Alternative Break Trips

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Alternative Break at the College of Charleston will restart in January 2022. Please see the below 2019-2020 descriptions for examples of past trips.


MLK Weekend in Atlanta - January 17th-20th, 2020

Maymester in Greece - May 12th-June 2nd, 2020

Maymester in Hawai'i - May 12th-May 23rd, 2020

Sites and Social Issues:

Below is a list of our 2019-2020 partnerships. 

Dr. King's Beloved Community: Civil and Human Rights in Modern Day Atlanta
Atlanta, GA | $25

Over MLK weekend, participants will travel to Atlanta, Georgia--the birthplace of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The aim of this trip will be to learn about Dr. King’s philosophies during the Civil Rights movement as well as to actively fight against the evils that prevent communities from living in unity and harmony. Participants will be volunteering with New American Pathways, a refugee resettlement and support organization, and Safe House, a shelter and support system for individuals experiencing homelessness. Visits to Dr. King’s birthplace and the Center for Human and Civil Rights will provide opportunities for more cultural context and knowledge surrounding the issues the participants will address.

Wildlife Rehabilitation and Sustainable Tourism in Zakynthos, Greece
Earth, Sea & Sky | Zakynthos, Greece | $3,000

Zakynthos is the third largest of the Ionian Islands, located to the west of mainland Greece.The natural beauty of Zakynthos attracts many tourists during the summer. This has made tourism more profitable than traditional industries, and its exploitation is detrimental to the countryside and wildlife. There are large amounts of litter being dumped on beaches and in the forests, and hunting is endangering migrating birds. The Loggerhead Sea Turtle and Mediterranean Monk Seal’s habitats are steadily declining, as people and development impede on their habit ats. 

Earth, Sea & Sky registered as a non-government organization in 1999, to protect the unique flora and fauna of the island. Past emphasis has been on the beaches and caring for the Loggerhead turtle, since Zakynthos is their most important nesting area in the Mediterranean, but their aim is to protect the natural habitats of all wildlife within the National Marine Park of Zakynthos. Earth, Sea & Sky promotes “conservation by education.” Guests are provided with one-to-one information sessions. An estimated 50,000-75,000 visitors from all over the world come to the center each summer.

The aim of our experience is to show how conservation and sustainable tourism can work together to benefit tourists, the locals, and wildlife. Volunteers will research and record the effects of tourism on the local environment, provide information on the local flora and fauna to visitors, rescue injured animals, and participate in beach and forest clean-ups. Volunteers will also monitor the nesting of the Loggerhead Sea Turtle. Participants will have the opportunity to experience Greek culture first-hand on this beautiful island as well as in other parts of Greece during the third week of the program.

An Examination of Western Influence on Native Hawaiian Culture
TBA |TBA, Hawai'i | $2,000

Hawai’i, the most recent state to join the union, is known as one of the world’s most beautiful locations. Rich with a unique culture, Hawai’i sits in the Pacific ocean, and is known as the most isolated population center in the world. The archipelago of Hawai’i consists of 137 islands, spanning over approximately 1500 miles. Its rich soil and ideal geographic location makes it suitable to grow a variety of crops, such as bananas, papaya, taro, pineapple, and sugar cane. 

The Kingdom of Hawai’i was a sovereign nation from 1810-1893. American and European landowners overthrew the monarchy in 1893, and Hawai’i became a state in 1959. Western influence and colonialism has shaped the identity of Hawai’i to what it is today. Although the tourism industry spurred by American travel has made the economy of Hawai’i very strong in many capacities, there have been many unintended consequences related to this Western influence. For example, Hawai’i has the highest rate of homelessness in the nation, with 46 out of every 10,000 residents experiencing homeless. Commercial development in Hawai’i has taken its toll on ancient land that was once used for farming important traditional crops, and is now often used for stripmalls and movie theatre. This development has spurred many movements in Hawai’i relating to keeping rural lands rural, creating affordable housing, and a return to ancestral practice.

The aim of this Alternative Maymester experience is to educate students on the impacts of western influence and colonialism on native Hawaiian culture and practices. Options for service include working on Reppun Farm--a sustainable farm working to bring back native Hawaiian agriculture practices--or working with Habitat for Humanity to help build affordable housing. Throughout the trip, we will be participating in discussions surrounding the unintended consequences of colonization and how it relates to modern-day gentrification, white-washing, unsustainable tourism, homelessness, drug use, and poverty.

*Note that there are a limited number of spots on each trip and, as such, students may not get their first choice.

How to apply

Alternative Break at the College of Charleston will be taking a year-off in light of concerns surrounding COVID-19. If you are interested in helping us re-vamp the program during the 2021-2022 academic year, feel free to email us at


The cost of the Alternative Spring Break program varies between $25 to $3,000. All payments are non-refundable. The program fee covers transportation--including airfare--, housing, on-site meals, and accommodations. Students are responsible for baggage fees and meals during travel time (at the airport or during a van ride). Financial aid is available on a case-by-case basis; please email Stephanie Visser at for more information.  

Faculty/Staff Learning Partners

While our Alternative Break experiences are entirely student-driven, planned, and facilitated, each of our trips also requires the presence of a faculty/staff Learning Partner. Our Learning Partners are full participants in each of our Alternative Break experiences. This is a great opportunity for faculty/staff members interested in building meaningful, mentoring relationships with students through service. 
Two specialized information sessions more faculty/staff members will be held in Lightsey Suite 203 (Center for Civic Engagement). For more information about spring break or other Alternative Break experiences, please send us an email.

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