Profile of A Scholar: Vasiljon Cobo, SAS Class of 2010, Senior at Gettysburg College


Vasiljon Cobo traveled to Morocco with Gettysburg College  during his semester abroad in Spain.

1.)   What is the greatest opportunity you’ve taken advantage of at Gettysburg?

The obvious choice would be to say going abroad, but in reality I think the opportunity of interacting with so many different people from Gettysburg’s student body, faculty and staff is one that I value a lot and my appreciation for it grows each year. In ideas and views, the people on a college campus are very diverse and interacting with them has provided me with a better understanding of myself and society at large. The environment in a liberal arts college campus is very unique and it lets you grow as a person in four years in ways that might otherwise take much longer in a different setting.

2.)   What has made your experience at Gettysburg unique?  What does Gettysburg offer that makes it stand out from other colleges?

What really made my time in Gettysburg unique was the Intercultural Resource Center (IRC) and the way in which they insured that I would get the most out of my experience both academically by staying on top of my classes and completing every single part of the required course-load (thanks, Dean Curry[Dean of IRC]), and culturally, by taking a few, relatively safe, chances once in a while, like going to study abroad, and using that experience towards my two majors (thanks Ruth[Associate Dean of IRC]). The students there – far too many to list- made my time there a real treasure full of memories dear to my heart. Last but certainly not least, if there was ever a roadblock in my college career, Olga [Administrative Services Assistant of IRC] was there to solve it. She is an unstoppable force when it comes to finding a solution to anything.

3.)    How did you decide on your major?  Did you know from the first day exactly what you wanted to major in, or did you have to narrow it down?

I had a very vague idea of what I wanted to major in when I entered college, but I stayed on course with my required classes and slowly figured out what my interests were and what I wanted to get out of my degree. So it helps to both focus on the more tedious aspects of your courses while still thinking of the big picture.

4.)   Last summer you studied abroad in Europe! Can you tell us a little about your experiences?  Did it give you the opportunity to exercise skills that you’ve built in the classroom?

Studying abroad was a very fulfilling experience, particularly because I got to work on my language skills and I also got to have many different cultural experiences. To me it was crucial that I improve my Spanish-speaking skills as much as possible and fulfill other academic requirements at the same time. My destination in Spain was an excellent choice because it fulfilled both of those requisites thoroughly.

I also got to travel to many locations – altogether 6 countries and more than a dozen cities- and observe many cultures and see many places that I had dreamed of visiting as a child. In many of these countries I encountered people with whom I had to communicate in different languages, like Italian or Portuguese, and really got to build on my confidence in speaking in different languages.

5.)   Drawing from personal experience, what advice would you give to Philadelphia Futures’ collegian freshmen?

I would like to tell them, or remind them perhaps, that although it is fine to have a certain future in mind for yourself you must always remember that your life will not play out exactly as you expect it and the way to a dream is often filled with steps and adventures (and some adversities, too) that we could not possibly imagine in the present. Jumping off of that, I would advise freshmen to keep their minds open to many opportunities, as opportunities themselves do abound in college, while still having certain set goals.

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