Alternative Spring Break

Testimonials

Check out what past participants have said about their Alternative Spring Break experience.

2016

Coming soon!

2015

"Intelligence is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Knowledge is knowing not to put it in the fruit salad." - Miles Kingston ASB is having your own values, opinions and beliefs, but being open and accepting of the values, opinions and beliefs that exist around you. Just because you read about a culture, you do not understand its place in the world until you've opened yourself up and submersed yourself in its uniqueness. ASB gave me the opportunity to eliminate my biases through working with a very diverse team who had different values and experience than myself, it allowed me to leave my comfort zone with a group that I could trust, in an environment that needed us. I leave feeling empowered, grateful and full of reward.

~ ASB 2015

An experience that will open your mind and your heart!

~ ASB 2015

ASB has been an incredible experience and has enriched my university experience here at Western and I look forward to doing amazing work like this again

~ ASB 2015

ASB has something for everyone: the chance to do some good and to make a difference, the chance to travel to a new and different place, the chance to learn new skills and grow as a person, and the chance to meet new people and make new friends. - Praval "Al" Vatsya.

~ ASB 2015

ASB is a life changing experience and I strongly encourage you to take part in it. If you want to learn more about yourself, your community, and ways you can BE the change – APPLY NOW.

~ ASB 2015

ASB is an incredible opportunity to learn about yourself, contribute to a community and be part of a team composed of the most accepting, unselfish and kind people you will ever meet! It was a privilege to serve a community striving for positive change, and the benefits were reciprocated through lasting friendships and a better understanding of the self. ASB teaches you to be flexible, motivated and thoughtful in a very enjoyable week in a new environment!

~ ASB 2015

ASB is something special. Special because it is an out-of-this world experience which I will carry with me for the rest of my life. For me, it was about taking a leap of faith, and stepping way out of my comfort zone only to return more empowered and confident in my abilities.

~ ASB 2015

ASB is something that everyone needs to participate in at least once in their time at Western. It will put you out of your comfort zone in exciting new ways, teach you things that you didn't previously know about yourself, and build friendships that will last you a lifetime. I love every member of my Team Panama 2015!

~ ASB 2015

ASB teaches you about the world, the people around you and really instills the fact that you are not alone. You are part of a network of people from diverse backgrounds SES, and cultures. More importantly, ASB teaches you about who you are as a person and further solidifies what you find important in life.

~ ASB 2015

Being part of ASB, I feel, completed my educational experience at Western.

~ ASB 2015

If you have any concerns about going on an ASB trip don't think about them. I was personally very scared to go but I had the time of my life. My team was so amazing and the community partner was great. I encourage every student of Western to participate.

~ ASB 2015

If you participate in an ASB experience with an open mind and heart, you will return home with dozens of new friends, countless memories, and the satisfaction of knowing that you have embarked on a journey to become the best version of yourself.

~ ASB 2015

Poco a Poco- little by little; you have the power to make a difference in the world. ASB is truly life changing and indescribable until you are submerged within the magic itself. Not only do you help to make a difference in the lives of others even in the smallest way, you also experience feelings you have never felt before, see things unimaginable and become forever changed by this. It is one of the most eye-opening experiences through providing a sense of life in other cultures and communities as well being so rewarding to your own growth. The bonds you make between the others on your trip, the communities you work with and the organizations will touch your heart and change your life. I would recommend this to anyone willing to open their hearts, experience things unimaginable and learn in so many ways. ASB is extraordinary!

~ ASB 2015

Prepare to leave your comfort zone behind and discover new things you never imagined about yourself. ASB gives you a rare opportunity to get hands on experience with your career goals, while meeting and serving new friends.

