Volunteering, Studying Abroad Bring New Perspectives for York College Students
Delaney Bartholow ’24, Abbey Brown ’24, and Gabrielle Haring ’24 embarked on a semester-long overseas adventure in spring 2023 to expand their academic horizons and engage in meaningful volunteer work.
Studying abroad provides an exhilarating opportunity to explore cultures, broaden horizons, and gain valuable life experiences. For three York College of Pennsylvania Graphic Design majors, their semester in Milan, Italy, proved to be a transformative journey.
“I feel like studying in Milan has just allowed me to be open to anything now,” says Delaney Bartholow ’24.
Embracing openness and adventure
Delaney, from Westminster, MD, initially had reservations about studying abroad, but her desire for something more in her college experience led her to seize the opportunity. The exposure to diverse cultures and experiences has instilled in her a willingness to take chances.
“I think with having a career in photography, it will help me be more adventurous and take more risks,” she says.
The most challenging aspect of the trip for Delaney was being away from her loved ones. She found solace in creating a supportive community in Milan, and having fellow students Gabrielle Haring ’24 and Abbey Brown ’24 by her side brought a comforting sense of familiarity. Delaney cherishes the memories she made during her stay, having traveled to numerous captivating destinations across Italy and elsewhere in Europe. Her advice to students is to take the leap and embrace the opportunity to study abroad, as these experiences provide lifelong memories.
In a blog post for SAI, a company that arranges study-abroad programs, Delaney outlined 17 of her overseas adventures, including side trips to Rome, Pisa, and Greece.
A new spin on service
Gabrielle, an Eisenhart Scholar* from Allentown, PA, embarked on her adventure in Milan with a passion for service. Gabi had always wanted to study abroad and savor new experiences.
“I believe that new sights and sounds are impactful in both subtle and obvious ways,” she says. “I believe that the time I spent abroad will encourage me to continue to reach, avoid complacency and experience life in an adventurous way.”
Along with their studies, Gabi and Delaney engaged in volunteer work at an organization called Mutuo Soccorso, providing hot meals, toiletries, and other essentials to the homeless population of the city.
Gabi and Delaney relished the chance to make a difference and contribute to the community through their service. As an Eisenhart Scholar, Gabi regularly incorporates volunteerism into her life.
“I am forever grateful for the opportunity to continue my passion for service while abroad,” Gabi wrote in a blog post for SAI.
Growing outside her comfort zone
Abbey, from Stewartstown, PA, chose to study in Milan to challenge herself and explore the world beyond her comfort zone. She missed her family and friends initially, but she adapted by communicating regularly with them. Throughout her journey, Abbey discovered the joys of traveling, meeting people, savoring diverse cuisines, experiencing various cultures, and forging lifelong friendships.
“Coming from a small town in PA with cows in my backyard to living in a big city like Milan was a huge change for me,” she says. “It was scary and nerve-racking, but I don’t regret studying abroad at all. It was one of the best experiences and choices that I have made in my life, and I would go back tomorrow if I could.”
The most rewarding part of being overseas for Abbey was her personal growth. The realization that she didn't want her time abroad to end highlighted the profound impact Milan had on her. Abbey believes this experience will shape the remainder of her college journey, providing her with newfound confidence and resilience. She encourages students to take such opportunities, regardless of their backgrounds or apprehensions.
Through their adventures, challenges, and acts of service, these York College students discovered personal growth, developed resilience, and gained a broader worldview. By venturing into the unknown, students can create lifelong memories, nurture personal development, and cultivate a deeper understanding of the world around them.
“Take the risk,” Abbey says, “and go for it if you have the opportunity.”
Learn more about York College’s varied study abroad opportunities—short-term, faculty-led trips; semester-long placements; Summer and January Intersession programs; and international internships—here.
*York College works with the Honors Community from day one to help them form their dreams into a personal mission, which is supported with financial and other assistance. They leave York College with a record of achievement that will gain the attention of employers, graduate schools, or others who provide entry into the next step in the extraordinary lives they imagine for themselves.