When you hear the words “Spring Break”, the first things that come to mind are crowded beaches and partying students. But why not do it differently this year, as the world is still dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic and traveling to those hot spots will definitely not be a good idea.
An alternative spring break can make sense in any year, but especially in 2021. So what is an alternative spring break? Also known as an ASB, these spring break trips are designed with more intention than your typical spring break trip to Miami. Rather than enjoying fun in the sun, you’ll spend your ASB volunteering and supporting local communities. Typically these trips take place overseas, but this year, why not consider a virtual option?
Virtual volunteering is a great option for spring break 2021 as not only will you be doing something good, but you will also be keeping under-resourced communities (and yourself!) safe from the virus. You can use this time off not only for volunteering, but also for self-improvement, education, and reflection. To make it easier for you to find a good fit, we have researched the best virtual volunteer programs for spring break 2021 for you.
The Best Virtual Volunteer Programs for Spring Break 2021
Maybe it is difficult for you to imagine how you can support projects during your spring break virtually and still have an impact and a good time, but there are actually many ways you can do so. You can volunteer with health projects and learn about global health challenges, teach English, or support communities in dealing with the task of digitization, which has become so much more important in this time of crisis. Check out these virtual programs to find the best fit for you and your friends.
FIMRC: Virtual Volunteer Programs
Where’s the biggest impact you can have in 2021? In healthcare, of course! With FIMRC’s Virtual Volunteer Programs, students can learn about global healthcare during their alternative spring break. Programs run from one to eight weeks and there are five different programs to choose from. Topics covered include Covid-19, communicable diseases, infectious disease, public health initiatives, global health programming in developing countries, and others.
Volunteers can work in different areas and gain experiences in clinical exposure, community engagement, and program development. You’ll also benefit from interactions with global health and development experts and will support the planning of actual projects.
But don’t take our word for it! Check out what Krishna had to say about the program:
“Not only was it fulfilling to know that the program you created will actually be implemented but it was so much fun to work with the FIMRC team.”
GAP Year Nepal: Virtual Volunteering
One of the best volunteering programs for spring break 2021 where participants can also bring their own skills to the table is Virtual Volunteering in Nepal with GAP Year Nepal. Students can enroll from two to 12 weeks and support the country during this difficult time to adjust to the new needs of digitization. Volunteers can teach English, or offer support with online tools and digital skills, since technological literacy is of the utmost importance during the pandemic.
As more resources and industries are moved online, Nepal can use support in bolstering their infrastructure to support these needs. Not only do many communities not have computers, but many people do not know how to use them properly. For organizations, reaching out through the internet for support is the only way they can sustain themselves. So, if you decide to spend your alternative spring break helping these NGOs, you can also make sure that they can exist in the long term.
Read about Ria’s experience volunteering in Nepal and how she was able to put her skills to good use:
“Within this internship, I worked on the social media posts and stories for the Accessible Nepal Instagram page. By doing this, I learned more about marketing and how to address different audiences via social media. I also have created lesson plans for the ages 7-16 on topics such as maintaining a healthy lifestyle and having good behavior. Through these tasks, I learned how to adapt to an online working environment and work collaboratively with the challenges of time zone differences.”
Amigos de las Americas: Community Impact Project
Interested in a program that extends past the end of spring break? Amigos de las Americas offers an eight-week community impact project with participants from both the U.S. and Latin America. During this program, participants are put together into groups of 8 to 12 students and learn to become global citizens – without having to actually travel.
The goal of the program is that students will develop a service project addressing a community’s needs during the Covid-19 pandemic. Not only will you work directly in community development in this project, but you’ll also receive mentorship from an expert in the field, and get to build your global network of colleagues and peers. Plus you’ll get to practice those language skills! The main goal of this program is to connect with others during this challenging time.
Check out what Frederic had to say about his daughter’s experience in the program:
“The work was challenging but well supported, and she developed great connections despite the current physical distancing requirements. She got Spanish language development, design thinking and project planning instruction and mentoring, and support for practicing new experiences like calling up business and community leaders and getting them interested and committed to supporting her project.”
GVI: Virtual Internships
Volunteering isn’t the only option for your alternative spring break in 2021. You can also consider using the time as an opportunity to build professional competencies and bolster your resume through an internship.
GVI offers virtual internships from one to eight weeks that give you many opportunities to do something good during your spring break while also working on your resume at the same time. With GVI, you can choose from eight different conservation or international development fields and use your skills where they can have the most impact. Not only will you learn important skills from your mentors, but you can also engage in a variety of activities. Some examples are analyzing drone shots of coral reefs, fundraising for a women’s empowerment organization, or teaching English to entrepreneurs.
Isabelle had a great experience interning with GVI. Check out what she had to say:
“I absolutely loved doing the GVI online internship. I did the marine conservation one and learnt a lot about not only marine conservation but how to get a job in the sector, skills that will help me get there and one of a kind opportunities with NGOs.”
Connect-123: Global Remote Internships
Connect-123 has years of experience in placing students in internships internationally that will help them on their career paths and will have them gain important experiences. Due to the pandemic, they have moved their programs online, which makes it a perfect fit for your alternative spring break. They offer placements in all different kinds of projects and sectors, and you can sharpen your language skills and gain important experiences, all the while making an impact and supporting important work.
If you’re interested in conservation work, community development, sustainability, or other sectors related to aid work, Connect-123 will have a placement for you. Not only will you learn important skills for your future career, but you’ll also be contributing to important international projects.
Here’s what Allie had to say about her internship:
“There were always seminars and even some online social events that you could get involved with as much or as little as you wished. I loved these events and tried to go as much as I could as it was a great way to network and stay connected during the pandemic.”
How Will You Spend Your Spring Break?
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to have an impactful spring break this year without hopping on a plane. Particularly in the current circumstances, this might be the more responsible option, as long as vaccinations for Covid-19 have not reached every community yet. You will surely be able to find a great fit from this list of the best virtual volunteer programs for spring break 2021 and have an amazing time that will not only teach you a lot, but also prepare you for a time when everybody can travel again!