The transition from high school to college is a big one. The transition from high school to world-renowned private research university is gargantuan. With an ultimate goal of ensuring that all of its undergraduates make that transition smoothly and excel during their time at Vanderbilt, the College of Arts and Science pays particular attention to the acclimation of its first-year students.

“Students graduate from high school and wrestle with issues they haven’t previously confronted—time management, personal autonomy, personal responsibility, new academic challenges, new forms of academic and cognitive learning, and new social networks.”

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The Spanish and Portuguese Connection

Vanderbilt is one of a handful of U.S. universities offering a comprehensive course of study in Spanish and Portuguese, says Cathy Jrade, Chancellor’s Professor of Spanish and chair of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. That comprehensiveness emphasizes both cultural knowledge and fluency, with the result that the department’s graduates can now be found all over the Spanish-speaking world. In addition, a unique, more than 60-year connection to the Portuguese-speaking country of Brazil has made Vanderbilt one of the top centers in the United States for Brazilian studies.

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Chile Relationship Extends International Reach

Chile might seem a bit far to go for spring break, but in 2008, then-Dean Richard McCarty and a team of Vanderbilt faculty and staff made the trip as part of a university-wide effort to build research-based relationships with peer institutions around the globe. McCarty, Assistant Provost for International Affairs Joel Harrington, Department of Anthropology [...]

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International Finance with a Brazilian Beat

It’s 8:30 on an October morning on the trading floor in New York City. Fifteen people share a conference call to decide whether to announce a $1 billion bond deal for Brazil’s largest oil and gas company, Petrobras. The markets have been turbulent since July, but as I look at my computer screens, I see Asian and European stocks are “flashing green” (meaning stocks are up) and U.S. Treasuries are stable. I advise my Brazilian client to go forward with the launch…and fast. Three hours later, we have almost $3 billion in orders from investors—a major success! It’s exhilarating…I never imagined in college that I would work on Wall Street—in New York City—for almost 20 years!

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Change the World

One undergraduate travels to Jamaica to research whether the health clinic is open when the population needs it most. Another works with a local hospice. A third studies the effect of literacy on diabetics’ renal function. Vanderbilt has always strived to educate its students so they will go forth and contribute as leaders after they graduate. But why wait?

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Five Minutes With … Norma Antillon

“Norma Antillon is the glue that holds us together,” says Ted Fischer, professor of anthropology and director of the Center for Latin American and Iberian Studies (CLAIS). “She is our public face, the person who shepherds students through the program. She knows where our alums are and what they’re doing, and through her, gives them a tight connection to the center. When alums call, they always ask about Norma.”

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