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Current Alternative Break Programs

Alternative Break at American University

Every year, the Center for Community Engagement and Service trains and sends groups of 10-15 students into their local and global communities to experience hands-on work with social justice issues.

The Alternative Break Program is a student-focused initiative that organizes international and domestic trips with a social justice perspective three times per year (winter, spring, and summer break). Alternative Breaks are service-learning experiences designed to heighten participants’ awareness of critical social issues, enhance their individual growth, and prepare them for lifelong social action. Each student-initiated trip integrates service, reflection and education and focuses on topics as varied as poverty, indigenous rights, structural racism, human rights, fair trade, gender equality, and the environment.

Below is a list of the current Alternative Break programs. If you find a program that inspires you, you'll have to create a Center for Community Engagement Interest Profile through EngageNet before you can apply. You will be contacted for an interview after the application deadline. 

Application Deadline

Now Accepting Leader Applications for 2019-2020

Next Deadline: June 3, 2019


Safety and Medical Insurance

Safety precautions and recommendations for medical and insurance advice. Whether you're a parent or student, we're here to support you and ensure that your experience is a positive learning experience in the world classroom. 

Medical Information

Winter 2018-2019 Programs

Voices of Marginalized Identities in a Pan-African State


Explore the intersectionality of Pan-Africanism and identity politics through work with different communities and activists throughout Arusha and its surrounding areas.
 Dec. 27, 2018 - Jan. 11, 2019

Tanzania Info

Ghosts of War: Post-Conflict Recovery


Explore the difficulties of post-conflict recovery in Vietnam by meeting with organizations and government officials that work to clean up the hazards left behind from the war. 

Dec. 27, 2018 - Jan. 13, 2019

Vietnam Info

Spring 2019 Programs

Positive Youth Development

Uzbekistan: Tashkent AND samarkand

Explore the similarities and differences between Uzbek and U.S. youth development programs.

March 8 - 17, 2019

Uzbekistan Info

Stolen Education: Inequity of Race and Environment


Study education equity in New Orleans while examining the effects of racial and environmental injustices.

March 8 - 17, 2019


Peace and Reconciliation in Northern Ireland

UK: Northern Ireland

Delve into Northern Ireland's peacebuilding efforts following the violent, three decades long conflict known as "The Troubles."

March 8 - 17, 2019

Northern Ireland Info

No Human Being is Illegal: Crisis at the U.S.-Mexico Border


Learn about the immigration crisis at the U.S. - Mexico border by volunteering with immigrant aid organizations in McAllen, Texas.

March 9 - 17, 2019

McAllen, TX Info

Haitian Voices: Reconsidering International Aid


Learn about the intersection of public health and international aid over the spring semester of 2019. Travel to Haiti and work with various community partners.

March 9 - 17, 2019

Haiti Info

Cuba: A Look at Culture, Religion, History, and Economics

cuba: Havana AND VIñales

Understand the social construction of race, how it operates and what effect it has on the Cuban community.

March 8 - 17, 2019

Cuba Info

Summer 2019 Programs (May 2019)

Women and Youth Empowerment in Post Genocide Rwanda


Come learn about and experience what women and youth empowerment look like in a post-genocide Rwanda.

May 2019


South Africa

SOUTH AFRICA: Johannesburg & Cape town

Examine educational inequalities; combine leadership styles to leave participants better equipped to tackle structural inequalities in their personal lives.

May 2019

South Africa INFO

Education, Inequality and Empowerment


Examine the inequalities the education faces on both micro and macro levels and how structural inequalities affect you while learning practical leadership skills to make real change possible.

May 2019