Close menu Resources for... William & Mary
W&M menu close William & Mary

What to Expect on Your Alternative Break

Our teams of twelve students work with a community partner organization to address a particular social justice issue.

Led by two Site Leaders, you will engage in four weeks of pre-trip education and orientation about your break's focus issue and community, and training to help prepare you for productive action. This is a great time to build connections with other people on your team as well.

During your break, you'll work with your partner on specific projects and goals, very often through direct service. You and your team will meet daily for critical reflection conversations, and you will be encouraged to reflect on your own in the journal we provide for you. You may also explore your host community to have fun and learn more about the greater context, and participate in ongoing teambuilding activities.

Following your break, you and your team will lead a reorientation effort, bringing what you've learned and your passion for the social issue and community-based action back to Williamsburg. You'll begin this planning process on your break, and crystallize your plans during a Welcome Back dinner shortly following your trip.

FAQs for alternative breaks
How many people will be on my team?

We place up to 12 people, including Site Leaders, on each team.

What commitment is required?

You'll attend four weeks of pre-break meetings, the entire break, and a Welcome Back dinner and post-break reorientation activities. Pre-break meetings are usually about an hour, and the post-break activities are set by your team. During your break, we ask that you stay with your team the entire time, not leaving during the break to explore on your own or visit friends and family.

How much do alternative breaks cost?

All our breaks are completely free, thanks to the generosity of alumni and other supporters, including the John and Melissa Friedery Alternative Breaks Endowment. You may want to have spending money with you on the break if you want to buy anything extra.

What will housing, food, and sleeping arrangements be like?

Branch Out practices simple living in alignment with our value of sustainability. You'll be staying in simple housing - sometimes in extra rooms in a religious building or community center, and sometimes in dorm-style or cabin-style housing. We try to find beds or couches for most of our breaks, but some require sleeping on the floor. We encourage all breakers to use a sleeping bag and pad (available for rent at Campus Rec) or small air mattress for comfort, if needed. Each housing site has access to showers; in most cases, those are on-site. Meals are shared, accommodate dietary restrictions, and are based on a simple living budget. You'll have the opportunity to cook with your teammates for the whole group. Learn more in our accessibility information.