Yashvi Patel is a passionate environmentalist hailing from the vibrant land of beauty and harmony, India. She is in her final year pursuing a Masters in Environmental Engineering.
What made you choose UNC/NC when deciding on a program/place to study?
UNC has one of the top-notch Public Health programs in the country so selecting this particular university was a no-brainer for me. But what really drew me was the quaint, small-town feel of Chapel Hill; a sense of community and belonging. And the close proximity to the mountains and the beach certainly helped close the deal.
What is the most different thing you’ve seen or experienced since being here in comparison to your home country?
People’s social etiquette, the familial bonds shared between them, the space and freedom available irrespective of your age. I truly appreciate how open and accepting people are of your religion, sexual orientation, nationality, beliefs, behaviors, clothing, food and everything in between.
What is something you wish you had known before moving here?
I had been mentally preparing myself since I was 5 years old for the “Big Move” but it is so very different when you’re actually here. Although I can now boast of the wonderful friends I’ve made here, it took some time adjusting to the social norms and figuring out how to communicate effectively. Pro Tip: ask someone about their pet(s) and the next thing you know, you’ve found yourself a great friend!
Where is a place in your home country that every tourist should visit and why?
India is such a culturally and socially diverse country that it is difficult fixating on a particular destination. Each state has a distinct history, language, faith, clothing, cuisine and an overall unique lifestyle. But its vibrancy becomes especially evident during Diwali, the Indian New Year. I would recommend visiting any place during their peak festival season and be a part of their colorful celebrations.
How will your Carolina degree help you make a difference in the world?
Carolina has harbored in me a sense of honor in public service. Together, we can truly make this world a better place to live in. I hope to use my degree in finding creative and innovative alternatives to the single-use plastics and ways to eliminate the enormous waste problem that we are facing today.