Feature Story

Letter from Abroad: Barcelona, Spain

Genesis Valverde, a junior majoring in communication arts/public relations and minoring in theatre and psychology, is studying in Barcelona, Spain, this semester as part of the Mount's Study Abroad program. Read her letter to Dean Harry Steinway:

Dean Steinway;

You don’t know the joy I felt when I read your e-mail. I am so grateful for all the opportunities and all the support that I have received from you and the MSMC HEOP staff.

Four years ago, I was in high school, praying everyday that I would receive an acceptance letter from any college. I felt afraid. I didn't want to stay and become what society expected a young Latina woman from the Bronx to be. My entire life, I had to work so hard for every little thing.

I can say with assurance and pride that MSMC, HEOP, and of course, you, are the reasons why I am the strong woman that I’ve become. A woman that no longer doubts in her talents; a woman that dreams big and works hard to achieve; a woman that finds herself walking in the streets of Barcelona with tears in her eyes, because she still can't believe that she is living it all.

As I make my way to volunteer at a homeless shelter located in "Las Ramblas," I realize that the only way for me to show how appreciative I am is to give back. Currently, I volunteer after school at a homeless shelter, where we provide food, water and a place to stay to homeless people, drug addicts, or those who have lost their way and are unable to provide for themselves.

I also work with immigrant children who know little English. I mentor, tutor and basically give them hope. Next week, I will start volunteering at a local hospital.

Many students go abroad to have fun. I felt the need to give back; to grow as an individual, and give to those who need, because you and HEOP took me in when I had nothing but a dream.

In April, I will be participating in a service mission in Morocco and living with a family. I am truly happy in everything I am taking part in. I’ve been networking with local nonprofit organizations, radio stations and companies as far as finding career mentors, and it has been very successful. I am constantly hearing from the program's dean that he has never met a student like me, because I am the first student to participate in the program to volunteer and network. I always respond with my head high:"I am a Mount Saint Mary College student. That's what we do!"

Every day, I ride a bike that I rented to school. This place is absolutely beautiful! I am in love with the culture, colors and people. This has to be one of the best decisions I've ever made, besides going to the Mount.

I miss MSMC and my MSMC family!


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Genesis in Barcelona