Student Profile: Vinicius Muniz, International Business ‘22

Vinicius Muniz ‘22 at a squash match

Vinicius Muniz ‘22 at a squash match

It’s only Vinicius (Vini) Muniz’s first year at Chatham University, but it’s his third educational experience abroad. Growing up in Brazil, Vini studied abroad for the first time when he was just fourteen, traveling to Oxford University in England with a group of peers to improve his English. His travel itinerary unexpectedly separated him from the rest of the group and resulted in rapid-fire adaptation: first, he went through customs, alone, then he navigated his way to the Oxford hotel, alone. Since he wound up arriving after the rest of the group, he spent the majority of the trip doing scheduled activities solo.   

Luckily this experience only empowered him to adventure more: a few years later, he spent five weeks in Philadelphia, this time, fully solo. In Philadelphia, Vini played club squash and further honed his English skills.  As a result, he developed a pretty fearless approach to travel, and he is only getting started.

“(Going abroad) won’t be the same way it is at home and that’s the fun part. You get to learn and explore a new culture.”

An International Business major, he hopes to live and work in the U.S. following graduation, maybe even in Pittsburgh. Much like other Pittsburgh transplants, Vini cites the small town feel in a big city as his favorite part. Pittsburgh’s famously friendly nature may even be helping him take cultural differences in stride: he describes Brazil’s more affectionate style of greeting, a hug and a kiss, as a stark difference from the U.S.’s more formal handshake. One semester down, his friends have started to adapt. “When they see me, they say okay, we can hug,” he smiles.

Vini’s passion for international travel is perhaps only rivaled by his passion for squash, the sport he describes as “the most calories you can burn in an hour.” He started playing when he was twelve after a friend invited him to practice—he notes that most players start much earlier. His mom always encouraged him to play a sport, and soon squash was the sport, replacing swimming and water polo. By the time he graduated high school, he was nationally ranked in Brazil (#3) and a top recruit for colleges.

Check out Chatham’s squash courts in the Athletic Fitness Center

Check out Chatham’s squash courts in the Athletic Fitness Center

Squash Tips from Vini:

1.     Focus on your weak spots
2.     Be disciplined a.k.a. hit by yourself
3.     Be prepared
4.     Start at any age—just put forth the effort

When the time came to choose a college, squash was a major factor in his decision. He opted to hire a consultant to help him to choose a college in the U.S. As luck would have it, his consultant had played squash with Chatham’s squash coach, Larissa Stephenson, and put the two in touch. Vini liked the prospect of going to a university where the squash team was just getting started; he knew they’d be working really hard to help the program succeed and wanted to participate in something brand new. He also liked the idea of going to a smaller school, where he could build stronger relationships with his faculty and peers.

 

The hardest part about living abroad so far has been being away from his family for long periods of time—growing up, Vini and his family spent lunch time together every day. But the best part of college in the United States?

“It’s a fresh start, I can be anybody I want to be here.”