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So You Want to be a Cadet Tour Guide?

(Choosing the Academy, Class of 2020) Permanent link   All Posts
Eric Noble

The U.S. Coast Guard Academy has a beautiful campus. Founded in 1876 and located in the shoreline of New London, Connecticut, the Academy has a lot of history and visual treats to offer. As a matter of fact, many visitors come to the Academy throughout the week. They come from various backgrounds: from the parents of cadets; prospective cadets; visiting athletes; guest speakers; and previous Coast Guard personnel who drop by from time to time. We also get a good number of international tourists aside from the regular influx of domestic visitors. Upon observing this, I was intrigued and wanted to know how I could contribute in order to share my knowledge to these visitors, get to know them, and at the same time improve my communication skills and social engagement skills. After all, I still get nervous from time to time when I deal with a crowd. I knew I needed to improve this skill as it will be useful in both personal and professional endeavors in the future.

During my freshman year, I considered the opportunity and when I heard they are asking for cadet tour guides, I immediately signed up. It was a dream come true as it gave me the chance to rehearse my communication skills and improve my confidence in dealing with groups of people from various walks of life. I learned by trial and error, but fortunately for me the visitors were kind and even helped me answer their own questions. I felt that they just really wanted to interact with cadets, which is really a big part of the CGA tour. They have their own conceptions of cadet life that they want to validate. Hence, they talk to cadets and take selfies with them…it completes the experience.

Now, in my sophomore year, I am a regular cadet tour guide and I do tours at least once a week. As an international cadet, it is always a cultural experience for me having to interact with people from different backgrounds. I take pride in the idea that I get to be responsible for them as they visit the Academy. I do my best to influence the dynamics of the group as it is a factor in ensuring a successful tour. Every tour guide wants his or her visitors to come away satisfied instead of feeling they wasted their time. Personally, I add plenty of commentary about the history and culture of the Coast Guard, and modestly brag of the greatness of our Academy compared to other schools.

As a tour guide, I even have guests who have visited multiple times so I try to do something different each and every tour. It is a job that has taken me out of my comfort zone but is now becoming something that I want to master. I now enjoy talking to large crowds and can control the pace and the tempo of a group. As I look at them, I feel like I have been adopted as part of their family or group, and will be in their stories, photos and memory for some time. It will reflect my school, my branch of service and my country, the Philippines, as it states on my name plate. The latter signifies inclusivity and peace.

To summarize, I am grateful that I have learned another skill and taken up a new hobby that will make my stay worthwhile and memorable at the Academy. I have always wanted to be a tour guide. It has been my passion garnered from my trips to 25 countries as an exchange student and on vacations with my parents. Doing guided tours requires knowledge, attitude and practice. Additionally, it is also good training for Coast Guard officers. It teaches you to stay calm amidst unforeseen challenges and pressures. It is essential to be good with people and have a great deal of emotional awareness. Before we can save them, we have to learn how to relate to them. So please visit the USCGA and let me tour you around. Cadet-led tours are available on Mondays, Fridays and some Saturdays during the academic year. If you are interested, schedule a visit or search the event schedule to be able to plan ahead. It will be an honor and pleasure to meet you.