Is Your Country Represented at Vanderbilt?
I love flags. Actually, I love flags, maps, geography, monarchies, governments, politics, and history. I enjoy staying on the blue and yellow wedges in Trivial Pursuit, finding new iPhone apps related to geography, making up endless games with friends to name each capital in Europe or each country in Asia. And I love to travel, of course – especially to places few people visit.
But even more than all the things I just mentioned, I love meeting new people and getting students interested in Vanderbilt. In my office, the walls used to be covered by maps – it was a sort of “War Room,” so to speak. I used the maps to plan my travel schedule, find out where my domestic schools were in each city, and make sure I knew each and every one of my schools. Late last year, our office decided to repaint our walls, and unfortunately my maps had to come down. I was gently reminded by colleagues that MapQuest or GoogleMaps would do the trick, but my walls couldn’t be bare, so what was I to do?
Not only do I get to represent the great states of Indiana, Louisiana, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, but I also represent students in 19 countries and French Guiana, an overseas region of France. This past year, I visited the Oriental Republic of Uruguay – are you as surprised as I was that it’s called the Oriental Republic? Besides visiting the Uruguayan American School where I met some fascinating students from all over the world, I also quickly found my flag at a local market. My traveling companions on the Council of International Schools (CIS) Latin American Tour have traveled with me enough to know that I need to find a flag for each of the countries I visit. Not only do I want to adorn my walls with their beauty, but I want my students to feel like a little piece of home is in the Undergraduate Admissions office.
Today, I have flags from Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, and Uruguay, and each of my flags tells a story. Whether it’s finding my Brazilian flag in the historical district of Salvador or spotting my Panamanian flag in a store window during a torrential downpour (but I still got it!), I’m grateful for my travels and meeting all of the impressive students at American, international, and national schools in each country. Vanderbilt could just send me to Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, and Mexico, four countries that send the largest number of students to the United States in the Western Hemisphere. But we believe the best and brightest students can be found anywhere, from Guatemala to Guyana and Belize to Bolivia.
Diversity is important to us as an institution. You might have read many blog entries or admissions websites that talk about diversity in ethnicity, geography, gender, or academic interests, but when we talk about diversity, we also mean diversity of places, experiences, backgrounds, and school systems. When it comes to Asia, for instance, we don’t just visit India, China and South Korea – we also travel to Nepal, Taiwan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Singapore, just to name a few. We want perspectives from all over the globe represented at Vanderbilt.
The same is true in the United States – we travel from Hawaii to Florida, from Maine to California, from Iowa to Texas. In the past year, our officers traveled to almost all 50 states. We are represented all over the country at college fairs, high school visits, evening programs, and coffee hours. Our international team wants to apply the same concept around the world. Is your country represented yet at Vanderbilt?
For more on Vanderbilt, contact your admissions officer or one of our Global Ambassadors – a group of current international students committed to educating others on how their lives have been transformed at Vanderbilt.
By: Andrew Moe, Admissions Counselor, Indiana, Louisiana, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Central and South America