Alternative Breaks


Join us on your next alternative break! Students provide service alongside community members through conservation through agroecology, civic engagement, and sustainable infrastructure projects in Colonia, Uruguay. Students stand in solidarity with those pursuing a livelihood that has a much smaller carbon footprint than industrialized nations such as the United States. We are able to customize a diverse set of programming that can fit the needs of many groups, keeping resilience as the guiding principle.

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Our approach to service learning: 

At Rizoma Field School, we acknowledge that global neoliberal capitalism is threatening sustainable livelihoods around the world. Our work is to support individuals in our region of Uruguay who are attempting to maintain and develop these ways of living, despite the constant onslaught of capitalist development that is threatening their way of life.

We take care not to perpetuate a dominant narrative created in the voluntourism industry of an impoverished, at-risk community. This small, rural community in Colonia, Uruguay is anything but that. On a Rizoma Field School service-learning trip, community partners are our primary teachers, demonstrating for us a way of life that is necessary for a sustainable future. Community partners identify their own needs and students provide service to help support those needs. Individual partners in this community thrive in their role as teachers of subsistence agricultural techniques, sustainable infrastructure and civic participation. In this process, students will both feel the efficacy of doing hands-on, in-context work, and naturally through the process they will learn about local, resilient ways of living.

Service projects: revitalizing infrastructure, small-scale agricultural systems, enhancing sustainable recycling systems

Social justice issues addressed: environmental conservation through agroecology, economic equity, civic engagement

Included: Meals, ground transport and nearby accommodation included in program cost

Program fee per student: $1,800-$2,400 dependent on number of students and length of trip


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Natalie Magnus, Program Coordinator, University of Idaho Alternative Service Break

“I was thrilled to find Ashley Colby and Rizoma Field School as the Program Coordinator of the University of Idaho’s Alternative Service Break (ASB) program.  The ASB program had recently gone through an immense period of growth and grounding in our mission of creating life-long active citizens.  In that work, we were awarded Program of the Year through Break Away and were looking for ways to keeping growing our quality of ASB programming.  Rizoma Field School was the perfect fit.  Working with Ashley was a delight as she catered logistics to the needs and requirements of our institution and program policies.  She was patient and flexible with each detail, as one needs to be in this work.  Most importantly, the students had an experience that would grounded in social justice and strong community partnerships.  We look forward to continuing our partnership for years to come!” —Natalie Magnus, Program Coordinator, University of Idaho Alternative Service Break

“I want others to grow in the same ways I have and to have this motivating experience. I needed a trip like this to give me the ability to feel the importance of my everyday choices regarding the environment, as well as my interactions with people.” – Ohio State University Student, Buck-I-SERV 2019

“I realized that I can make a difference. The sounds cliché, but seeing what Patrick and Ashley has done was truly inspiring to me. What’s important is that I start to make small, reasonable changes in my day to day life.” – Ohio State University Student, Buck-I-SERV 2019

“I would recommend this trip to any students, regardless of area of study, so long as they are open minded. I knew very little about sustainability coming in, and realized I knew even less than I thought at the conclusion of the trip. But Patrick and Ashley did an awesome job reminding us that we don’t have to always be taking huge steps, and that small steps are fine.” – Ohio State University Student, Buck-I-SERV 2019

“I’ve been on three alternative breaks in the U.S. as well as having experience starting a medical service-learning trip to Ghana as well, and this was by far the single most comprehensive experience I’ve had. No trip has taught me more, and more importantly make me think more, than this trip. I hate to sound cliché but it has truly changed my perspective, and exceeded every expectation I had.” – Ohio State University Student, Buck-I-SERV 2019

“I loved how you had a REAL relationship with every single community partner whom we’ve worked with. Sometimes international volunteering can be harmful/exploitative, but with more people like you guys we can avoid that. Thank you also for just being awesome people who are not only fun to talk to, but make you think about stuff. To me, even though I’ve only known you for 10 days, I consider you both to be role models. From the bottom of my heart I thank you for a truly incredible experience – I’ll never forget this.” – Ohio State University Student, Buck-I-SERV 2019

“This trip changed my life. I feel more equipped to live a life with my values after learning from everyone here. I am so thrilled to go home and share what I learned.” – Ohio State University Student, Buck-I-SERV 2019

“I learned how important sustainable living is not just because of the environmental impact is has but also because it is also very economical. Hearing that Martin and Paola were going to make a mud house blew me away. Before meeting them I did not know anyone that lived a more sustainable life than them.” — University of Idaho Student, ASB Winter 2018

“Active citizenship and direct service can have deep impacts that help improve other people’s lives or makes their lives a bit easier. I was able to experience this first hand and it really drives in the idea of what you are doing. Once you see it in person you will only want to do more to help.” — University of Idaho Student, ASB Winter 2018

“On this trip, I learned that service is more easily accessible than I thought. If I see a problem or want to help a cause, I realize that I can find the people that can get me involved. I will also actively promote good and sustainable ideas since I got to learn about them in Uruguay and want to share with my friends and family.” — University of Idaho Student, ASB Winter 2018

“The world that we live in seems as if it is growing smaller and smaller and the way people notice this is through cultural diversity. People notice different mannerisms, customs, foods, language, clothing etc. These things are very interesting to me and I love learning about them and how they came about.” — University of Idaho Student, ASB Winter 2018

“I just wish I could do another one next year but there’s that whole graduation thing in May! Overall, this was an amazing and eye-opening experience.” — University of Idaho Student, ASB Winter 2018

“I wanted to tell you guys just how much I appreciated this opportunity and all I have learned from your family and way of life. I raved to my parents and all my friends about how much I loved Uruguay and all the people we got to help. I feel so lucky to have gotten to go on this trip and meet all of you. Currently in the process of setting up a recycling initiative in my sorority (baby steps) and composting all our left over food to the back yard area, to hopefully start a small garden! Moscow is cold, windy and I have yet to see the sun.  I could really use an afternoon at the beach and eating some of Pablo Jordan’s delicious food. I am so grateful for your hospitality and wish you guys all the best!” — University of Idaho Student, ASB Winter 2018

CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO: University of Idaho ASB Promo



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Ashley Colby, Director of Rizoma Field School:

Get in touch with me to organize your service-learning trip. We are a small organization with a limited number of spaces for alternative break trips, so we take great care to work closely with partner schools to cultivate an experience that is most relevant to their needs and specific interests, while bearing in mind the needs of our community partners. Get in touch today before all spaces are taken!

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