Name: Maria Isabel dos Santos Veiga
Birth place: Medianeira in the state of Parana, south of Brazil
Occupation/Studies: Au Pair at AuPairCare. I’m on a matching process with a family to go to the United States.
Languages: Portuguese, English, German, Spanish
Currently reading: “The Second World,” by Parag Khanna
Favorite media outlet: The Internet
What is your most memorable international experience?
My trip to China in 2012. I won a scholarship for a summer course in Shanghai.
China was the most incredible adventure of my life until today. I met friends for life there! Brazilians friends who had traveled with me — we were in a group of 100 people, including teachers and students. We studied Chinese culture and sustainable development at Shanghai Jiaotong University. The program was sponsored by Santander Universities.
What I liked most in China was the cultural shock. Being in a totally different place than mine and discovering something new everyday. The most striking memory of China was a visit to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. Those places are full of history and for me as an international affairs student, it was just unbelievable.
How did you become interested in international affairs?
I have always had an interest in culture and foreign languages — English, German, Italian and French. Because of that, I ended up in an International Affairs undergraduate course and found myself really interested in understanding world issues.
I like diplomacy, international politics, world history and culture. Studying world issues makes me understand things in a bigger view, and this way makes me a better professional.
My best memory studying international affairs was acting like a diplomat at a UN simulation. It was really a great experience. There’s no particular region I would like to specialize in because every region is interesting to me.
What international issue is of greatest interest to you today? Why?
Children’s future and education, because education is the way to grow in life, personally and professionally. If we invest in children’s education, we guarantee a better future for them and our planet.
The world is not fair and equal, this is true. But I still hope one day we can see these children who grow up so early — because they need to work to help at home, they live in a war zone or they simply have their childhood stolen by bad adults — have a better childhood and education opportunities.
Children in Syria, for example. Children in Africa and even children in Brazil. Children around the world who cannot be at school and grow up healthy need our attention.