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Building my future self, an extra mile at a time.

My name is Luiza Sartori Costa. I’m from Brazil and I’m a first year student of the master in Human Rights and Multi-Level Governance. Here I share a piece of my academic journey at UNIPD.

I have always looked for extracurricular activities, mainly because I strongly believe that the mandatory courses and tasks offered by universities will never be enough to build up a rich professional and academic background, especially in a field like human rights. Because job positions (including my dream job) are extremely competitive and require years of experience, I try to invest the time I have now, or I will not arrive where I want to in the future.

Luiza in South Africa, January 2015

The pandemic and the online learning model brought many extra challenges and necessities: extracurricular activities and projects became the only way I could interact with my colleagues and get to know great people with different backgrounds, interests and points of view in a closer way. Therefore, I decided to take part in as many activities as I could that provided me with the knowledge and experience I wanted for my professional and academic growth and that introduced me to people with the same goals.

By new activities I do not mean just extracurricular activities, but also the assignments that professors offer during their courses, since they allow students to deepen their understanding about specific matters and to work closer together, especially because there are more than 100 people in human rights' classes. Little by little, I started to build a circle of friends and to understand my interests for this master program better.

I learned that all experiences are useful, even the ones that do not light up our eyes, as they show what we do not want to do and where we do not want to be, something which is extremely important. Besides, every new endeavor prepares us for the labor market and to act professionally. For example, my first job back in Brazil showed me that I do not want to work for the private sector, but it helped me to develop many skills that are useful and important not only for my career, but also for the master and my studies.

Eventually, during my first year I managed to be accepted to be part of the UNIPD team in the Moot Court competition of Leiden University. We dealt with children’s rights from a legal perspective and I was challenged to develop arguments and analyze the Convention on the Rights of the Child with the eyes of a lawyer. This made me develop new skills and apply in practice the knowledge and theoretic approaches presented during the master’s courses.

Furthermore, I took part in the workshop on Mali organized by coach Filippo Rosin and professor De Stefani. Selected students had the chance to learn about the Mali crisis together with fieldworkers from the United Nations, two of them currently based in that country. After these meetings, each group analyzed one specific aspect of the crisis, such as the humanitarian context and the MINUSMA mission. Students were asked to write a report and this required me to employ a style different from the academic one I am used to, especially when choosing words and paying attention to avoid personal opinions and judgments.

Last but not least, I decided to get completely out of my comfort zone by getting involved with the Enactus project. With Enactus, we are addressing the main issues that international students face when in Italy. Being part of this team allows me to tackle now problems that I will also will also face in the future.. What I value the most in all of these projects is the fact that I am constantly involved in an international environment, meeting with people from all over the world. International projects put together different world views, perspectives and understandings regarding the issues being discussed, which leads to more effective and creative ideas.

In conclusion, engaging in extracurricular activities was and still is a fundamental element of my development as a person and human rights student. I will always be grateful for these opportunities and the efforts I undertook to push my limits and to improve myself, even when the obstacles on my way seemed too daunting to overcome.

Written by Luiza Sartori Costa

Edited by Alex Frattin

Picture courtesy of Leonardo Vinícius.


Luiza Sartori Costa is a 1st year HRG student passionate about discussing human rights, especially children's rights. She is the author of the book “Casamento Infantil: infância roubada por graves violações dos direitos humanos das crianças” (Child Marriage: stolen childhood by grave violations of children’s human rights), published in December 2019 by Hucitec Editor, São Paulo.

Follow Luiza’s story on LinkedIn, Instagram @_lusartori, and Facebook @Luiza Sartori.


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