~ ASB 2015

2014

'ASB provides students with real world experience and gives them the chance to escape the myopic view of the world that most Canadians have. It truly opened my eyes to what is going on in the world. Most people that travel to the Dominican go to all-inclusive resorts and have no idea that this type of poverty exists a short drive away. I feel that my views of the world and the way I think have changed and that I've grown tremendously as an individual. Some may doubt that this trip can change you in one week but after talking to my teammates, it really has to all of us. What a valuable experience and I would recommend it to anyone.' 
~ ASB 2014 

'ASB was a great, unforgettable experience! I got to work with people on a personal level, and really bonded with my team. It renewed my passion for service and is definitely something everyone should consider!' 
~ ASB 2014 

'ASB was one of the greatest, most eye-opening experiences I have ever had. I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to teach children and serve in the Dominican community. This trip was life-changing and I recommend the experience to everyone.' 
~ ASB 2014 

'Before I participated in ASB London, I often felt like I was not really a part of the Western or London community. I did not know the city very well, and I knew very few people outside of my faculty. By participating in ASB, I made personal connections with so many people and became part of a community. The service learning was an eye-opening and rewarding experience. I would recommend the ASB program to anyone thinking of applying.' 
~ ASB 2014 

'Best way to spend reading week by far.' 
~ ASB 2014 

'Costa Rica was amazing! My experiences allowed me widen my global perspective in ways I didn't think were possible. The love, joy, energy, and acceptance that we received were absolutely phenomenal! The people of Costa Rica have taught me so much about gratefulness, happiness, about letting the small stuff go, about living a Pura Vida! I will be forever grateful for this opportunity, for my amazing ASB team, but most of all for all of the fantastic people I had the pleasure of meeting in Costa Rica! Thank you!' 
~ ASB 2014 

'In reality, there is only so much you can do for a community in one weeks’ time. I did not go into Costa Rica thinking it would change my life. Nor did I expect to change someone else's. My goal was to make sure that what I worked for in the future, in health care and in life, would be well-informed by multidimensional learning and global perspectives. And that is exactly what the ASB program did for me. I am so grateful for the opportunity to immerse in a new culture, and to have my preconceptions both challenged and validated.' 
~ ASB 2014 

'It is hard to really capture in words, all the sentiments and experiences you go through in just seven days. No matter how I try to explain to someone what I learned, felt and took away from this trip, it really does not do it justice. Service learning involves the desire to learn and change just as much as it involves the desire to serve. Growth is something that needs to be experienced, and my time in Nicaragua did exactly that for me.' 
~ ASB 2014 

'The Alternative Spring Break at Western was such a memorable experience. I bonded with 40 students that were strangers to me before the trip and now some of my closest friends. The experience took me outside my comfort zone, to a new city, and helped me grow as an individual. It has motivated me to continue to explore and grow, travel and seek out new opportunities, and to give back to the community because I don't do it enough. I encourage every Western student to participate in this program because it will truly change your life. I only wish I had more chances to participate but I am a graduating student.' 
~ ASB 2014 

2012

'My eyes were opened to the poverty and inequality expressed by the Canadians in a neighbouring province. That is something that will stick with me forever.' 
~ ASB 2012 

'More than anything, the trip has inspired me - inspired me to become a more engaged and active global citizen.' 
~ ASB 2012 

'Nicaragua was an amazing experience. The opportunity to make new friends, experience a new culture, and make an impact on youth were invaluable. If anyone asked me to recommend a life-changing experience, it would be ASB.' 
~ ASB 2012 

'This experience will allow you to make a difference in people's lives, but more importantly it will allow people to also make a difference in your own life. You will come back a different person with a different perspective.' 
~ ASB 2012 

'Everyone told me that this would be a life-changing experience, and I didn't begin to feel it until the end of the week, but it hit me hard. Between the service work and the people I bonded with in the Western community, this was quite possibly the most valuable experience of my university career.' 
~ ASB 2012 

2011

'Simply life changing. I know that my life will not be complete unless I return to Costa Rica as a physician, then I can facilitate change.' 
~ ASB 2011 

'Eye-opening & behavior-changing. This experience was absolutely phenomenal and will stay with me forever.' 
~ ASB 2011 

'ASB made me realize what I want to do in life. I didn't think the experience would have such a strong effect on me, but I have thought a lot about community and how I can help people since coming home.' 
~ ASB 2011 

