International Studies (B.A.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Darin H. Van Tassell


By unraveling a case study on Georgia Southern University's Alternative Break program, this research examines the relationship between empathy and globalization. Alternative Breaks are week-long trips, during University holidays, which facilitate and encourage direct service, immersion in a specific social issue, and guided reflection sessions. Four active Alternative Break participants and advisors were interviewed to outline accurately and depict their experience with culture-based Alternative Break trips. Their stories demonstrate an alternative to traveling abroad in order to achieve a sense of global citizenship. The research suggests that through empathy and direct service, one can become a global citizen without ever leaving their hometown. Through empathy, the mind and heart can travel anywhere.