USF Global Spotlight

Renata Gomes Martins

Renata Gomes Martins

Renata Gomes Martins, Class of 2020

December 10, 2019

Renata Gomes Martins’ journey to USF was not an easy decision, but one she knew was right for her. Growing up in a single-bedroom home alongside her parents and sister in Brazil, Martins sought the American dream.

“I had heard that the United States is the land of opportunity and knew that pursuing an education in the U.S. could dramatically change my life for the better,” Martins said. “I asked my parents if I could try to make this dream become a reality.”

Martins grew up playing volleyball, and after hearing about the opportunity to receive a full scholarship to play the sport she loved and study in the United States, she began reaching out for help while starting her application and immigration process.

“It took me seven months to get everything done, but it all worked out,” Martins said. “Even though I was only 16 when I was accepted, my family and I did not think twice about the opportunity. When I left, I didn't even have a cell phone to tell my family I had arrived safely. We were all scared, but I had to go for it.”

Martins acknowledges that coming to the United States is the biggest challenge she has ever faced, but still the best learning experience she could ever wish for.

Upon coming to the Unites States, Martins felt compelled to study abroad.

“Studying abroad allows us to see things we never knew existed. It can change people’s lives, and it certainly has changed mine,” she said. 

Martins traveled to Prague, Czech Republic this past summer for three weeks studying Operations and Supply Chain Management. She raised money by selling baked goods and creating a GoFundMe campaign. Martins was also awarded the Global Citizens Project Study Abroad Scholarship and the Muma College of Business Corporate Mentor Program Study Abroad Scholarship.

“It is an honor to know that people are willing to believe in me and to invest in me,” Martins said. “Their generous support inspires me to be the best person I can be every day.”

In addition to her Education Abroad trip, Martins also spent three weeks interning at multiple global businesses in Nairobi, Kenya. There, she took donations to children in schools in the Deep-Sea Slums to assist in completing their school activities.

Reflecting on her life after coming to the United States, Martin has discovered that giving back is the single most important thing someone can ever do, even if they don’t have the money.

“I’ve learned that it’s okay if I don’t have financial resources right now,” Martins said. “I can donate what I have, which is time and energy.”