My name is Tiffany Green, and I’m a native of New Haven, Connecticut, in the United States. I grew up in a family where my parents pushed me to take advantage of opportunities, as they really wanted my brother and I to be the first in our family to attend college. Growing up in New Haven, the town where Yale University is located, allowed me to be curious, and to see intellect at its greatest.
After high school, I attended the University of Connecticut where I was definitely a curious student. While there I earned an opportunity to go to Cape Town, South Africa, for a summer, and it was definitely the start of something amazing — my travel bug had finally been awakened. Back at school I changed my major a ton of times, never quite feeling like one spoke to all of my interests. I ended up applying to law school and 3 PhD programs at the request of my advisors – but I was genuinely confused. After getting in, I decided to take a gap year to figure out my life’s ambition.
During this time I worked at a residential camp as a counselor and loved the idea of helping students succeed holistically. I applied to historically black Howard University, and it opened my eyes to see other Blacks doing amazing things: going on to become doctors, lawyers, pharmacist, professors, etc. They were successful, well-traveled and well-educated. It allowed me to see that the world was truly open. I continued to travel abroad until I graduated with my degree, next taking a job helping students adjust and transition into college life with the University of New Haven in their First-Year Success Center. It was a fantastic learning experience, as I had an opportunity to teach in their psychology department and run programs including study abroad programs.
After five years there, I went to work at an amazing school back in my hometown with students who were like me growing up: they would be the first in their family to go to college, and that they were! They defied the odds by attending schools like Harvard, Yale, and Stanford. I taught a college counseling curriculum to all seniors and supported their college application process by working with both student and family. After working there, I decided to rethink doing something that would allow me to live abroad yet still work in my field as a holistic counselor doing both college and emotional support. That is when TGS came into the picture, and I believe my entire life was preparing me for this moment!
I love to watch students explore and discover new things. As a counselor I enjoy watching students decide what their passions are by engaging in different subject areas. I think a student who figures out what they don’t like or don’t want to do is just as important in the discovery phase as a student who finds what they want to do. As a counselor, I enjoy hearing students dreams and aspirations, helping them design plans for the future, encouraging them when they come across a road block and celebrating them when they accomplish a goal.
I have learned the most through travel and immersing myself in different cultures and asking questions of different types of people that I have met along the way. I love that students here are exposed to different groups of people. This happens inside our own community, with our diverse student body and staff, as well as the community we get to study in each term. The best part about counseling here is that it is so holistic and the small amount of students allows me to really invest in their needs inside and outside of the academic realm. It’s cool to watch them grow — I am a huge fan of students driving their own learning. Their ability to focus on thinking and learning and not just assessments keeps the passion alive for education. I’m a geek at heart and would totally have loved to learn by doing and experiencing as a kid. I wish more students across the globe could get even a small dose of what the students at TGS get to experience for their high school career.
My most memorable travel experience was backpacking West Africa with a friend for my summer vacation a couple of years ago. As a Black American, there is a huge disconnect between those in the diaspora and those on the African continent. While I had visited the continent before, going to West Africa and seeing the slave “castles” was an insightful journey. It allowed me to make alive the history that I partly knew and fill in the gaps of things that would never be taught in a book. I think that is why hearing narratives from the original group of people is something TGS does so well. Not just relying on textbooks but talking to groups of people about experiences is so key. That experience in particular ignited a light in me to want to study more of the African diaspora around the world and the experience post slavery and colonization. I want to be able to teach anyone who is interested the true narratives of what Africa to paint a better picture than what the world currently sees.
I read a lot of books. A lot of them are my favorite. But the book that has been the most helpful in my life is “The Gifts of Imperfection” by Brene Brown. I think she brings out themes of vulnerability, trust and shame in a way that allows us to talk about our journeys in life even while we are imperfect. As a counselor, I am super reflective of myself and push the students to be the same way and I want to own all of me and be okay with where I am now, knowing it is not what I will always be and be strong enough to share all parts of my story knowing it will help people and make human connections much more authentic.
A passion for travel. A strong academic record. And the desire to improve the world as you experience it. If this sounds like you, you just might be our ideal candidate! Start your application with a five-minute inquiry form - you never know where you might end up.
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