Alumni Spotlight: Suzanne Maggio


I'm a Boston College grad, a career social worker, a college instructor, a passionate traveler and a mother of two awesome sons. I'm the granddaughter of an Italian immigrant and hold dual citizenship with Italy. My favorite travel memories include walking through the Bouqueria in Barcelona, eating prosciutto and mozzarella sandwiches in the Piazza della Signoria in Florence and watching the New Year's Eve fireworks over the Colosseum in Rome.

Why did you pick this program?

I heard about Seeds of Learning from a good friend. She'd just returned from taking her high school students to El Salvador and her energy was contagious. I knew immediately that I had to go too. I'd done service learning trips when I was in college and I knew how life changing it could be. I met with the leaders of our local high school, and when I told them about the opportunity, they were all in.

What is the most important thing you learned abroad?

There's so much benefit to travel abroad. You expand your perspective. You see how other people do things. How they think. How they live. But going to El Salvador and Nicaragua with Seeds of Learning was life changing. It helped me refocus my priorities and follow my passion.

What do you tell your friends who are thinking about going abroad?

Don't wait. Do it. Do it often. It's important to experience life outside our borders. Travel will change you. I tell my students this on a regular basis.

What was the hardest part about going abroad?

Coming home. Truthfully. Re entry is hard, especially when you've been somewhere for a longer period of time. You've changed, but the place you come back to has stayed the same.

What's your favorite story to tell about your time abroad?

There are so many. The stories I find myself telling people are mostly descriptive, images that stuck with me. Like what it was like to walk into a house in a rural village in Nicaragua, the dirt floors, the wood slat beds, the smoke stained walls. A little pink backpack hangs on the wall. The food is simple. Rice. Beans. A tortilla made by hand that morning. The smiles on the faces of the children as they welcome us to the worksite each morning.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Just do it! You won't be sorry.

What made this trip meaningful to you, or how did this trip change your perceptions or future path?

I traveled a lot when I was young. I was fortunate to go to Europe several times as a kid and study abroad in college, but I hadn't really traveled out of the country since then. I'd been busy working and raising a family. That first trip with Seeds of Learning to El Salvador reawakened the passion I had for travel and for seeing the world. It refocused me. Help remind me what was important. I've since gone on two more trips with them, these times to Nicaragua and I've been back to Europe as well.