João Campos

I am a sophomore in the College originally from Belo Horizonte, Brazil. I’m an International Relations major and likely LALS minor, and on campus I am involved with the International Affairs Association (IAA) and Men Against Rape and Sexual Assault (MARS.) ISP and BFS have been an integral part of my Penn experience, and I’m very grateful for everything they have provided me with. I think that one of the most meaningful benefits of ISP was the friends it gave me - my hall in Riepe were my first friends at Penn, who I continue to be close friends with to this day. I cannot emphasize enough how important it was to have such a tight community from day one. Academically speaking, my ISP classes were some of the most intellectually engaging and challenging I have taken at Penn, truly amazing courses that made me think more profoundly and more broadly than I had ever been asked to do. Within Penn’s pervasive culture of professionalism, I feel like ISP is one of the only places where you can learn for learning’s sake - take a deep breath and delve into issues solely because they are interesting. With the classes, assignments, and writings, I was exposed to fields of knowledge I had never encountered before, developed analytical and writing skills, and became a more prepared scholar. ISP was my first introduction to Classics, after which I developed a keen interest on the subject that led me to take an Ancient Epic Poetry class with Dr. Struck (the director of BFS) which involved a trip to Singapore. Among the other opportunities that BFS has given me are funding for my internship in Mexico City last summer and access to amazing events and classes on campus. I believe that ISP is definitely not for everyone - it requires a certain level of commitment and curiosity not everyone has (which is more than okay!) but if it is for you, it could be a transformative experience.