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Resident Spotlight: Fabio Gomes dos Santos (Brazil)

Meet Fabio Gomes dos Santos from Brazil, a Visiting Scholar at Columbia Law School. Fabio arrived in 2019 to begin his research program, and left New York at the peak of the pandemic. He returned to the House when it reopened for Fall 2021, and has since been an active participant in I-House programming and resident life. We caught up with Fabio to talk about his I-House experience and the work he’s been doing.   Tell us about yourself. Where are you from, and what are you studying? I am a Brazilian Visiting Scholar doing part of my JSD research at Columbia Law School. My dissertation is about the public financing of corporate innovation, a subject with which I deal on a daily basis at my work as an officer of a development agency in Brazil. How did you hear about I-House? What made you decide to live here?  I-House was the only housing option Columbia offered to Visiting Scholars and also seemed very attractive in terms of community-building and international experience. One interesting fact is that I decided to be an I-House resident twice: I had an early departure at the peak of the pandemic in 2020 and, as soon as I had a chance to be back to New York, I opted for I-House a second time, now knowing by heart how special this place was. What do you enjoy most about living here? Has anything surprised you? Living at I-House has many benefits, ranging from the convenience of an affordable and easy-to-set-up place to live to an extensive host of cultural/professional/networking events. What amazes me the most, and keeps surprising me even after one year here, is the opportunity of having a deep multicultural experience. I-House offers constant interactions with people from all over the world in a meaningful way if you open yourself to that. By living together, it is possible to understand how different cultures indeed have unique perspectives that must be considered. Also, by constantly sharing bread (long live Dining Hall conversations!) you also notice that people are never that different, as the human experience unites us all in the end with all its challenges and pleasures. All this can be experienced in a welcoming and secure environment, allowing the residents not only to connect with people from all over the world but also to make lifelong friends and even find true love. We even have a name for the couples formed here: Sakura Sweethearts, in homage to a beautiful park that graces our building! Can you tell us a little bit about your career goals? What would you like to accomplish? As I resume my work at the Brazilian government, my goal is to keep contributing to the development of my country. I particularly wish to have a more significant impact on Brazilian Science and Technology policies, as I believe that fomenting innovation is essential to improve the daily life of my fellow compatriots. Do you think your experience living at I-House will help you accomplish your goals? Living at I-House has broadened my horizons in a way that, even if most of my immediate goals are closely related to my country of origin, makes me always think in global terms. I could not be more grateful for all that I’ve learned and experienced here, which indeed made me a better person both on a professional and personal level. Thank you, Fabio! We are so glad to have you in our community. (Residents enjoying a day trip to Governors Island for a guided tour of the Island’s Recycling facilities; Fabio is at the right)