Alternative Spring Break

Matelot, Trinidad and Tobago - Rooted in Community

During your time in Matelot, you will engage with Matelot’s primary school around STEM education and joint experiential learning opportunities. One of the issues identified by Matelot school teachers is that their students have few opportunities to experience life and learning beyond Matelot. This program will support their goal of increasing the number of field trips available to their students to hear about and see, first-hand, the ways they can apply their learning to real-life situations and explore career opportunities. The projects you will be involved in are identified by community groups in Matelot. This experience emphasizes human connections across cultures, and this influences what service looks like in Trinidad & Tobago.


Un Sustainable Development Goal 4 - Quality Education UN Sustainable Development Goal 5 - Gender EqualityUN Sustainable Development Goal 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities

Community Partners


Dates of Travel

Saturday, February 16, 2019 – Sunday, February 24, 2019 

Participant Numbers

  • 9 Student Participants
  • 1 Student Team Leader
  • 2 Team Leaders

*Note: this experience can accommodate up to 16 participants (including team leaders), assuming airline seats are available; however, this may mean additional participants pay an increased fee (based on new flight prices). 


  • Immerse yourself in Trinbagonian history and culture while living with a community on Trinidad’s North East coastal line.
  • Learn about the schools systems and structures influenced by colonialism, and how they have impacted traditions and cultures in Trinidad.
  • Stay with, and learn from, the Dorcas Women’s group, and reflect on gender inequalities in the region.
  • Experience the jive of Trinidad’s Carnival season with a visit to a steel drum pan yard.
  • Hike to one of the country’s natural trails and visit some magnificent beaches.
  • Visit the Caroni Bird Sanctuary and see the breath taking sites of the scarlet ibis coming to roost.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of the Alternative Spring Break program, students participating in this experience will be able to:

  • Demonstrate the ability to explore ideas, issues, and global systems from viewpoints other than their own, through reflective practice, group discussions and program activities
  • Work under conditions of ambiguity or uncertainty by engaging with community partners, community members and working as a team
  • Demonstrate an understanding of intercultural competence, sensitivity and humility by completing pre-departure workshops, activities in OWL and the ASB Reflective Practice Workbook, and engaging in the 1-2 week community-based experience
  • Compare and contrast rural and urban life in Trinidad & Tobago by spending time in Matelot and Port of Spain
  • Identify and differentiate between rural and urban constructs of gender, and the resulting gender inequalities that exist
  • Appreciate the Trinbagonian educational system and structures

Ideal Participant

This experiences does involve hiking and some physical activity. Your team will be exposed to a true local Trinidadian experience. The ideal participant will be interested in education and gender issues, as well as intercultural exchange with local community members. Students looking for a traditional service experience (e.g., teaching, construction) will find this opportunity challenging. The ideal participant is deeply invested in learning about another culture, and understands that service takes many different forms. If you are adaptable to new environments, and can operate on a flexible schedule, this is the experience for you.


Total cost (subject to change) – $3,200 CAD

Costs include:

  • Flight
  • Registration and programs fees with Amizade
  • Contribution to the project and comprehensive on-site support
  • Insurance (health, flight cancellation, baggage)
  • Transportation to/from airport
  • Transportation in Trinidad
  • Accommodation
  • Meals
  • Administrative Fee (t shirt, team leader contribution, journal)

Note: ASB participants will be responsible for any luggage costs assigned by individual airlines, airport tax, souvenirs, or additional food/snacks during the trip.

Preliminary Itinerary

Day 1 - You will fly into the Port of Spain Airport and spend the evening in the city exploring delicious street foods, finishing with a visit to a Panyard where you will here the latest sounds of Carnival.

Day 2 – You will travel to Matelot, about 4 hours from Port of Spain, where you will have lunch and dinner with the Dorcas Women’s Group, and tour the community you will call home for the next 5 days.

Day 3-6 – You will spend your mornings working with the local primary school in Matelot, finding creative, fun, and interactive ways to introduce Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths to the students. Part of the afternoons will be spent supporting community efforts on a landscaping project, in partnership with the local library (built by Western Students in past years). Other afternoons will be infused with local cooking classes, swimming, and cultural head-wrapping demonstrations.

Day 7-8 – You will be transported back to Port of Spain and, on the way, stop at the Caroni Bird Sanctuary where you will get to explore the swamp and see the breathtaking scarlet ibis, Trinidad’s national bird. You will spend the evening in Port of Spain before departing to the airport.

*PLEASE NOTE: this itinerary is draft, and subject to change at any time.


Amizade coordinates appropriate accommodations that reflect the atmosphere of the region. They do this by working closely with the Dorcas Women’s group, local guesthouses, and homestays. All accommodations are vetted by Amizade and are adequately safe and hygienic.


Participants will eat meals prepared by the DORCAS Women's Association in the main guesthouse. Food will be locally-inspired, and include a variety of rice, beans, vegetables, and meats.

All group meals on the program are included, and participants will be responsible for any personal snacks.

Need to Know

  • This experience does not involve travel through the USA.
  • You are responsible for ensuring that you have the required travel documents and travel visas necessary to participate in the experience.
  • If you require disability related accommodation, or have other special considerations, we encourage you to contact us before applying. We may require further information to determine how we can best meet your accommodation needs.