising efforts) to be significant, Branch Out requires that students participate in only one Branch Out International alternative break each year. Please also ensure that the dates of your trip do not conflict with other commitments (e.g. RA training).

While your work on your alternative break is critical, your break trip is not over until you bring back what you learn and apply it at home, whether through advocacy or continued service. Branch Out offers funding to support these activities. In addition to Reorientation activities with your team, you are expected to attend the Branch Out Reorientation dinner.  

Substance-Free Policy
Branch Out Alternative Breaks is an alcohol and drug free program.  All participants and leaders in Branch Out Alternative Breaks programs are not to possess, purchase or consume alcoholic beverages and/or illegal drugs while participating in an alternative break trip. This is a policy we take seriously and enforce without hesitation. Your acceptance of this policy is required for your participation. 

Completion of Liability Waiver and Health Documents
Once selected to a team, participants have 48 hours to complete the Branch Out Participant Emergency Information form online.  

Application Process

Read these instructions carefully. Failure to abide by the outlined process will disqualify your application.

  • Applications must be submitted as a Microsoft Word document, formatted as described below, via email attachment to branchoutinternational@gmail.com, on the deadline designated by the team to which you are applying.
  • You are permitted to apply to a maximum of two teams, so be sure to choose carefully based on the issue that interests you most.
  • The subject line of your email MUST include, in this order: Name(s) of the trip(s) you're applying for (first choice, second choice), Last Name, First Name. Thanks for keeping our inbox sane!
  • Do not submit applications to individual teams.

Contact Thomas Fergus and Lizzie Shaw at branchoutinternational@gmail.com.

Application Content

Please include all information below in a Microsoft Word document, attached to an email.

General Information (bulleted format)

  • Name
  • Class Year
  • Student ID (930) number
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Phone
  • Email
  • CSU
  • Major/Minor/Pre-Med
  • Language Skills
  • Previous community service experience (including alternative breaks)
  • Other time commitments and activities, including times and days of the week (Fall and Spring Semesters)
Electronic Signature

Copy and paste this statement into your application, and sign electronically by typing your name and the date:  “I have read and agree to fully comply with the requirements of the Branch Out International program.” 

Narrative Questions (paragraph format, no more than two single-spaced pages total)
  • What do you hope to gain from a Branch Out International alternative break?
  • What talents or personal strengths would you bring to the team?
  • Describe previous experiences that have helped prepare you for an international alternative break.
  • Give an example of a challenge you have faced and how you have met it.
Supplemental Questions
Kenya Sustainable Village Project
  • Describe an instance in which you were humbled by a perspective outside of your own.
  • Describe a time when you felt out of your comfort zone, and how you adapted to the situation.
Outreach 360
  • Nelson Mandela said, "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." What does this quote mean to you, especially in the context of international service?
  • What useful and pertinent personal qualities would you bring to the William and Mary Outreach360 team?
  • Describe a fundraiser that you feel would effectively publicize Outreach360 on campus and successfully raise money for the service trip.
  • Why SPAID? What is one thing you hope to learn and take out of an experience in Ghana?

  • What is your philosophy of international service and/or development? In this capacity, what motivates you to travel to a rural village in Ghana?

  • One of SPAID’s principles is maintaining a genuine partnership with a rural village in Ghana. How can you develop good relationships with villagers from such different backgrounds and experiences?

  • What are your critiques surrounding student-based service trips?

  • Sometimes, well-intentioned action may cause more harm than good. How can we do better than good intentions?

W&M Haiti Compact
  • What is one thing you hope to learn and take out of an experience in Haiti?
  • What is your philosophy of international service? What are your motivations to travel to Haiti in this capacity?
  • Travel to Haiti involves risk, and while no one can guarantee safety anywhere, Haiti is on the State Department Warning List.  We have taken all recommended precautions for safety, but you need to be willing to accept the inherent risks involved in travel. Please explain how you have considered the risk of traveling to Haiti, and conversations you have had with your family about the alternative break.