2010

'For a while now, I've felt as though I had a heaping pile of twigs & grass in front of me, but no spark to ignite a flame. All I needed was one match for that fire to begin to burn, and ASB gave me a blow torch. Because of the ASB experience, my passion and motivation to act is lit, and I can use the resources that I've been building up all these years to BE THE CHANGE.' 
~ ASB 2010 

'ASB changes lives. It takes the pictures, statistics and facts from a textbook and brings them to life. It also takes you beyond that to a point where you realize how there is so much more to the world then what we know and are taught. It is so important to get out there and experience something new. ASB bursts the Western Bubble!' 
~ ASB 2010 

'I don't really have the words to describe ASB. It immerses you in a different world, it challenges you in the most meaningful ways, and it can inspire and direct you for the rest of your life into living a life of meaning and fulfillment. More people should get a chance to experience this.' 
~ ASB 2010 

'If I was to fully describe the details of my experience, it would take me another week. If I was to tell you what I obtained from it and all of the feelings running in me during my experience, it would take me even longer. But one thing I can ensure anyone who has ever wondered about the ASB program is, you have to truly want to learn more about the people around you who you might have gone unnoticed before, and have a desire to do something for them in order to fully understand who you are and where you are standing in this world. This is the only way you can take something from this program.' 
~ ASB 2010 

2009

'I am thrilled that I stayed in London for my experience as I am continuing to go back to volunteer and therefore I know that I will make a bigger difference. The experience opened my eyes to some of the things that people are going through less than 10 minutes away from campus.' 
~ ASB 2009 

'A week ago, 20 Western students were unknowingly walking past each other in the UCC, but in a few days we built a union, provided resources for the future of a school, and cultivated friendships and experiences that will be with us long after graduation.' 
~ ASB 2009 

'I found something in me that I didn't know was there; it was the confidence to use the gifts I have been blessed with to create positive change for others. ASB was an eye-opening experience, but more than that it was a behaviour-changing experience.' 
~ ASB 2009 

'ASB was a stepping stone for me - a really big stepping stone - full of incredible individuals that I didn't realize I'd been sharing a campus with all this time. There are 52 weeks in a year but ASB helped me make sense of the other 51.' 
~ ASB 2009 

'A whole other level of the university experience is brought about by this trip. You learn why you go to university and study. You learn about people and the amazing connection that you can make with them, regardless of all barriers. You learn that there is a world out there bigger than yourself.' 
~ ASB 2009 

'I truly learned the value of 'serving,' and realized it is all about sharing (our ideas, values, insights, perspectives) to incorporate everyone's needs and ultimately establish equity.' 
~ ASB 2009 

'ASB taught me, no matter how big or how small an impact we think we are having, by reaching out to another human being - in a humane and caring manner - we can change our lives as well as theirs.' 
~ ASB 2009 

'I am no longer lost. I am on the right road to my future.' 
~ ASB 2009 

2008

'I am in the Health Sciences program at Western and (the Costa Rica experience) showed me some of the demographic and health care issues that are discussed in class, but I could never imagine. ASB provided a hands-on application of what I have learned in class, and added many factors that will influence my future career choice.' 
~ ASB 2008 

'This made me look at the big picture. Being in science and studying things at the molecular level over the last few years had made me forget the overall reasons for scientific research - to help people.' 
~ ASB 2008 

'We actually got to see some textbook concepts come to life. It made some of our course material seem so much more relevant and applicable.' 
~ ASB 2008 

'As a Political Science student I was given the opportunity to experience first-hand political and social conditions that I had read about and studied. It helped to provide a deeper understanding and perspective.' 
~ ASB 2008 

'This was by far the best thing I have ever done, and I know that I will be going back (to the Dominican Republic) - hopefully for a long internship!' 
~ ASB 2008 

2007

'What a week! I have never worked on such a worthwhile project in my life, and I'm proud of what my team accomplished - in terms of construction, friendships, and reflections. I can't wait to do it again next year!' 
~ ASB 2007 

