By Daniel Borge, Student Life Coordinator (SLC) at Verto Education
***This is an example of a staff member’s experience from Fall 2023. Specific programming and activities are subject to change semester by semester.
Hello, future globetrotters! As you dive into the thrilling adventure of studying abroad, get ready for a journey that goes beyond academic growth – it’s a holistic transformation.
First, let me introduce myself. My name is Daniel Borge, I was born and raised in Costa Rica, and I am a Student Life Coordinator (SLC) at Verto Education.
My journey started in agrotech as an entrepreneur, and for the last two years I have been working also in experiential education, which brought me here to Verto as a SLC. I love working with people and going on adventures of all kinds, and my role at Verto is to support students through one of their most life-changing adventures so far.
As your Student Life Coordinator, my mission is to be your support system, your guide, and the friendly face making your overseas experience not just safe but unforgettable. The Student Life team is a collective force, ensuring every student has someone to rely on when navigating the inevitable challenges of this international adventure. We’re here to encourage you to chase your aspirations and goals for this semester and beyond.
Let’s dive into the 4 key skills the Student Life team uses to build rapport with students.
1. Listening with Compassion:
In any relationship, personal or professional, listening is a superpower. Our ears are wide open to your thoughts, concerns, and stories. The beauty of focusing on listening? You, the student, set the tone and pace! Whether you’re a chatterbox or more reserved, you’re the conductor of this experience. By actively listening, we aim to understand your unique journey, tailoring our support to meet your specific needs.
2. Reframing: Transforming Your Experience:
“Your perspective will either become your prison or your passion”
We all have the power to choose, but first we have to open our eyes wide enough to see which one is the best choice. When you have lived all your life thinking A, something has to happen for you to be able to think B. Studying abroad is one of the best decisions you could make, because it’s literally changing all your surroundings and getting yourself out of your comfort zone.
New ideas usually come right away, but also you will start challenging old ideas, and that’s part of it too. Having someone to help you organize your thoughts and through empathy guide you through that decision making process is crucial, so a big part of our role is to help our students reframe their ideas and expectations when they become conflictive with who they are (or who they want to be) or what they want to do.
3. Tracking Progress Through Self-Accountability:
Studying abroad is a marathon, not a sprint. To make the most of this adventure, self-accountability becomes your compass.
How do we know if you’ve improved? By keeping track of success goals.
What’s a success goal? Well, it’s whatever you define it to be – from starting a club to making more friends. Together, we’ll set realistic goals and milestones, helping you track academic, personal, and cultural progress. Whether it’s conquering a challenging course or mastering the local language, self-accountability puts you in the driver’s seat of your journey. And guess what? Celebrating those small wins along the way? That’s just as important!
Verto’s experience is designed to be a Self-Authorship journey. In other words, you get to define the actions, expectations, and decide if pivoting midway to pursue another goal is the path to take. You take the lead, and we’re here to support you.
4. Embracing Radical Vulnerability:
In a world often veiled by filters and perfection, embracing radical honesty creates genuine connections. It’s important for us that you know we don’t expect flawless humans; instead, we embrace challenges and help you navigate them.
We, the staff, are not flawless either. You can always expect a professional and appropriate approach during both the good times and the tough times. By being open about my own challenges and emotions (while respecting privacy), I aim to show you that overcoming challenges, showing up to your duties, doing a great job, and finding meaning in what you’re going through are all possible.
Initially, it might be surprising to be asked how you feel by a student (usually, we’re the ones doing the asking), but it’s always an opportunity for us to show that we’re human, too. We all face challenges, and by being open about my struggles, I hope to create an environment where you feel comfortable doing the same. Together, we’ll navigate the highs and lows, ensuring you never feel alone in this vibrant adventure.
As you step into this new chapter of your life, remember that you’re not just a student; you’re a valued member of our global community. You’re about to embark on one of the most meaningful experiences there is, going into the unknown to discover an amazing treasure: a better and stronger version of yourself.
From the Student Life team and the rest of the Verto Community, I can tell you that we’re thrilled to welcome you when you join us, and we can’t wait to see you thrive through this experience. Buckle up- the journey is just about to start!
Want to see if a Verto start to college can work for you? Apply today to get started.