• Hometown: Caruaru, Brazil
  • Major: Business economics
  • Proudest Achievement: Chosen by her peers to be Mills’ international student advocate

Coming to Mills from Brazil has been an exciting adventure for Gabriela, both on campus and off. The support of professors and her fellow students has given Gabriela a new-found confidence in the classroom and helped her discover a passion for business economics. Outside of class, Gabriela has immersed herself in campus life and explored the richness of the San Francisco Bay Area.

What first attracted you to colleges in the Bay Area? I chose to study in the United States because in Brazil students are required to decide their major before starting college, and I wasn’t ready to make that decision right away. I selected the San Francisco Bay Area because of the diversity and all the opportunity here. It had always been my hope to live here at some point during my life.

What are you interested in studying? I am interested in the business economics major at Mills because it relates to the financial side of business. I didn’t know I was interested in this subject until I came here and took Introduction to Economics to fulfill a core curriculum requirement. My professor inspired me so much I fell in love with the subject.

Have any of your professors been especially supportive? Most of the professors I’ve had at Mills have been very supportive and helpful. In high school I was never confident speaking in class discussions, but when I saw that the students and professors here were encouraging and didn’t judge us, even if we gave a wrong answer, I became less anxious about participating. My comparative politics professor, for example, was especially helpful in understanding the language barrier that sometimes made it difficult for me to get my point across.

As an international student, how have you gotten connected to the Mills community? Living on campus has allowed me to connect with other students and enjoy the full experience of going to college in the United States. As a first-year student, the themed housing community that I chose was called Bay Area Exploration. Most people in my residence hall were from outside of California, so we connected because we were all far away from friends and family. Events specifically for international students like the International Student Dinner and the writing workshops also helped me meet other international students here.

What’s the coolest event you've been to off campus? There’s always something interesting happening in the Bay Area. The coolest event that comes to mind was a public Halloween scavenger hunt with hundreds of people all around San Francisco. It helped my friends and me get to know the city better; plus we don’t really celebrate Halloween in Brazil, so it was exciting to see this part of US culture.