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A College Where Brotherhood and Academics Go Hand-in-Hand for One International Student

By Marsha James
12 April 2006

Having an older brother share his experiences about Morehouse College played a part in Dalan Vanterpool decision to attend college in the United States. The other reason is “After finishing high school I already knew I was interested in going into some kind of business field and eventually I decided on Accounting," he says.

"But in general I was interested in Business and watching the news and showing how the United States kind of had I guess the best snapshot of business on a worldwide scale and the best opportunity for me to learn about business in several different countries while still being able to study in an English speaking country those are some of the main reasons why I choose to come to the United States as opposed to going somewhere else.”

Dalan is from the British Virgin Islands, which is one of the smallest Caribbean islands in the North East. Attending Morehouse, which is an all male college some may wonder how it is, well Dalan has nothing but good news to share about the college. “Contrary to popular belief Morehouse yeah, is an all male school, but I don’t think it is as narrow as people would think it is. The way it is situated in Atlanta University center I think I would describe it as an academic village,” he says.

“Going to Morehouse is almost like sharing one campus with students from several different colleges. You have Spellman College, you have Clark Atlanta University, you have a seminary college International Theological Center you have several different campuses kind of intertwine right there. Even though you are registered for one school, in my case Morehouse, you are able to share your experiences with several different students male and female from the different colleges,” he says.

“Another thing that Morehouse tries to impress upon you as soon as you get there is the idea that you can’t do things on your own. Well, one you can’t do things on your own and you shouldn’t have to do things on your own all the time. For one you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help and you should always be eager to help someone else,” he adds.

[And] “Morehouse I think one of the most unique things about it is its strong sense of brotherhood. Before you can even ask someone well how do I get to this place or where should I go for this someone can see the lost look in your eye and they come up immediately and offer help,” he says.

“I immediately made friends in the dorm who had cars or who explained to me this is how the highway system works in Georgia or either go here. Those kinds of things," he says.

"I think Morehouse for sure from the students’ perspective is a nurturing environment and that help me have a smoother transition.

Then the faculty. I think the faculty is definitely accommodating to international students. I came from an English speaking country, but a lot of the slang and a lot of the accents I had difficulty understanding in the beginning and I think a lot of the faculty they kind of expected you not to understand certain things and they were alert enough to see when your facial expression indicated that you didn’t get something or you may have misinterpreted what someone said so they were very accommodating with that as well.”

Accounting is his major however when he graduates this year, Dalan will get some experience in his field, but he says he also will work on his second interest and passion.... music. “I am an Accounting major right now and I think Accounting was probably the most best major that could apply to several different business situations. I have several different interests. I grew up in a business atmosphere. My family runs a grocery store back home in the British Virgin Islands so going into Accounting was probably the most powerful major that in terms of understanding business and trying to learn how to manage people and see how different things relate,” he says.

“In the long term after graduation this May, I am going to be working for Ernest and Young as an auditor, but I also have a strong interest in Music. I play the saxophone and flute and I am actually working on my album right now. But I think being in the United States gives you the opportunity to explore different interests simultaneously. You don’t have to narrow things down and choose….. ‘okay I am just going to go into one thing’. I am going to study Accounting or I am just going to do Music. There is a broad enough scope here for you to explore your interests.”

Dalan says the importance of receiving an education in the U-S for him is not just his studies, but the knowledge of learning other individuals viewpoint about life. “I think that for a person around my age the best thing you can do is try to get experiences from various parts of the world. For example here at Morehouse since I have been there I have had the opportunity to meet different people and you can sit down and talk to people from the British Virgin Islands, someone from Senegal, someone is from London and you can have one conversation about a certain topic and you can get so many different views," he says.

"If you are talking about the war in Iraq, you are not just going to get the United States perspective or someone from the Middle East perspective you get so many different viewpoints on the topic that it really forces you to not necessarily accept other people’s way of thinking, but at least open up to consider it,” he says. “That is one of the major things I am enjoying about going to school in the United States.”

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