MUDEC helped alumnus Gary Van Cott prepare for a career abroad

By Rachel Berry, Global Initiatives 

A headshot of an older manWhen Gary Van Cott left for Luxembourg in the fall of 1971, he thought he would just be there for a year, the duration of his study abroad program.

At the end of that year, he returned home, but as soon as he finished his senior year at Miami, he knew he had to find a way to go back.

Van Cott returned to Luxembourg as a tour guide the summer after he graduated, saying he wanted one more international experience before he “got serious” and found a job in the United States.

After that summer, though, he wasn’t ready to leave.

He found a job at an American bank and stayed abroad for most of his career, working for both American and international banks before transitioning to information technology (IT) work.

“Although I only took a few courses in IT at Miami, it was enough to prove to employers that I was educable, and I could make the shift from being a banker to an IT professional,” said Van Cott, who majored in psychology at Miami. “It was profound.”

Van Cott’s career spanned from Hong Kong to London, in a total of 21 years abroad. Nine of those years were spent in Luxembourg.

For the last decade of his time abroad, Van Cott spent between three and 18 months at each location. This experience allowed him to see a variety of countries and connect with people from all walks of life throughout his career.

“It’s obvious to me that the Luxembourg experience triggered that,” he said.

Van Cott sees the year he spent at the Miami University Dolibois European Center as a catalyst for his career abroad. He encourages students to pursue similar experiences, even suggesting that universities require students to study abroad.

“I’ve never met anybody that had a net negative experience while studying abroad,” he said. “I think it is critical to prepare oneself for living in this world as [a] citizen of the world.”

Lifetime Network

Over 11,000 Miamians have been a part of the 50 year tradition at the Miami University John E. Dolibois European Center in Luxembourg (MUDEC). There’s a network of alumni ready to help connect students with internships and careers upon return.

Want to study abroad at MUDEC?

Registration for fall 2020 ends April 1.

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