Skip to main content

Alessandra Bassalobre Garcia is a third year PhD candidate in Health Policy and Management at the Gillings School of Global Public health. She is a global grad from Marília, São Paulo, Brazil.

1. What made you choose UNC/NC when deciding on a program/place to study?

I started researching the best Public Health schools in America before deciding on where to apply. Gillings was ranked at number two that year (2014). In my mind, I wouldn’t leave my country for anything less than a top school. After getting the offer letter, I started having conversations with faculty members and came to realize that the school really had a student-centered culture. I also liked the way the program was structured and the fact that winters here are not so bad (after all, my skin is used to tropical weather!).

  1. What is the most different thing you’ve seen or experienced since being here in comparison to your home country?

The differences are not so contrasting. There are some nuances in the way people relate to each other socially, like greeting. In a general way, I think we are “warmer” people, but Americans can become close to you as well, it just takes longer. Another thing is the coffee. There is so much water in it here, I’m still trying to get used to it… sometimes I order a customized version of an Americano (with less water), depending on how friendly the barista is.

  1. What is something you wish you had known before moving here?

I wish I knew that people would be so patient and receptive even though I couldn’t speak great English in the beginning. Over time I’ve realized people are really used to accents here, especially at UNC. I wish I wasn’t so nervous at the beginning and I wish I knew the school/university would give me the necessary support for me to succeed regardless of where I was coming from.

  1. Where is a place in your home country that every tourist should visit and why?

There are so many! I think I would start in Rio because that is a famous part of Brazil worldwide. The beaches in the whole Northeast are also stunning. In terms of nature, we have the Amazon and other places in central Brazil that are a must-see. Then, towards the South, there is the Iguaçu Falls and larger cities, like São Paulo (one of the most populous cities in the Southern Hemisphere). In the Southernmost States, the weather is a little colder and there are great wineries and artisanal chocolate factories to visit.

Comments are closed.