Many students will spend their spring breaks sipping drinks on a beachfront, but School of Business senior Michael Marangell will spend his vacation volunteering with orphans in Bangkok.
Marangell will travel to Thailand with funds from a grant given to him by Florida International University. He is one of only two award recipients who are not students at FIU. The scholarship is sponsored by FIU’s International Business Honors Society and comes specifically from the society’s Global Leadership and Service Project.
Created three years ago, the program’s mission is to create leadership and service opportunities that encourage growth and development of young professionals by engaging them in international community service. The scholarships are funded mainly through student giving, local fundraising and FIU donors.
Marangell, an international business major with a minor in sociology, said he thinks this opportunity complements his studies at GW.
“(IBHS) is a group of people committed to the altruistic ideals of business on a global scale,” Marangell said. “When you’ve got people making a profit, you’ve always got people who are forgotten . This is taking U.S. kids, exposing them to ‘the forgotten side of globalism,’ and showing them how lucky they truly are.”
In preparation for his trip, Marangell has been fundraising and collecting supplies such as books, games and colored markers to take with him. Though he does not speak any Thai, Marangell said he does not consider language a barrier.
“Any fears I have by not speaking Thai are negated by the fact that compassion is a universal language,” he said.
Robert Hogner, the project’s developer at IHBS explained how the trip gives students an education in business.
Hogner said, “Students in essence run a small business, raising money, undergoing leadership training, being trained in working with children … all before leaving for Thailand they are ‘managing an enterprise,'” he said in an e-mail.