Vivianne Asturizaga

Vivianne Asturizaga - FSU Doctoral Student (Ethnomusicology) | English | Digital Narratives | August 29, 2019

Why FSU?
What brought Vivianne to FSU was a Professor that she felt inspired by, Eva Amsler, Professor of Flute at the College of Music. “She (Eva Amsler) was in Bolivia when I didn’t even know how to speak English, she did a performance there and I was like: Wow!” Professor Amsler is originally from Switzerland so the first time Vivianne saw her perform she thought “Man, I guess I’ll have to learn German or another language so I can go and study in Europe”. A year later Vivianne exchanged some words in English with Professor Amsler and she expressed how eager she was to learn from her. Eva told her she was moving to the U.S. and had just received a position to teach at FSU. Therefore, Vivianne decided to come to FSU for her masters in musicology.

When asked what her hobbies are, Vivianne responded: “I do music, music is my passion, my profession, my hobby…” In addition to music, she also enjoys keeping herself active by swimming and doing pilates. She loves hanging out with friends and finds organizations and leadership in the university environment very exciting.

Experience as an international graduate student at FSU
“When I came to Tallahassee I had an assistantship for teaching music, that was a great help but it wasn’t enough. As an international student there’s only a few hours that I can work a week.” So for her it was a struggle between the economic and the academic. Vivianne expresses the College of Music has lived up to her standards and surpassed them because of how respectable and demanding it is. “This was a completely different scenario, academically, level-wise playing.” Claiming it has pushed her to the limit and the best of her skills.

“Through that time I didn’t have a lot of Hispanic friends, only one or two.” And then there’s this other side of Tallahassee when she met the people from HiGSA that she felt closer to. She thought: “Man, I feel at home”.

Life at FSU after HiGSA
Vivianne joined the group a year after it was founded, a friend told her she was walking to a meeting and as sassy and extrovert as Vivianne is, she tagged along. It turned out to be one of her best decisions. “I think I’m extroverted by heart but I’m shy by birth and so when I came to the U.S. I didn’t know which side I was. Sometimes I make jokes that make no sense and people look at me weird. My humor is in Spanish, kind of, even though the words are in English. But when I came to the group I noticed I had an affirmation. I would get energized and I would a joke and I got a giggle. I thought: They understand what I’m saying, I’m not crazy anymore! Immediately after that meeting I was invited to this Empanada party and that’s where I met everyone and have been there ever since”. Vivianne later became president of the association and has remained involved.

Opportunities at FSU
“I think the resources that FSU provides, there are so many things that you can do. Coming from a developing country, you must struggle for everything. You want an instrument? You’ll have to do so much more for a thing like that. Whereas here is like: Oh you want to do this? Well, you can also do this, this and do that. You learn your way in the system, and one of them is applying to stuff. I didn’t know I could apply for things. Can I receive something? Do I deserve to receive something? You question these things because it is such a struggle to get anything in your home country. You must be politically related if you want to receive a scholarship. If a scholarship exists, to start with. Getting access to these things, having organizations. The resources the university has have boosted my energy, my creativity, Oh I can do this!”

Vivianne claims that coming to FSU has allowed her to do so much more, like creating a quartet of flutes comprised by great performers. She feels she has the university and the Professors’ support along her journey. She even traveled to Costa Rica to represent the College of Music last year.

Vivianne has been distinctly chosen to play on the concert stage of the Berlin Philharmonie with another 91 amateur musicians on May 21st this year. The BE PHIL Orchestra education program received 1,000 applications from all over the world and selected only 92. They will perform Johannes Brahms’ First Symphony under the musical direction of the famous Sir Simon Rattle. She also recently won the 2018 Graduate Student Leadership Award, chosen by a selection committee comprised of University faculty and co-sponsored by The Graduate School and The Congress of Graduate Students (COGS). Both events appropriately reflect the endless hours and devotion Vivianne dedicates to music.

When asked for advice for people wanting to pursue a graduate degree, Vivianne claims she sees “Universities as centers for learning, an opportunity to grow in any level. Regardless of what you do, you’re going to get something from it.” She recommends that if given the opportunity to attend graduate school, to receive it with open mind and open arms.

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