A Look at a Typical Summer Day

What’s a typical day like on a VISIONS summer program? It’s a question we get often.

You might wake up to a chorus of birds in the mountains of Nicaragua, to a frosted landscape by the Wrangell Mountains in Alaska, to merengue music and urban roosters in a lively city in the Dominican Republic, or to a hot and sunny morning with views of the Caribbean in the British Virgin Islands or Guadeloupe. Wherever the morning finds you, and no matter what culture and community you are experiencing, there is an overall structure to the days that extends throughout all VISIONS programs.

Here’s a breakdown, albeit a general one, of what you can expect on a typical summer day with VISIONS.


Rise and shine!

The wake up time depends on the schedule of the local community, but considering this is the coolest time of the day (it can get pretty warm in the afternoons in some locations), we like to try to get to the work sites before the heat of the day sets in.

Breakfast is laid out by the Homebase Crew (more on that below), and it usually includes the basics, such as fresh fruit, yogurt, cereal, toast, pancakes, or eggs. Some days we make lunch in the morning to eat on location at the worksite, other days we come home for lunch.

Four days per week, you will choose your community service project site. On average, there are two to four different projects going at one time, and we break up into smaller groups—each accompanied by leaders—to go to work each day. Each VISIONS program has at least one construction based project. Additional projects may include running a day camp for local children, working with elders, and environmental projects (such as building trails or potable water systems).

On the fifth day of the work week, you will be part of the Homebase Crew with a few other students and a leader. This group wakes up early to make breakfast, cleans the homebase, runs errands, and shops at local markets to gather food for the rest of the day’s meals. It’s a fun day of being involved in the fabric of community life.

The Afternoon

We typically work until mid-afternoon, stopping a bit earlier in the high temperature locations. After work, we head back to the homebase to relax a bit, and then we often set out on an afternoon adventure. This may include a cultural activity, an artisan workshop, a stroll through town, scenic hikes, swimming, and playing games with the neighborhood kids.

The Evening

At almost all program locations, we hire local cooks to prepare evening meals. This way we can sit down to dinner as a group when we return from our afternoon activities.

After dinner, about three to four evenings per week, we enjoy circle time. Not only are we able to get to know each other better, but this is a time for participants and leaders to catch up and reflect openly about the volunteer and cultural experiences.

Other evenings we might spend some time at the town’s central plaza for an ice cream outing, have dinner stays with local families, host a guest speaker, enjoy a campfire, or spend time with neighbor friends playing cards and telling stories.

It’s then time to wind down and relax. You will be tired, so bedtime is a welcomed event!


Weekends are reserved for full-day excursions, travel and exploration further out, visiting some of the area’s most popular tourist destinations, such as Machu Picchu in Peru and Angkor Wat in Cambodia, or enjoying adventures, such as backpacking on the Montana Blackfeet or Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservations or ice climbing in Alaska. We also explore off-the-beaten-path places, such as rural villages, hot springs, and do day stays with local families in some locations.

Looking for more information about the VISIONS community service and cultural immersion experience? Check out our blog about Where We Live and another about the VISIONS Group Diversity.

VISIONS in The New York Times