Founder & Travel Designer

Karen Costa Hattaway


Our founder, Karen Costa Hattaway, was born and raised in Rome, Italy and ever since she was a little girl; she had the dream of moving to America in search of opportunities. Her exchange student journey started in 2010 when she participated in a yearlong program during her junior year of high school. After choosing the U.S. as the destination country, she was randomly placed in a host family in Woodstock, GA. “My host family and my local coordinator became my real American families well beyond my exchange year, and without their love and support I would not be where I’m at today,” Karen said during an interview. In 2011, she returned to Rome to complete her high school studies while searching for a way to move back to the U.S. for college. Thanks to her determination, Karen obtained a scholarship from a private university in Rome, John Cabot University, to go on a second exchange adventure to California State University Long Beach for a semester. After the program, she transferred to Kennesaw State University in Georgia on a merit-based scholarship. Upon her return to Georgia, she lived again with both of her American families (her former host family and local coordinator), and it was with their help and support that she was able to achieve many of the goals she had set for herself. Karen graduated in July of 2015 from Kennesaw State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications. Today she says that traveling simply changed her life, “Not only did my American Dream come true, but it gave me a new dream that goes way beyond myself: changing other people’s lives and making their dreams come true. This is why I started Life Beyond the Room.”