Do more than read this reading week!

If you are reading this, fall break has more or less come to a close and I hope it was as productive, relaxing and fun as everyone planned it to be. I usually get Tuesdays off and go to work anyway, so it wasn't too much of a break for me, but it did allow me time to take a little bit of a breather. The break was a little too short for my liking and zipped by way too quickly. Call me crazy, but ever since the December exam schedule was posted, I have been counting down to Christmas break and have even begun counting down to reading week in February. And as I daydream about my balcony in Cuba from last winter break, I personally think now is a great time to start planning a vacation. In fact, as I write this post my room mates and I are already planning possibilities of a reading week getaway vacation somewhere warm and worry-free. Whether or not this actually happens, I plan to make the next break as eventful as possible. After all of this studying and hard work, I think it is well deserved and planning it now at least gives me something to look forward to. Now whether or not you have the funds to make your own getaway, there are a multitude of great things you could do for next break other than hitting the beaches or the books! You could go with a traditional spring break vacation in a country with perpetual sunshine and sandy beaches, but there's nothing wrong with staying in town. U of T offers an Alternative Reading week program that offers just that - an alternative to reading week. It allows students to work on a local community service project for the week and contribute to a greater cause. It's a great way to do something meaningful and fulfilling by giving back to the community. If you think this is a great idea but still want in on a vacation getaway, here are a few opportunities to volunteer abroad:
  • U of T's Habitat for Humanity does a reading week service project building homes in places all over the world. This coming reading week they have chosen to build in the USA and Egypt!
  • Volunteer Abroad has several short term service-learning programs for the Reading week. They have trips anywhere from helping the Sea Turtles in Costa Rica or the children at day care centres in Peru.
There are several organizations that offer great opportunities to travel, volunteer, and make the most of your time. Keep in mind that going abroad will take some time to plan. This not only includes the where and when, but the how. You may have to do some fundraising and plan for things like flight logistics, passports, visas, extra costs and all the necessary medical shots you may need in order to fly out of the country. So after exploring the options throughout the spectrum of possibilities for the next break, start planning today! It's never too early, right? -Danielle

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