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Study & Serve: Love, Internationally

Love is meant to be shared. I have a love for both travel, and helping others. Personally, I changed my life for the better when I studied abroad in Florence, Italy in the Summer of 2012. I have certainly grown as an independent person from this experience, and cannot wait until I can get out of the USA again to see more of the beauty our world has to offer.

I also lived out my love of service when planning a “Zumba for Breast Cancer” fundraiser in the Fall of 2012. I helped gather women from all across my university’s campus to come together and raise money for a cause that touches home for most if not all of us. I loved both of these experiences so much, and was able to live them out with people that I loved.

Katie Imbriano, age 21 from Springfield, NJ is someone who also shares both of these passions for service and travel.

Here is her story:

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“I did a study abroad in Europe going into my Junior year of college and I went to Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, France and Luxembourg. It was the best experience of my life because I went alone, not knowing a soul and I was completely out of my comfort zone. I was totally out of touch with everyone in America. I didn’t have access to any computers or a cell phone—only a pay phone and calling card if they were around! I felt so independent. I did everything and tried everything. I didn’t hold back at all and it has since made me a more spontaneous and exciting person because I realized that I don’t want to play it safe and tiptoe through life because I’d be missing out on so much.”

Katie also participates in community service within her school and community at Rowan University in Glassboro, NJ.

“For community service, I’ve been involved in a number of different projects. The ones that have impacted me most are the ones where I can immediately see my difference being made including the Gift of Life House, Joseph’s Storehouse and the Ronald McDonald House. I love seeing the impact immediately and seeing the smiles on the people’s faces for the simple tasks we’ve done. It really means the world to me.”

Katie Martorano, 19 of Ringwood, NJ has a special story as well. She is studying abroad in Spain right now!

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YHM: Where have you gone and what have you done so far in Spain?

So far I’ve been to Madrid and Toledo. I couldn’t be more in love with Spain. I have also been to Granada. Every day there’s a new place to go, food to try, or people to meet. Granted, it’s all still new to me, but already I feel I’ve learned so much.

YHM: Why did you decide to study abroad?

I decided to study abroad because I really want to learn as much Spanish as possible. I want to be a teacher, and someday being bilingual will open up more opportunities for my career. But above all of that, I wanted to study abroad to challenge myself, and do something I never in a million years thought I would do.

YHM: How has it impacted your life so far?

Already, I can see how this experience has impacted me. I feel more independent, outgoing, and curious about the world. I’m always researching my next adventure or signing up for another tour…that is, when I’m not eating. Food is simply too good here.

YHM: How do you think it will continue to change your life?

Studying Abroad will definitely change my life. I’m passionate about teaching and learning Spanish, and Granada offers both and more. I can’t predict the future (I can hardly use the future tense in Spanish), but do believe that studying in Spain is a step in the right direction.

By Maria Lattanzio

Courtesy Photos

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