Students explore the Spanish-speaking world

This past summer the world became a little bigger for three Decatur seniors.

Sarah Stubbs, Vito Antinozzi, and Rachel Glasser all went to different Spanish-speaking countries over the summer to volunteer, translate, and become immersed in the culture, respectively.

 For Antinozzi, the trip began with a simple Google search.

 “I was looking for a trip to [Nicaragua], and I found a group that needed a translator. They found one in me,” he said.


He started the trip hoping to make an impact in the third-world country, but his experience turned into a completely different one than he had planned.

“Those people helped me discover myself and my true calling, something I can never repay them for,” he said.


Stubbs went as part of a project helping refugees between Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

“Sometimes Haitians cross the border as illegal immigrants, but when they have kids in the Dominican Republic, those children aren’t citizens of either country,” she said. “So they are confined with their parents to this one square mile ‘no-man’s-land’ in some of the worst conditions you can imagine.”


She plans to return in Feb. 2014 to distribute water filters and biomass stoves with a program sponsored by the Caribbean Sustainability Institute.


As for Glasser, she went to Panama to experience the culture as part of an immersion program.

“I found this study abroad program for high schoolers called Habla Ya which was both legit and affordable,” she said. “I stayed with a host family in this small mountain town called Boquete for the whole month of June.”


To assist with the cost of the trip, Glasser applied for and received a student EdVenture grant from the Decatur Education Foundation. Her hard work paid off in the form of such a memorable trip which she hopes future study abroad students will be able to experience.

“I worked to raise the remaining needed funds. If you want it to, everything can come together,” she said.