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Alternative Break for College Students

Interfaith Encounters Alternative Break


“This was an eye-opening trip for me. I had to step outside of my comfort zone on multiple occasions, but when I did, it was so rewarding” —Student Participant, Messiah College.

A Unique Experience [offered year-round]

  • Learn about and dialogue with diverse faith communities.
  • Attend worship gatherings and meet with people of faith traditions such as Buddhism, Islam and Baha’i.
  • Meet the leaders and members of grassroots community organizations and understand what they do and why.
  • Engage in meaningful service work – participate in action for the common good.
  • Participate in structured skill building workshops and reflection.
  • Develop leadership skills, make new friends and deepen relationships.

“Each of the encounters and workshops pushed all of us to learn, question, and investigate who we are, what we believe, and how we – all G-d’s people – can and should work together to find and create peace.” —Student Participant, University of Maryland.


Students who participate in the Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia’s Interfaith Encounters program experience personal growth by confronting their preconceived notions of “the other”, which are then transformed into a deeper respect for diversity and difference which goes beyond mere tolerance.

Learn More: Read stories and watch videos from 2014 alternative break trips

What’s New

  • In 2014, the Interfaith Center welcomed students from Christian Temple Baltimore Youth Group, Alvernia University, Bryn Mawr College, Haverford College, Messiah College, Johns Hopkins University, Warren Wilson College, Prince George’s Community College, Virginia Tech, and University of Virginia.
  • In 2014-15, the Interfaith Center extends a welcome to students in the fall, winter, spring, and summer.
  • In less than one week, the students from Christian Temple Baltimore Youth Group visited a Sikh gurdwara, a Baha’i Community, a Buddhist temple, a Hindu temple, and a Sunni mosque. They also engaged with 4 different service-learning partners.


Video from University of Maryland’s Experience in Philadelphia:

For More Information

Would you like to learn more about our Alternative Break program?

Please contact Rev. Nicole Diroff, ndd@interfaithcenterpa.org.

Below are some documents that give you a more detailed look at a typical Alternative Break.