Happy to Be Home in Brazil, Dreaming of New York

There are fresh mangoes in the garden, but this undergrad wants to meet her new online classmates in person.

Isadora Saslavsky Muszkat
January 13, 2021

This is part of a Columbia News series, titled Postcards, which invites members of the Columbia community who are living and teaching or studying abroad, to send us updates on where they are, what they miss about not being on campus, and how they are making the most of their situation during this global pandemic.

I am a third-year Dual BA student in the program between Columbia and Tel Aviv University. This is my second semester at Columbia, but back in the fall, instead of going to New York, I returned to my hometown of São Paulo in Brazil, and almost haven’t left my house since. We are not under lockdown, but my family and many of my friends opted to self-quarantine and spray alcohol on everything and everyone that we come near.

A girl wearing a white shirt and jeans sits among greenery.

I am enjoying the opportunity to spend quality time with my family and lifelong friends, which is especially meaningful to me since I was living in Israel for the past two years. Being home is all about being cared for, and eating the mangoes and bananas that grow in the garden, so I can’t complain.

However, it is disheartening to be here instead of on the Columbia campus in New York. Starting a new university remotely is hard, though I'm always trying to connect with people through online classes and events. The few people I have gotten to know this way, especially in my double major courses in Philosophy and Sustainable Development, have been keeping me excited and motivated.

I haven't been doing much these days besides studying. I can’t wait to discover New York in person, to meet new people, interact with my professors, and live the Columbia student life I've been dreaming of. Even if it’s just grabbing a cup of coffee over a silly conversation—I will never again take for granted those simple moments that once seemed so ordinary. I hope we can soon all be together on the Morningside campus!  

Isadora Saslavsky Muszkat is a student at the School of General Studies.