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Bye, Bye Winter Blues, Hello Spring Break

While it may be hard to think ahead to spring break in the midst of frigid weather and midterms, it’s never too early to start thinking about your options.  While some may choose to relax and get some sun, there are other unconventional options as well.  Northwestern offers a wide range of service trips, which many students are ready to embark on, as well as opportunities to gain work experience which are available to students now.

Let’s face it; the idea of escaping Evanston weather is appealing to most.  There are many sites to help you plan your spring break getaway, including www.wildsidetravel.com, which is running an all-inclusive five-night trip to Puerto Vallarta.
Other sites such as www.cheapcaribbean.com offer great packages for island getaways. All-inclusive trips to Paradise Island, Bahamas start at just $300 per person.  Other destinations include Mexico, Bermuda, and Antigua. 
STA Travel, located on Church Street in Evanston is also a convenient place to visit to plan your spring break.  There are Caribbean packages available in Jamaica, the Bahamas, Dominican Republic, or Puerto Rico.  If you’re interested in going to Europe, you can head to London, Paris, Amsterdam, or Barcelona with STA’s six-day five night packages, which start around $500.  There are also options available within the country in places like Florida, Las Vegas, and Hawaii.
Service Trips:
Michele Moses, Weinberg freshman, is just one of the many Northwestern students who has decided to sacrifice a conventional vacation in order to give back.  Moses is one of 30 other NU students heading to Cuba as part of a Hillel Alternative Student Breaks (ASB) program. 
Moses will be travelling to Havana in order to help stock the only free private pharmacy on the island with medicine and supplies, which would otherwise be unavailable to many Cubans -an idea that Moses found exhilarating.
“My two options were to hang around at home or to improve my stance as a member of the Northwestern and global community, and I decided that this program would broaden my horizons in really beneficial ways to me as a student and as a person,” she said.
Moses isn’t the only one trying to help others over her break.  Many NU students are participating in other ASB trips, such as the program in Quito, Ecuador where students will have an opportunity to work directly with children affected by poverty.
Elizabeth Machesky, Weinberg junior, describes the program as a great way to be productive while still having fun and meeting new people.  Plus, spring break is a great time to volunteer without the burden of schoolwork weighing students down.
While Machesky recognizes that poverty is a huge issue to tackle, “If we can just make the kids happier for a week and make them smile then I think we can consider this a success,” she said.
Externship Program:
If going on vacation or a service trip just isn’t possible for you, and you’re interested in gaining work experience without a huge time commitment, the Northwestern Externship Program (NEXT) is perfect for you.  Registration for this one-day job-shadowing program has just begun and will close on February 4th.   

The NEXT program runs from March 21st through April 21st and allows undergrads to attend work with alumni and see what they do on a daily basis.  You might take a tour, conduct informal interviews, attend staff meetings, and assist with projects.

“This is a really great program because it connects students with alumni they wouldn’t otherwise meet which can give them a leg up and provide valuable connections for internships and jobs,” said Lauren Herpe, Assistant Director of Career Services for Northwestern’s Alumni Association and co-manager of the NEXT program.

Opportunities for externships aren’t just limited to the Northwestern area either.  According to Herpe, there are opportunities around the country as well as in locations around the world such as in Europe and Australia, with over 1,000 in total.

There are a wide variety of externships to choose from, no matter what your major.  Schools, hospitals, law firms, and banks are just a few of the many places you might go, depending on your interest.

So, instead of sitting at home watching old reruns of Keeping up With the Kardashians, or whatever your guilty pleasure is, you might just get to spend the day learning about Google or hanging out with a costumer designer for a TV show (yes, those are real externships available in this program!)
Clearly, there are many spring break options for you whether you enjoy being a go-getter or more laid back on your breaks.  One of the many great things about being a Northwestern student are the resources available.  You can bake in the sun, travel to a new country, volunteer, or gain work experience- or try them all!

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Kylie Gilbert


Kylie Gilbert is a senior Journalism major and French minor at Northwestern University. She joined HC as a freshman as a contributing writer and has been campus correspondent since her sophomore year. When she isn't writing, online shopping, or reading fashion magazines, she loves watching The Mindy Project, Modern Family, How I Met Your Mother and everything on Bravo.
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