Where in the World is Miami Wednesday (Alumni Edition) : Brazilian International Student

By Fatimata Ndiaye & Halie Best

In this week's, Where in the World is Miami Wednesday, we meet Vince, a Miami alum from Brazil. Since graduating from Miami in 2011, Vince has lived, studied, and worked all over the world — Sweden, South Africa, Malta, Mozambique, Angola, and currently Lebanon, where he is working towards a second Master's degree in International Humanitarian Action.

Vince chose to attend Miami University due to its global focus and opportunities since he has always had a passion in international relations. He attributes his education, inspiring professors, and experiences at Miami to his success in international politics and humanitarianism post-graduation. 

Vince Ribeiro

Name: Vinicius (Vince) Ribeiro

Graduation Year: 2011

Majors: Political Science & International Studies 

Minor: French

Home Country: Brazil

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Hi! My name is Vinicius and I'm originally from Brazil. I'm a passionate political scientist, scuba diver, Latin dancer, and humanitarian worker. In my free time you will either find me traveling, instructing kizomba, or advancing in my diving career.

Vince Ribeiro

Where do you live now?

I currently live in Beirut, Lebanon, where I am doing the third semester of the NOHA Joint Master's program in International Humanitarian Action at the University of Saint-Joseph.

How did you get to know about Miami University and what made you choose it?

I learned about Miami through a friend who was already studying there as I was a senior in high school. He told me about Miami and the fact that it has a center in Luxembourg. As I was already interested in continuing my international career and discovering other parts of the world, I didn't hesitate for a second to apply. Luckily, I got in.

Describe your career path since graduating from Miami University.

Since I graduated from Miami University in 2011, I went on to get a Master's degree in Politics and International Studies at Uppsala University in Uppsala, Sweden. During and after my master's, I did a few internships at NGOs like the Swedish Red Cross and the Swedish UN Association.

Since 2015, I have been working part-time as a Research Assistant at the Department of Government at Uppsala University and as an Infographics Developer at the Delegation for Migration Studies, within the Swedish Ministry of Justice. In 2015, I worked as an International Peace Observer for the Swedish Fellowship of Reconciliation in Colombia. For six months in 2016, I also worked for the NGO Africa Groups of Sweden in Johannesburg, South Africa. This NGO sponsors the work of local NGOs working with Sexual and Reproductive Rights, as well as Land Rights.

Vince and fellow members of the Africa Groups of Sweden pose for a photo

At Africa Groups of Sweden, I often worked as a liaison for the organization's local partners in Mozambique and Angola. I've continued to work at the Department of Government at Uppsala University, and am currently pursuing my master's in International Humanitarian Action. With this Master's, I've also had the chance to live in Malta, and now Lebanon.

How did Miami University help you pursue or prepare you for this career path?

Classes at Miami helped me pursue my career by teaching me a great deal about the different political systems around the world, about cultures and traditions in parts of the world which I had never visited, as well by teaching me to stay in touch with ongoing political developments. I'm also very thankful to all the language classes - French, German and Italian - I took at Miami. My teachers were very inspiring and these languages have served me well in my international career.

Who was your favorite professor and why?

I think my favorite teacher, or rather teachers, at Miami University were (1) Walt Vanderbush, who opened my eyes and made me think more critically about the developments in my home region, Latin America. I took a class in US-Latin American Relations with him; and (2) Sheldon Anderson, who taught European history with so much enthusiasm that you simply couldn't leave his classroom without loving the subject a little more every time.

Vince reading a newspaperWhat was your most memorable experience at Miami University?

My most memorable experience at Miami, as cheesy as this sounds, was being surrounded by nature and squirrels wherever you went. The campus is just so beautiful. I also really loved the one time Miami invited the Dalai Lama to hold a talk - that was certainly memorable. This is probably cliché, but graduating was also quite a big deal for me. Sitting in that stadium, thinking about my future endeavors, seeing my friends one last time. It was quite a powerful moment.

In your experience, what was the biggest difference between your home country and the US?

The biggest difference between my home country and the U.S…. there are just so many, but the biggest one was probably social interaction. Latinos are generally easier to get along with in my experience. Americans, especially at university, are often quite focused on their own lives. Becoming life-long friends with them isn't always so easy. But then, when you get to a club, you also experience a whole different culture because Americans have a very special way of dancing.

Vince dancing

What about the biggest similarity between your home country and the US?

As funny as this may sound - and I think I've said this a few times to different friends - I think the biggest similarity between Brazil and the U.S. for me is probably the fact that these are both countries that belong to the so-called New World. The other thing that definitely hits the eye is of course the melting pot that exists in both countries, where immigrants from all over the world have come together in the pursuit of a better life.

What was your favorite place to hang out on campus or uptown?

My favorite place to hang out uptown was definitely Kofenya Coffee. On campus I would say it was probably Shriver Center, which at the time was the University's main building.

Where was your favorite place to eat on campus or uptown?

My favorite places to eat on campus were Clawson Hall and Shriver Center. Their food was always delicious. Uptown, I loved getting myself some Indian food at Krishna Carry Out. As funny as this may sound, their food kind of reminded me of food back home.

Vince sits with a friend on a balcony

Are you still keeping in touch with people (friends, professors, mentors) you have met during your time at Miami?

I'm still in touch with a few goods friends I made while at Miami. I've even visited them in Italy, Kyrgyzstan and the U.S., and they have been to Brazil on vacation with me. I'm also friends with a couple professors on Facebook.

What advice would you give to someone who is considering pursuing a bachelor's degree at Miami University?

If you are thinking about pursuing a bachelor's at Miami, don't think twice! The combination of quality education, a beautiful campus, and many fun cultural activities will make you fall in love with this place. I cannot think of a better place to study and stayed focused than at Miami. At Miami, the professors will always be there for you, making sure to keep you abreast of things, and never letting you fall.

What does Love & Honor mean to you?

Love and honor is a cycle. Love what you're doing, the people you meet, and appreciate the effort that every professor puts into making the best out of every single lecture, and honor the education you have received, the friendships you have made and spread the love.


Catch us next week as we continue to travel around the world to feature the amazing opportunities that Miami students are taking and the experiences our alumni have had since graduating!

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