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For 373 individuals hailing from 35 different countries—the incoming fall class at the Monterey Institute—this week marks the beginning of an extraordinary journey that will set them on a path to their chosen career. Members of this year’s class are enrolled in one of the thirteen graduate degree programs offered at the Institute, are native speakers of two dozen languages, and bring with them a wide range of experiences and cultural backgrounds.

One of the highlights of the orientation week is spoken-word performance based on responses the incoming class gave on a questionnaire sent out earlier this summer, along with some excerpts from their statements of purpose. This year the theme of the performance was the important personal connections that students form with each other while at Monterey, and the close-knit community of MIIS alumni they will soon be joining.

So who are these people? Following is a snapshot of some of their responses addressing that very question:

  • “a wanderer, ponderer, dreamer, explorer” 
  • “a basketball mania nerd” 
  • “a Caribbean American” 
  • “raised in the military but quite the hippie” 
  • “I know what it is to be homeless and hungry” 
  • “I am from France. I eat way more cheese than the average person.” 
  • “I am from Shanghai, China. The tremendous change there lets me believe that I should never underestimate my potential”

…and hopefully they all agree with the student who simply replied: “I am ready!”

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Jason Warburg

Eva Gudbergsdottir