Winter Alternative Service Break offers extensive international service trips during winter break. This year's travel destinations include Ecuador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Togo.
2015 Travel Dates
Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2015 - Monday, Jan. 11, 2016
Student Participants: Sunday, Sept. 20
Student Leaders & Advisors: Midnight, Sunday, Sept. 13
Cost is $1,200 for undergraduate fee-paying students. Graduate student fees vary based on the trip.
Locations & Service Descriptions
Sustainable Development in Cacao Growing Communities
Location: Esmeraldas, Ecuador
Join Green Empowerment and its local partners in building on the successful implementation of renewable energy technologies in the Esmeraldas province of northern Ecuador.Students will serve the rural cacao-growing communities of Felfa and Las Amazonas. Participants will work side by side with rural farming families, building and installing biogas digesters, passive solar dryers for cacao and/or potable water systems.
Much of the work can be physically demanding in the tropical climate, but the opportunity to help improve quality of life and conserve the fragile ecosystems of Esmeraldas is worth the effort. The group will stay in the community meeting halls in Felfa and Las Amazonas with the very basic accommodations typical in these communities. Typical Esmeraldan meals will be prepared for the group by families in each community, and students have the chance to learn how to prepare several local delicacies themselves.
Traditional Weaving and Sustainable Agriculture
Location: Lake Atitlan, Guatemala
Join Green Empowerment, Maya Traditions Foundation and Appropriate Technology Collaborative in exploring the highlands of Guatemala through two key elements of Maya culture: weaving and sustainable agriculture. Students will have the opportunity to experience the natural beauty of Guatemala, learn about backstrap weaving, permaculture and natural building, and live with a Maya host family. Students will also have the opportunity to give back by supporting a cooperative of weavers in building a wall to protect their weaving center, implementing permaculture design to increase honey production for a cooperative of beekeepers and perform maintenance work on a local school. Through this combination of learning and giving back, students will build strong relationships with Maya hosts and create a set of unforgettable memories.
Sustainable Agriculture and Community Development
Location: El Balsamo, Nicaragua
The team will work in the community of El Balsamo, which recently gained access to clean water through a well system. The group will assist community members as they set up gardens and compost for their homes so they are able to grow food for their family. Solar panels will also be installed in various homes to provide families electricity for the first time. The team will stay in homestays with members of the community in groups of 2-4 students per home. Meals will be provided by host families.
Caring for Children and Building Community
Location: Notse, Togo
The team will work alongside community members to paint dormitories and refurbish beds and cribs at the local orphanage, Orphelinat de Notse. A group of UI students began this project in 2012, but stopped due to a lack of funding and time. The ASB team will be instrumental in providing renovations. Students will also help with chores, activities and games at the orphanage. The team will stay in a group home in town. Meals will be prepared by local community members.
Full-time University of Idaho students. ASB is open to undergraduate and graduate students. Graduate students must cover full trip cost as they do not pay undergraduate student fees.
Applicants are reviewed by Center for Volunteerism and Social Action staff, and teams are determined based on application information.
Students are empowered to make wise decisions with regard to their own safety and the safety of others. Actions on this trip not only reflect on the student, but on the ASB program and the University of Idaho.
The ASB program puts service at the forefront of everything it does. This is not a vacation. Facilities can be less than students are used with limited access to showers and running water, especially internationally. Students should expect limited comforts.
Participants on international trips should understand there will be limited to no contact with family and friends in the United States throughout the entire duration of the trip.