Alternative Winter Break

What are you doing during winter break? Apply for Suffolk's Alternative Winter Break (AWB) program, where you can learn and serve internationally with Habitat for Humanity International’s Global Village program.

AWB 2022 Update

Information below reflects past programming. We intend to resume travel volunteer programs as normal in AY 21-22, as long as public health conditions allow. We will update this page as information becomes available.

Tentative Winter 2022 Travel Dates: January 5-16, 2022

AWB is open to all interested undergraduate and graduate students and is a collaboration between the Center for Community Engagement and the Political Science & Legal Studies Department. 

More information and applications will be available at the start of the fall semester.

Suffolk students and staff work with Habitat for Humanity and local school children in Cambodia during their Alternative Winter Break program

2019 AWB team in Banteay Sri District, Siem Reap Province, Cambodia posing in front of a newly built home for a family in need. 

Participating students will spend the end of their winter break traveling, learning, and building with communities in Myanmar or Cambodia for 12 days.

When they return, students take an international relations course called “Conflict and Development” that reviews crucial political and economic events in the region, processes of reconstruction of the rule of law, democracy, and sustainable development.


  1. All participants must register for an international relations course in the spring semester, called “Conflict and Development,” following acceptance into the program. Undergraduates will enroll in GVT-387 and graduates will enroll in GVT-687
  2. Minimum of 2.5 GPA
  3. Students must participate in out-of-class learning experiences as directed by the program
  4. Students must be in good conduct standing with the University


You will pay a portion of the total cost of the trip, which includes transportation, meals, and housing. Total costs of the program are partially subsidized by the Center for Community Engagement. The trip payment will consist of a $750 deposit due upon acceptance to the program, and a final payment before the start of the trip, both of which will be billed through Suffolk University’s student accounts.

Contact the Center for Community Engagement for more information on specific costs and available scholarships.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

A limited number of need- and merit-based scholarships are available to help subsidize the cost of the program; Please contact Assistant Director Dennis Harkins for more details.

My time with Habitat for Humanity in Myanmar shaped my worldview and gave me experiences that I will take with me for life. The opportunity to spend time with the community and local culture, while providing a home for a family in need that we grew to love, was an unforgettable experience.

Chessa MacKenzie Class of 2022


Suffolk Alternative Break groups complete service work in a drug- and alcohol-free environment (even if you are of legal age), making it an alternative to many other break experiences.

Applications are submitted through Google Forms at the start of the fall semester and reviewed by CCE staff. Following review of the written applications, AWB applicants will be contacted to schedule an interview. Prior to acceptance into the program, applicants will be subject to a review by the Dean of Students Office for final approval. Applicants should hear about the decisions by early November.

AWB trips include a flight to the international locations. The AWB program partners with one of our strongest partners, Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI) for in-country logistics. HFHI will set up transportation in the form of buses and/or mini vans for the team to travel to and from the airport, and within communities we work and live with.

Housing accommodations in-country are also organized in partnership with Habitat for Humanity International. Students will share dual-occupancy hotel rooms during the trip. If you have questions or concerns about housing, please contact Assistant Director, Dennis Harkins.

Each year, we send two teams of 10 students and 2 staff/faculty on AWB. In previous years, we have sent one team to Myanmar and one team to Cambodia.

Both groups will depart 12-13 days before the start of the spring semester and arrive back in Boston the day before the spring semester starts.

Yes, attendance at the four pre-trip meetings is mandatory. These meetings are a critical component of AWB and will prepare you to have a rich, safe, and meaningful service experience. These pre-trip meetings will take place in November and December. Dates for these meetings will accompany your acceptance letter into the program. We do our best to schedule the pre-trip meetings based on participant availability.

One of the values of AWB is pushing participants outside of their comfort zones. AWB is an opportunity to understand a community different from your own and one you may not have ever imagined going. Students return from AWB with a much greater understanding of the diversity of communities and social issues that exist in other parts of the world.

While we do not allow students to choose where they go, during the interview process, we ask if you have a preference, and take this into consideration when placing accepted students, but we can’t guarantee that you will be given your first choice.

You will find out your trip assignment and meeting schedule with your acceptance letter in early November.

Please do not hesitate to email the Center for Community Engagement, or call us at 617-305-6306 with any questions.