International Alternative Winter Breaks
Dates: All trips happen in early January, before the second semester starts. See trips descriptions for specifics.
Requirements: Because education is an important part of well-grounded community engagement, each participant must attend at least 8 pre-trip education meetings between September 26th and their trip dates. Teams will regroup in a post-trip Reorientation Dinner to reflect on their experiences and plan for future action.
Bridges to Community
Community Partner: Bridges to Community, Nicaragua
Social Issue: Affordable housing
Trip dates: January 7- January 15, 2016
Site leaders: Emily Holtzman and Michael Testa
We work with alongside a community in Nicaragua to provide housing that is better able to withstand earthquakes, which are common in this region. Branch Out has been working with this particular community for 4 years and has had the opportunity to develop relationships in the community. During the week, the group participates in cultural experiences with community members and works alongside local masons to construct a house. The community partner, Bridges to Community, strives to invest in long-term sustainability by investing in local labor and collaborating with community leadership on the use of funds. Through the process of living and working within the community, Bridges promotes community and personal transformation, cross-cultural partnerships, sustainable community development, and a commitment to be agents of change in our communities, both locally and globally.
Community Partner: Sonje Ayiti
Social issue: Curriculum Development and Teacher Training in Rural Education
Trip dates: January 2- January 13, 2016
Site leaders: Jose Acuna and Jiajia Chen
In the aftermath of the January 12, 2010 earthquake in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, a group of alternative break programs committed to sustained investment in Haitian communities. As part of this national compact, our team has committed to returning to Haiti for at least four years of alternative breaks, learning in-depth about social issues affecting the communities with whom we work, educating the campus and others about our experience, and serving as lifelong advocates for Haitian empowerment. Building on the team's work in 2015, the group will conduct workshops and work with the teachers of the Cima school on curriculum development and student learning strategies. The program invests in the capacity of the teachers and provides them with resources they can use with their students year-round.
Community Partner: Outreach360, Nicaragua
Social issue: Literacy
Trip dates: December 31- January 7, 2016
Site leaders: Katie Freund and Maddie Greathouse
The mission of the W&M Outreach360 team is to provide W&M students with a chance to increase the opportunities for the youth in Jinotega by teaching English and Spanish literacy. As a nation, Nicaragua is focused on developing its tourism industry as a source of economic growth. Part of this strategy has been an increased expectation that competitive job applicants know English. Because the children of Jinotega don’t have access to English instruction in their schools, Outreach360 offers supplemental education with the goal of increasing their economic opportunities as adults.The goal of the trip is to foster meaningful relationships through personal interaction with the local community, especially the youth, in order to foster a sense of belonging through service in the local community.
Cost: The cost for our international winter alternative breaks are as follows:
Bridges to Community: $2,164
Haiti Compact: $1,616
Although we understand that the cost of international travel is high, we strive to make these experiences as accessible as possible. Financial aid is offered- we encourage all those who think they might qualify to apply. Each team also hosts fundraisers to help offset individual costs.
Sign up: Applications for are being accepted until Sunday, September 18th. Interviews will be held the following week. The application can be found here.