'It is an amazing experience that nobody should give up the chance to participate in. It is life-changing. It is about being aware, not just of other people, but also of yourself.' 
~ ASB 2007 

'I think part of why my experience was so valuable was because I was able to share it with others that have the same values and priorities as myself. Although our team was extremely diverse and different, we all share the same passion to make a difference.' 
~ ASB 2007 

'I cannot stop thinking about, talking about, feeling emotions about, writing about, or reminiscing about this experience.' 
~ ASB 2007 

'ASB helped me understand the power of individuals, and how volunteer organizations really depend on one person at a time to carry out the valuable work that they do.' 
~ ASB 2007 

'My personal experience (with ASB) surpassed all of my expectations in a number of ways. Everything was so organized and well-planned that getting the most out of it took little to no effort at all! I have only the fondest memories looking back.' 
~ ASB 2007 

'I am now more appreciative of the things I have been blessed with and am also more aware of the types of issues that contribute to worldwide social injustice.' 
~ ASB 2007 

'This trip has impacted me in a way that no other 1-week experience has. I met 25 great people who I learned a lot from. I feel inspired to do what I can, in every little and big way, to make the world a nicer place for everyone in it.' 
~ ASB 2007 

2006

'We take courses, and study poverty, and know that there are people in this world who are in great need of better education, housing, food supplies. However, working with Habitat showed me that there is more to life than books. Studying is a means to gain the skills that will allow us to serve our community better.' 
~ ASB 2006 

'When I look back on my first year of university, most other experiences will pale in comparison to the change this has caused in the person I am, and the amazing impression it has left on me about what I am capable of... and what the rest of the world holds for me.' 
~ ASB 2006 

2005

I am more sure than ever before that whatever future career I choose, it has to involve helping people and making an important difference in their lives. This trip has made me more focused on my goal of becoming a doctor, and provided great motivation to keep studying hard. Learning at Western has mostly been in academic areas, but this trip has helped me learn more about myself, and the world. 
~ ASB 2005 

'You come back with a whole new perspective on life and you carry it with you in everything you do.' 
~ ASB 2005 

Faculty and Staff Advice

'This was one of the most meaningful experiences in my life! The students were focused, enthusiastic and dedicated. They participated actively in a cause that continues to be both personally rewarding and selfless. As one of the adult leaders, I also appreciated the reflective nature of the program, the detailed organization at the university level and the spontaneous group energy that evolved. Above all, it was fun! Service learning is now part of my life!' 
~ Jim Rule
Faculty of Education 


'The ASB experience was rewarding in many ways. It gave me a chance to meet students from other faculties. I was able to see a side of students that can't be seen in lecture format classes. I learned a lot about service learning and how it can deepen the student experience; the reflection component was particularly valuable: I could see very clearly how the students were affected by what they saw and heard.' 
~ John Braun
Department of Statistics 
and Actuarial Sciences 


'I had the opportunity to be a trip leader for 40 phenomenal students from this university. Seeing them learn and interact with each other in a setting that most have only seen in movies truly highlighted the passion, drive and emotion that prompted them to sign up for the experience in the first place. I was able to interact with students in a way unlike any other,and in a place unlike any other.' 
~ Blake Fleischacker
Residence Manager
Housing & Ancillary Services 


'Serving as a faculty leader for the 2009 Alternative Spring Break in Guatemala was a wonderful experience for me as a university teacher, an opportunity to witness first hand the dedication of Western students to the good of the community, and to develop skills as a facilitator of transformational learning that I will be able to take back to the classroom.' 
~ Jeff Tennant
Department of French Studies 


'I've talked about my ASB experience and the importance of service learning in class at least seven or eight times since coming home. I find that even students who've never considered this sort of thing are intrigued by it, and that they respond enthusiastically to the idea that what we do in the classroom matters precisely because it equips us to serve and learn in the larger world.' 
~ 2011 Team Leader