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Alternative Break Programs

Alternative Break at American University

AY 2022-2023 Program Details

Deadline application deadline EXTENDED!

DUE Monday, June 20th, 2022 by 11:59PM
Apply here, Alternative Break Student Leader Application.

For questions please contact
Fill out our Alt Break Interest Form to receive email updates

The Alternative Break Program is a student-focused initiative that organizes international and domestic immersive learning opportunities with a social justice perspective three times per year (winter, spring, and summer break). We depend on strong student leaders to envision justice topics that they would like to illustrate and highlight for the campus community, and they are empowered to propose, develop, and implement travel programming with service-learning rooted in solidarity and justice.

Through deliberative and reflective dialogues, direct service, and meaningful education on critical global and domestic social issues, student participants will exchange, evaluate, and take action towards different ideas and approaches that challenge specific social, political, and economic structures. Direct service with community partners will demonstrate how students can turn their learning into action and activism that is community-centered, ethical, and sustainable. Participants will be prepared to engage with the community through pre-departure trainings, discussions, guest speakers, service, and other activities.

Alternative Break Programs are service-learning experiences designed to heighten participants' awareness of critical social issues, enhance their individual growth, and prepare them for lifelong social action.

Program Locations & Request for Proposals

We are seeking student leaders for:

Domestic Programs:

  1. Food Security in Washington DC(Fall)
  2. Ethiopian/Eritrean Immigrant Community in the DMV (Fall)
  3. Other DC-based topics 
  4. Other locations/topics

Signature International Programs:

  1. Honduras **Partner with Organization for Youth Empowerment in El Progreso 
  2. South Africa **Partners with Mandisi Sindo & VA Corps in Cape Town
  3. Other locations (will be considered on a case-by-case basis)

Our plan is to resume travel programs for AY22-23, with a renewed focus on domestic programs (including AK, HI. Territories like Puerto Rico and American Samoa are considered international).

Domestic programs can still be global - from virtual exchanges with communities abroad or in-person exchange with global communities in a domestic location.

We will also encourage student leaders to develop contingency plans should a program need to go fully online for any reason.

Leader Info Sessions!

Starts Monday, May 16
*until deadline of Monday, June 20th (by 11:59PM)

Mondays at 6PM EST

Wednesdays at 11AM EST

Thursdays at 2PM EST

If none of the above times work, email to schedule an alternate time!


Students in boat

Service trip to Africa

Group gathering during domestic service trip

Summer 2022

Access to Education: Sierra Leone

Summer Program in Sierra Leone, West Africa.

This program will look at the roles gender, disability, and geography play in the Sierra Leone education system.


2021-2022 Programs

Sovereignty and Stewardship: The Pipeline Problem

Spring Program in Washington, D.C. 

Discover tribal sovereignty and environmental stewardship and explore how extractive economies are a fundamental threat to both.

Program Information

Youth & Community Empowerment

Spring Program in El Progreso, Honduras. 

Learn about education accessibility and how community empowerment is utilized to overcome barriers youth face in Honduran communites. 

Program Information

Revolution Begins at Home: Transnational Student Organizing

Spring Program in Cape Town, South Africa. 

Build beyond the theoretical and dive into cross-solidarity organizing practices, from South Africa to the U.S.

Program Information

Food Justice Matters

Fall Program in Washington, D.C.

Examine the history of food movements, food insecurity, and current efforts to promote food justice.

Program Information

Migration of Eritreans & Ethiopians in DC

Fall program in Washington, D.C.

Investigate the reasons for forced and voluntary migration of Eritreans & Ethiopians. Disover their unique contribution to the D.C. Community.

Program Information

Exploring Maternal Health: A Public Health Crisis

Winter Program in New Orleans, L.A.

Explore and understand maternal health & maternal mental health through the lens of practitioners, community organizations, doulas, and midwives.

Program Information