Coast Guard Academy: Class of 2018 international cadets

International cadets in the Coast Guard Academy Class of 2018 receive their future assignments during Billet Night at the Coast Guard Academy, March 9, 2018. The cadets are originally from Mexico, Honduras, Gabon, Panama, Thailand and the Bahamas. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Brad Clift.

Written by Petty Officer 2nd Class Lauren Laughlin

Here at the Coast Guard Academy, the presence of international students on campus means a greater range of options, perspectives and knowledge to add to the diversity of thought on campus, and interaction with these students is an important part of the cadet experience.

The Coast Guard Academy is uniquely suited to prepare international maritime leaders to address the most complex global challenges of our time; those that require transnational solutions and long-term cooperation between nations, such as polar climate change, protection of ocean resources, terrorism, transnational crime and disaster response and recovery.

Currently, there are 28 international cadets enrolled at the Coast Guard Academy.

There are seven cadets in the Class of 2018, four in the Class of 2019, seven in the Class of 2020, and 10 in the Class of 2021.

International cadets in the Class of 2018 come from Mexico, Honduras, Gabon, Panama, Thailand and the Bahamas.

“I love being at the Coast Guard Academy,” said First Class Cadet Silvia Rodriquez Rios, a cadet from Panama City, Panama. “Everyone here is willing to help you, and since it is such a small campus, everyone knows you by your first name. Not only do I get the chance to learn the American culture, but everyone wants to learn about my culture as well. Several classmates have traveled to Panama with me on vacation.”

Representing one’s country at a U.S. military academy is a special responsibility that can bring immense pride and professional reward. The Coast Guard Academy recognizes the importance of this commitment and provides exceptional resources to support the international cadets.

“My dad is an officer back home, and I see how passionate he is, which makes me want to bring my experiences back home and help out the fleet,” said Rodriquez Rios. “Both my parents are my role models; my mom has taught me to never quit.”

International cadets who graduate from the Coast Guard Academy are subject to the same rules, regulations and receive the same pay as cadets from the U.S. They earn a Bachelor of Science degree upon graduation and serve their own country for at least five years.

Since 1980, about 130 graduates from 40 nations have entered into military or governmental service after graduating from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. Several past graduates have risen to positions such as chief of maritime safety for the Philippine Coast Guard, Singapore deputy director of the Ministry of Education, secretary of transportation in Costa Rica, and Secretary of Estonian Ministry of Defense.

“My advice to future international cadets is that if you’re looking for a family environment, this is the place for you,” said Rodriquez Rios. “It is challenging being here, but it will prepare you for everything you’re going to come in contact with. Plus, there are a lot of international students from different parts of the world. There’s always a different culture to learn, and you’re never going to be alone.”

 

 

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