Auburn Family

Auburn Student Reflects on ASB Service Trip

While Auburn University has many resources, one of the most rewarding is having the opportunity to travel abroad through the University.

There are three options when traveling abroad: to study abroad and intern abroad through the Office of International Programs, and to serve abroad through the Community for Community Service through Alternative Student Breaks. 

According to senior Megan Eldridge, who has both studied and served abroad, the most rewarding is to serve abroad.

“I studied in Costa Rica for an entire summer at Universidad de Veritas in San Jose,” said Eldridge. “I was also afforded the opportunity to serve abroad through Alternative Student Break's winter trip in December of 2014. Although it was only one week, I enjoyed spending time in the community of Santa Julia in Nicaragua.”

Eldridge explained that during a seven-day service trip, she got the opportunity to zip line, explore the local markets, take a boat ride at sunset, witness the first graduating class receive class rings and certificates and serve the community. 

“I enjoyed making friendships that I never knew I could,” said Eldridge. “I also realized how much we take for granted in the United States, such as running water, air conditioning and transportation.” Eldridge reflected on her stay in Nicaragua, saying that the community used water collected from rain to wash clothes, dishes and water the crops.

Nicaragua, located in Central America, is a third world country, and it is the third poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. 

Eldridge said a typical day of service included breakfast, a 20 minute bus ride to the local community, coffee production, building “pilas,” or water (rain) collectors, lunch and dinner. 

“The hardest barrier for me was not speaking the native language,” expressed Eldridge, who only has a beginner level of Spanish from studying while in college.

If you are looking to leave your mark, Eldridge recommends that you apply for ASB. “It is an experience that I cannot even begin to describe. Although I did not speak Spanish, I was still able to communicate with the community.” She said nonverbal communication as well the pointing and guessing game allowed her to connect with the culture.

Alternative Student Break's mission is to engage Auburn University students in an affordable, substance free experiential service learning project that encourages an understanding of pressing social issues in a significant way.

ASB plans trips during winter and spring break with two international trips and eight domestic trips. To apply for next school year’s trips, search Alternative Student Breaks.

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