Top Spring Break Destinations to Boost Your Resume


By The Editors of DuJour
March 21, 2017

Take your favorite student on the trip of a lifetime (and hey, it might also help them score an Ivy)

In the college application process, every second counts. If travel is a must for you and your family, take relief in the fact that a memorable spring break trip and the journey towards the Ivy League don’t have to be mutually exclusive. We spoke with the CEO & Founder of IvyWise, Dr. Kat Cohen, about all things spring break: where you should go, to what you should do there, and how your trip can strengthen a student’s college application and possibility of becoming an Ivy League student.

Although college admission does not rest on travel, what can make a travel experience special and potentially interesting to admissions officers is when the travel directly relates back to one of the student’s core interests. Even better is if the travel furthers his or her understanding of a topic, or helps solidify him or her as a specialist.

1. Take a student who is interested in art on a week-long trip to Italy, to study the works of masters. They can then produce a portfolio of artwork inspired by their week abroad and include it in their application (if applicable) and his/her essay can discuss how this trip might have changed the way the student experienced and created art.

The American Academy in Rome offers students the opportunity to apply for a residency at the academy through the Visiting Artist and Scholars program. Candidates who present a proposal for scholarly or artistic work can spend two weeks over spring break (or longer if they have more time) at the Academy for a sort of mini study abroad. High school students are also allowed to attend courses at the Florence Art Studio, the Scuola Leonardo Da Vinci Milano where they can also take an intensive Italian language course.

2. Another option might be for a student to return to the country of their family’s heritage to teach English. For example, a student could go to Mongolia. Students can use resources like Go Overseas to find volunteer opportunities in locations like Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’s capital, where schools need native English speakers to help children learn. Some programs require volunteers to stay for a month or even longer, but students should do their research to find a trip that works with the time they have off for spring break.

3. If a student is interested in social work or politics, consider going to a Syrian refugee camp. There is a huge number of refugee camps around the world where students and their families could volunteer together and be of service.

Project HOPE is located in Macedonia and is coordinating with the Macedonian Ministry of Health to deliver shipments of critically needed medicines/supplies and to volunteer medical support to refugees traveling through the country.

Relief & Reconciliation for Syria is looking for short and long term international volunteers in Lebanon who have special skills to offer and want to create workshops or recreational activities for children. Examples might include sport tournaments, music or photography workshops, skill training in IT, etc.

Refugee Aid Serbia is another option. The humanitarian aid organization runs a Hot Meals program, provides refugees with clothes, shoes and hygiene products, and also provides wheelchairs, crutches, and other important items through their Mobility Aid project to refugees in downtown Belgrade. This organization doesn’t have a minimum time commitment requirement for volunteers.

4. For a student that is interested in tech and STEM, Tel Aviv might be the perfect destination. First, a student might be able to check out a class at Tel Aviv University International. Another option is for the student to try to find an opportunity to shadow an employee at a tech startup or larger company with a research center in Israel. Students can use their high school’s alumni network to find potential shadowing/externship opportunities. At IvyWise, we help students get find the right internship and externship opportunities for them.

One example is Zebra, a tech startup located in Tel Aviv that creates automated, accurate and timely medical diagnosis, including those related to breast cancer. Larger companies that have research centers in Israel include Google, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft.

5. For a student interested in studying micro-finance, India could be a perfect fit. Similar to a student studying STEM, a business student may want to shadow an employee who works in micro-finance at a large company like Bharat Financial Inclusion Limited or in a bank like the Reserve Bank of India. Students can also look into courses or schools where they might be able to offer some part-time work in exchange for auditing a course, such as at the Indian School of Microfinance for Women.