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Why You Should Consider Taking a Service Trip For Spring Break

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Cal Poly chapter.

Most college students have a travel bucket list filled with beautiful locations that would be amazing to visit. Dream trips might include Bali, the Great Barrier Reef, Dubai, or Paris. Many people want to travel in college, but can’t because they are limited by their busy school schedule and lack of financial resources. But there is an alternative: service trips.


Service trips are programs offered by many nonprofits and universities, including Cal Poly. These trips offer you the chance to travel around the world, often at little or no financial expense to yourself. Instead, you “pay your way” by offering volunteering hours with community projects in the area you’re visiting. These projects are often organized by the institution offering the service trip and the local government that oversees the area you’re visiting. Service trips are a unique and immersive experience. Here are a few reasons you should consider going on a service trip at least once in college:


You’ll experience a new culture.


 Although much of your service trip will be spent volunteering, there will still be ample opportunities for you to explore the surrounding area and experience the unique culture of the area you’re serving.


 “I wish that everyone had the opportunity to experience a different culture, and to experience the developing world,” said Cal Poly alumni Sarina Consulter. “I get to live with the same host family each time I travel to the Dominican Republic, and they’re like actual family to me now.”


Related: The 7 Best Jobs If You Love To Travel


It’s a great resume builder.


 If you haven’t had the opportunity to take on many internships or jobs, service trips can be a great work experience sample to put on your resume. Service trips offer you the opportunity to learn how to overcome unique obstacles, use many different types of communication skills, and develop a unique sense of independence that comes from being on your own in a new country or city.


 You will also have the opportunity to develop technical skills, like speaking a second language and personnel management. These are in high demand among many employers, and can make you stand out among a sea of applicants.


You’ll get to meet new people.


 When you’re on your service trip, you won’t just be working with the people you came with — you’ll be serving alongside many members of the community you’re visiting. You will be able to connect with citizens of the area you’re working in, and possibly even make some lifelong friendships!


 Volunteering isn’t all about hard work — it’s about having fun too! You may find that you have a real passion for service, and connecting with like-minded individuals you meet on your trip is a great way to get more involved.


Related: 4 Ways To Save On Summer Travel


It could open you up to a new career path.


 Going on a service trip may open you up to careers you might not have otherwise considered. You may discover new hobbies and interests, and possibly even get connected with a job or internship opportunity through people you meet on your trip!


 Connecting with people from a different culture and performing service work will allow you to become more open-minded and better determine what you’re looking for in your work environment and colleagues.


 Visiting exciting places like Las Vegas or Orlando can definitely make for a fun spring break, but if you’re short on cash and want to travel, a service trip is definitely the way to go. With opportunities to see parts of the world you’ve never experienced, immerse yourself in diverse cultures and develop skills and abilities you would never learn anywhere else, consider taking a service trip during your spring break!

Audrey is a senior studying agricultural sciences at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. After graduating, she plans to get a teaching credential and master's in Agricultural Education, and pursue a career as an agricultural science teacher and FFA advisor. Outside of school, she works as a teaching assistant at a local high school. In her free time, she can be found square dancing, rocking out to Taylor Swift, or whipping up tasty treats and (attempting) to take a decent photo of them for Instagram. Facebook: Audrey Lent Twitter: @TheAudreyLent Instagram: @Audrey_Lent