Date of Award



Julie Kim

Second Advisor

Oneka LaBennett


College spring break has become a popular event that lasts for a week or two each year in March. The partying and drinking that occur on the beaches of popular North American vacation destinations may seem unrelated to the prostitution found in Amsterdam’s red light district. What, if anything, do travelers to these two different destinations have in common? Recent scholarship has argued that it is necessary to expand the definition of ‘sex tourism.’ Scholars have also researched college students’ behaviors during spring break trips. These studies show that students engage in drinking and sexual behaviors that pose threats to their health. However, there is a lack of scholarship that associates spring break with sex tourism. This project reviews literature on each topic. Then, it examines spring break in the media by reviewing MTV’s portrayal of the yearly event in the show Spring Break. Finally, the project analyzes a survey conducted in October 2011 that asked college students about their actual spring break experiences. By expanding the definition of sex tourism and considering students’ spring break experiences, the project argues that although students may not consider themselves sex tourists, spring break is a type of sex tourism.