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Alternative Spring Breaking: The Importance of Giving Back

Laura Willits is a third-year student here at Cal Lutheran majoring in Marketing Communications and minoring in Math. As of right now, she’s considering going into Digital Marketing or Market Research. She possibly wants to become a professor in Communications or Psychology because with research, one can make meaningful impacts in the world. She’s from Seattle, Washington and loves to rock climb and travel. Laura is one of the Community Service Interns, president of the Happiness Club, and also has the Community Service position for DSP, as she’s a student ambassador.During her Spring Break, Laura went to Cambodia for the Alternative Spring Break trip! Read on to learn about her experience and time there!

Her Campus Cal Lutheran: What did you expect from the trip before you got there?

Laura Willits: I expected a cool experience, I just didn’t realize how cool it would actually end up being. I expected it to be hot, but not as hot as it was; it was super humid. One day it was 90 degrees and 90% humidity. This was just a lot to go through while we were working, but all of us were working together so it made it better.

HCCLU: Why did you decide to apply and go on the trip?

LW: I have worked at the Community Service Center for two years and I hadn’t gone on any of these trips before. First, I really wanted to see Cambodia and the culture. I decided to go on the Alternative Spring Break trip because in the U.S. there’re so many people but there’re also many other countries in the world that are suffering more than us, beyond what we could imagine. It makes you realize how lucky you are to be born in the U.S. and how, just that random chance, gives you the power to help other people who weren’t born into as much prosperity.HCCLU: What was the most memorable part of the trip?

LW: The last day we were there with the community, all of our group went and played “monkey-in-the-middle” soccer with all the kids in the community and I just thought that was such a cool experience. A lot of the people that went on the trip were also on the soccer team, and playing with these kids was cool, seeing that a sport could bring us all together. We were all different but it’s cool that a game can bring us close together, in a universal sense.HCCLU: How would you describe your time throughout this trip?

LW: A really awesome blur, it went by so fast. So much fun. It was definitely a lot of work most of the time, but it was one of those experiences, since you have so much work, it makes you feel so accomplished at the end of it. It was really cool how we could see first-hand how community service can affect someone’s life for the better.

HCLLU: Who was the house built for?

LW: We built a house for a man who has polio and has to live with his mom. They lived an hour out of the city, Siem Reap, and their house didn’t have a proper roof so when the rain season came, it would flood their house. They couldn’t stay in their house anymore so they lived in other places. Now he has a house that he can stay and sleep in.HCCLU: What did you learn from the trip?

LW: I learned a lot about Cambodia and their culture; the surface of their life versus our life. They’re very different; they have completely different ways to greet people, language, and culture. Under the surface, it was so easy to understand them on just a human level. It was really cool to experience that. Things that would seem so different in the beginning, but you end up realizing that people aren’t so different.HCCLU: Any advice for people who would consider the Alternative Spring Break next year?

LW: We had a book that we signed and put advice in. There is just so much advice like being open to a new experience and that it’s definitely a worth-while trip to go on. You always see Cal Lutheran, and this specific section of the United States, the culture and all of that, but with this trip you really get to step out of CLU and you see how the world is and how others are living.

Leslie Madrigal

Cal Lutheran '20

Hello, my name is Leslie Madrigal. I am a senior at Cal Lutheran double-majoring in Criminal Justice and Spanish with a minor in Ethnic Studies! Besides being a part of Her Campus, I am also the Co-President for the Latin American Student Organization, Vice President of My Generation My Fight, and Secretary for the Criminal Justice Student Association. I work on campus at the Office of the President as well as having an off campus job in retail. And I volunteer for the Safe Passage Program through the Criminal Justice Department.
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