Valparaiso University provides life-changing Spring Break Service Trips

Valparaiso University provides life-changing Spring Break Service Trips

Valparaiso University offers once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for its students during Spring Break through the Office of Global Education. Additionally, countless departments within the university have programs available to travel to and serve communities in other countries while getting course credit.

“You actually get course credit for going on the trip. There are meetings throughout the semester before you go where you have different assignments and readings to complete and discussions that you do as a class. You also have assignments that are done while you are on the trip and afterward as well,” said Clinical Assistant Professor in the College of Nursing and Health Professions Grace Gass.

Service is one of the values Valparaiso University cares about most, and the university makes sure to provide its students with ample opportunities to serve the community both in and around Valpo and in other countries. Unlike other universities, Valparaiso University’s Spring Break is two weeks long rather than just one to accommodate these trips. 

Clinical Assistant Professor in the College of Nursing and Health Professions Rami Musleh led a trip to Morocco this past Spring Break. During the trip, the group visited a medical school and compared the education systems of the countries, explored different technologies such as telehealth pods, and had many more amazing experiences.

“In Morocco specifically, you see that the diversity is so immense, that everybody works as one, and everybody has this common goal of taking care of patients and learning to be the best at what you want. It's cool to see that, and you grow inside because of it,” Musleh said. “All nine of our students have said that they have grown as a person after their trips.”

Gass graduated from Valparaiso University and has been able to experience Spring Break trips as an undergraduate student, graduate student, and leader. The trips led her to serve communities in Chile, Thailand, Germany, and Costa Rica. 

The most recent trip to Costa Rica, which Gass went on as a leader, was one of the most meaningful trips of her life, and many of the students that attended have expressed similar feelings. An aspect of their service was a personal care clinic for a refugee population traveling north from South America. 

Students were able to wash the feet of the refugees, and this service along with the conversations that occurred was one of the most impactful moments of the trip, especially for students whose own parents or relatives had been immigrants to the United States through a similar process.

“One of the students said she asked one of the gentlemen she was caring for that day, ‘What is your dream for your children?’ because he had several of his children at the clinic that day. He said, ‘My dream is for my children to be able to be in a position like you are in where you can help people who are going through similar things like what my family is going through right now.’ It was such a powerful moment,” Gass said. 

This powerful moment impacted every student on the trip in realizing how meaningful their service is. 

“I think every student on the trip felt the magnitude of that statement, and I just saw it in all of their eyes that they're going to be taking the experiences they've had on that trip into their professional practices soon as they graduate,” Gass said.

These impactful trips and experiences are open to all Valparaiso University students and there are many opportunities for different fields of study.

For more information regarding Valparaiso University’s spring break trips, visit