Expand the difference you make, locally or abroad

The Alternative Break (AB) program cultivates a unique opportunity for you, staff and faculty to engage in service learning and volunteerism in communities outside of the Los Angeles area.

Make tangible connections between what you learn in the classroom and what you will encounter once you have experiences outside the university setting. Help USC  to create valuable, long-lasting relationships in the communities in which you work over winter and/or spring break.

Volunteer in areas such as:

Children’s Issues

Cultural Erosion in Native Populations

Environmental Conservation

Healthcare Accessibility and Reform

Homeless and Poverty

Impacts of Eco-tourism

Justice System Reform and At-Risk-Youth

Micro Finance/Social Entrepreneurship

Women’s Empowerment

Youth & Education

Contact Campus Activities for More Information:




Applications are typically released in September for all trips. Visit the winter or spring tab on the Campus Activities page to learn more about each location and service project.

Make sure to check the Campus Activities page for application updates.

Costs & Fundraising

The cost for participating in an alternative break volunteer or service learning project may vary between each program. Costs can be as little at $350 for local projects and as much as $3,800+ for projects located in another country. Please be sure to check the website with updated volunteer and service learning projects and cost projections. The Volunteer Center wants alternative breaks to be as accessible as possible to all USC students. However, before you accept a spot that is offered to you on an AB trip, make sure that you can afford to pay 100% of the trip cost prior to the departure date. We will update this post if other opportunities come up.
Find out more about payment plans and fundraising ideas.

Locations & Activities

Past trips taken during the winter and spring breaks include:


In partnership with the NGO Adventures and Volunteering in India, AWB participants collaboratively designed a curriculum to teach to the underprivileged community of Banjara Basti. Instructed primarily within the  established primary school and women’s group, they hoped to empower the women and children to play an active role in developing their own community economically.


Students served by lending a helping hand to our partner organizations. They learned about the effects of tourism on the culture and the marine ecosystem of Tahiti. They explored the island on a circle-island tour, hiked through the waterfall-laden mountains, and visited the local markets and museums of Tahiti.


Students had the opportunity to aid in the construction of a durable home for the elderly, providing relief to this neglected portion of the society. Additionally, students supported the disabled population by assisting with exercises, physical therapy, and day-to-day activities. By volunteering in Peru, students had the opportunity to enhance the lives of the underprivileged, but were also a part of the larger community efforts to break down stereotypes and stigmas faced by the aging and disabled within Villa El Salvador.


This service trip provided the opportunity to serve the park rangers by working hands-on to restore the environment within Moran State Park. Past projects have included trail restoration and construction on the scenic Mt. Constitution trail. One participant from last year’s Orcas trip explained that working and living in such a remote environment “puts the world in perspective. Moran features beautiful hikes, lakes, and waterfalls, which participants were free to enjoy on their time off.


In partnership with the Safe Haven Animal Sanctuary, participants helped facilitate adoption events, spay/neuter clinics and vaccination clinics, engaged community members, participated in hand-on projects, as well as directly interacted with animals at the sanctuary which houses both cats and dogs.


Participants of ASB Guatemala traveled to Antigua, the old capital of Guatemala, and worked in El Tejar, a small community near the large town of Chimaltenango, at CEDIN (a Montessori-type preschool that serves over 100 children). Students spent time with the children in the morning working on various activities such as arts and crafts or even promoting general hygiene. In the afternoon, students will transitioned to assisting with a construction project to help the nursery expand.

Published on July 19th, 2016

Last updated on July 8th, 2022