30 Countries and Counting

Traveling is an amazing opportunity to experience new cultures, meet new people, and learn about the world. My name is Alex, and I am a Marist graduate from the Class of 2014. As a student, I never thought I would have ended up in the job I have now. I’ll explain the job later, but first let’s back up a few years to when I was making my college decision.


It was the last week of April and the May 1st deadline was soon approaching. Not knowing where I wanted to go, the best way to make my decision was to visit the two competing institutions.

305372_2357517610951_1245969152_nMy first visit at American University was accompanied by a tornado watch and flash flood warning. This made for a very wet, overcast visit. However, when I went to visit Marist it was 76 and sunny. Note that as much as it was nice to have good weather during my visit to Marist, this is not why I committed to the Red Fox community. What ultimately drew me to Marist was the Freshman Florence Experience. The Freshman Florence Experience was the opportunity for a select cohort of freshman students to spend their entire first year on the Florence, Italy branch campus. This was unlike any program I had heard of before and I knew it was something that I needed to do. Having the chance to study in Florence and travel throughout Europe during the weekends appealed to my adventurous nature.

Some of my favorite adventures during my freshman year abroad include getting lost in Moroccan bazaars, snowboarding the Swiss Alps, and biking around the canals of Holland. Each new destination, food, or word I learned during my travels in Europe helped me to develop a more global mindset. This adventure is what inspired me to spend my entire junior year in Beijing, China. Living in China for my entire junior year was much different than my year in Florence. This is a country with thousands of years of history, and is the birthplace of inventions such as paper, gunpowder, and glue. My most memorable experience in China was my ethnography class. In this class we took a 48 hour train ride from Beijing, China to Lhasa, Tibet. In Tibet we studied the people and culture in a politically contested region. There is no way to put this experience on paper. My abroad experiences have made me more aware of the global environment, helped me to smile when things don’t go as planned, and live in a state of wonder. That is why it is so important for people to explore new cultures and see the world.

I am fortunate that my job today includes aspects of travel. I am able to travel the world and share the opportunities offered at Marist to aspiring college-bound high school students. It is amazing to see the spark in student’s eyes when they find the school they want to attend and even more amazing to be a part of that process by working in international admission. I can honestly say that I would not be where I am today without the global opportunities I pursued at Marist. My hope is that students interested in studying abroad take a chance and say “Yes!” to adventures unknown.


alex-tomAlex Tom
Coordinator, International Admission & Recruitment
B.A. Political Science
Minor in Global Studies
Marist College 2014
Joined Marist staff in 2015

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