This January, I did my first service trip. I knew very little about service trips upon going, aside from what my cousin told me and a few of my friends who went on them. Regardless, the idea of them fascinated me. It was so different from anything I had ever done in the past, and it was something that I felt like I needed to experience. So I signed up for one.

To say I was nervous would be an understatement. I knew that we couldn't have our phones on us for the week, and I knew that the days would be long and the work could be hard. But I was determined to still go, and I am so glad that I did.

It sounds stereotypical to say that the service trip changes you, but it really did for me. Every day, I learned something new. The trip I went on did house repairs and cultural immersion. I had never done house repairs in my life, but now I know how to put up drywall and install walls and a tin roof on a porch. Even the one day my group stayed at the main site (where we slept and ate most of our meals), I learned new recipes and about household cleaners that are also environmentally friendly.

The cultural immersion aspect was very unique. One night, they hosted a community night: that is, when the program invites friends of the organization to come by our site to have dinner with us. Meeting these people, hearing their stories, and sharing a meal with them was an interesting look into their lives. When we were at sites, we would often take breaks to speak to the people we were helping. They were friendly and eager to talk to us.

The trip I went on was not just my school; there were three other colleges there as well. All these people I wouldn't have met otherwise I got to know on this trip, many of whom I still talk to to this day. It's crazy how something like this can bond people, but it was definitely an experience I will never forget.

The trip I went on was very welcoming, and was an experience I really needed to have. It wasn't easy work by any means, but it was 100% worth it.