Bruins B'Olam: Noah Lizerbram
Bruins B'Olam is a blog series about Jewish Bruins around the world on Alternative Break experiences with UCLA Hillel. Alternative Break is a week-long immersive experience with students participating in community service projects with partner organizations. This year, Alternative Spring Break is going to the Dominican Republic on an education service trip; if you would like to join us or have more questions, please contact Jessica Jacobs firstname.lastname@example.org.
Being someone with a good amount of international volunteering experience, I was extremely surprised by how impactful my ASB trip was. Before traveling to Jamaica with Hillel, I have never felt more welcomed into a new community. Everything from staying in the actual home of a community member to being engaged in weekly town meetings truly made me feel like a real Jamaican. Unlike many voluntourism organizations, the program that ASB chose didn't hide anything about the community from us and helped us to fully understand the local environment.
Our ASB trip was the perfect mixture of learning, doing community projects, and having fun. Starting the day with helping 4th graders learn their algebra and ending it with exploring underground Rastafarian healing pools created one of the most diverse and exciting experiences of my life. Additionally, being with my Hillel group gave my experience so much more depth than I would have had traveling alone. Meeting as a group at the end of each day to reflect and put our emotions into words solidified my memories of the trip and made me think about my experiences with a newfound insight. I am happy to say that many of my favorite memories from the trip happened in our group sessions and gave me a new family on campus that I am sure will last throughout my college experience.