What is Alternative Breaks?

What is an Immersion Trip?

The Basics:

An Immersion trip is a trip where a group of college students (usually 10-12 per trip) engage in volunteer service, typically for a week or over their given school break.  This is often called an "Alternative Break" a term originating in the 1980s as an “alternative” to a “typical” spring break trip.  However, these trips have become more and more popular among college students and have become life-changing experiences.   Each trip has a focus on a social issue and students learn about those issues through projects that span their entire break.  These breaks challenge you to think critically and react to problems faced by members of the community

What makes Immersion Trips different from Mission Trips or “volunteer vacations”?

  • These trips are all student focused rather than other trips that are focused on other part of the service – you will develop your leadership skills and grow as a student and can build your resume from these trips
  • These are drug and alcohol-free experiences
  • A heavy emphasis is placed on group and individual reflection that occurs each night
  • Rather than this being you individual experience, you get to experience this with a group from Missouri State University, and you can build on these strong group dynamics and relate to one another
  • Significant planning occurs to ensure a quality trip and individual running these trips are usually students who have knowledge of the community and the issues that are being addressed by these trips

Why participate?

  • Being immersed in the diverse environments enables you to experience and discuss social issues in a significant way
  • The intensity of the experience increases the likelihood that participants will be able to transfer their experiences to their own communities and friends after the alternative break ends.
  • The aim is to contribute volunteer hours to communities in need and help influence your own life.  You will be able to make positive steps after you return to improve your community and be a more active citizen.