International at SSP

by Fer M.

While applying and deciding to attend SSP, one of my biggest worries was the number of international students that would be participating with me. Coming from a school with a decent amount of international students here in the US, I was afraid that I would be the only international student at SSP; I was scared I would not fit in, or feel left out because I wouldn’t have many shared experiences with my peers. 

Well, there are 5 international participants this year at SSP at UNC Chapel Hill, including myself. And I should have worried more about the psets and the sleep deprivation that awaited me, since none of my previous worries turned out to be true. 

From the very first days, I realized it was easier to make friends here than I had thought. All 36 of us spend pretty much all day together, from lectures during the day, dinner, time in the computer lab at night, observation nights with our team, and the occasional hang out in the dorm lounge we can fit into our hectic schedules. We were all thrown together into this frantic experience, and now we all have to constantly work together, collaborate, and lean on each other to be able to understand all the information we are learning and finish our psets at a reasonable time. 

Not just that, but all of us are, in many ways, similar. We are all curious, passionate, and extremely hardworking AND we all understand each other’s physics/math/astronomy jokes, which is, in my experience, very hard to find outside of SSP (literally, ask any SSP kid about Gaussian days and theoretical physics, and they’ll tell you their feelings about it). So, if you’re an international student applying to SSP with the same worry as me: don’t. You’ll be able to find your people among these amazing peers.

About Me

Hi, I’m Fernanda (she/her), but you can call me Fer, and I’m originally from Curitiba, in the south of Brazil. In my normal life you can usually find me reading, singing and playing the violin during the day, and sleeping at night, but at SSP you can find me hanging out with friends during the day and doing psets in the computer lab at night.