International Spotlight: Maria Lucia Passador

Which program/department are you in?

Columbia Law School. I am a Visiting Scholar.

What is your primary area of study or research? 

Corporate Law.

Which country (or countries) do you come from?


How long have you been in the U.S.?

I lived in Boston for two spring semesters in 2016 and 2017, while attending Harvard Law.

What do you like best about living in the U.S.?

I am very impressed by the relationships between all types of people: regardless of origin or background. Each university [Columbia and Harvard] has a great environment linked in generating challenges, opportunities for growth, and showcasing extraordinary potential. They are both unique and congenial places to be. Furthermore, each city has multinational companies, advanced research centers, and a breakneck pace. These cities are working towards a fantastic future.

These universities also promote innovation, originality, and creativity, without taking its eyes off the education and training of skilled professionals. Each university pursues these objectives in a different and distinctive way -- immediately recognizable.

What is the hardest thing about living here?

It may seem strange, but given my interest in this culture, I consider my time in this country as an opportunity and a chance not to be missed. That being said, it is not easy to acclimatize to low temperatures outdoors -- especially to the freezing New England! For those of us who were born in the sun-drenched Italy (close to the sea), we are not used to the harshness of the winters not mitigated by Alps. But luckily, when Harvard gets a foot of snow, Columbia only gets six inches!

What do you know now that you wish you knew before coming here?

Now I know that the "American dream" is not a stereotyped expression, but a concrete dimension that really inspired the lives of so many people. Living here means recognizing that those who are really well prepared, driven, and motivated can be integrated and are able to acquire the knowledge, qualifications, and aptitudes to fulfill their potential. Living here means understanding that grit is passion and working hard can make dreams a reality. Living here means being inspired while trying out new experiences – sometimes-unthinkable ones.

Orange Divider
Question Mark

Are you (or do you know) an international student, scholar, or alumni?

We’re looking to spotlight stories of academic or professional work, leadership, or personal adjustment to life at Columbia and NY in particular and the U.S. in general.

Submit our nomination form and we'll contact you with the next steps!