Brazilian International Student Returns as Lawyer, Expresses Gratitude for Time Spent at NDA


Mason Tumpach, Staff Writer, Journalism I

“I didn’t have anyone in my family that was a lawyer,” said former exchange student Pedro Pizarro.

Pizarro was born and raised in Botucatu, Brazil.

While in high school, Pizarro decided to study abroad in America to get out of his comfort zone and experience a different culture.

Pizarro worked with a company that helped find him a perfect location for him to enjoy his time in America.

“I didn’t know where to go because the United States is so big,” said Pizarro.

The company he worked with recommended he study in Green Bay, as another foreign exchange student recently began studying here.

Pizarro spoke to that student and heard a lot of good remarks about the Wisconsin city, so he officially signed up to attend NDA.

Besides Green Bay, Pizarro could have picked Grand Rapids, Michigan, or Red Bluff, California.

Pizarro arrived here in August 2011 and attended NDA for one school year.

As expected for anyone experiencing a new country across the world from your own, Pizarro was shocked with Green Bay’s frigid weather.

“The weather is completely different,” said Pizarro.

Even though Pizarro had to adjust to a new culture, he kept in mind a principle that we all should remember when life throws us new experiences.

“Nothing is better or worse–it’s just different,” said Pizarro.

Interestingly, Pizarro was technically a junior, but he was classified as a sophomore/junior to meet the equivalency of credits in Brazil.

While at NDA, he enjoyed his math and chemistry classes, but his favorite class was Journalism because it taught him a lot about writing in a new language. Pizarro also loved taking Public Performance.

Overall, Pizarro appreciated his teachers, host family, and everyone in America for making his experience memorable.

“It was great because Americans are very friendly,” said Pizarro.

After the school year ended, he stayed a little longer, so his parents could visit him and see America as well.

Afterwards, Pizarro returned to Brazil and graduated from high school in December of 2012. He then had to study hard for the big test needed to attend college.

In Brazil you don’t apply to college like we do in America. Instead, you take a test that then dictates where you can go based on your score.

Pizarro took the test and got into a college in 2014.

He then was faced with the daunting task of picking a career he was passionate about. Both of his parents were doctors, but he knew he didn’t want to go down the medical route.

“I knew I wanted to do something related to human relationships,” said Pizarro. “I always liked to read, write and be related to people.”

He was undecided between studying psychology, economics, or law. After much contemplation, he decided to study law because it involved human interaction.

Unlike in American universities where you first have to complete undergraduate school, in Brazil you go to school for your specific area of study right away.

Pizarro spent five years studying law and also went back to America for a while.

“I did six months abroad in Los Angeles at UCLA,” said Pizarro.

He completed college in 2019 and now works as a corporate lawyer in Brazil.

Pizarro has since returned to NDA to visit his past teachers, while he is searching for colleges in America to get his masters degree.

He commented that NDA feels, looks and even smells the same as when he walked the halls eleven years ago.

Pizarro is exploring schools both on the east and west coasts, but he plans to go back to Brazil after getting his masters degree to continue practicing law.

Studying abroad is an exploration not everyone is brave enough to do. Pizarro took the challenge to get out of his comfort zone and meet new people that have forever influenced his life. 

Pizarro’s bravery and journey to becoming a successful lawyer serves as a story that inspires everyone.