My name is Joana Pedroso. I was born in a town called Curitiba which is the capital of Parana State in Brazil. I graduated with a Bachelor Degree in Law from a Brazilian university called Pontificia Universidade Catolica (PUC). In 2011 I moved to Sweden because I fell in love with a Swede who is now my husband and father of our child Maya.
At Uppsala University I studied the LLM Master Programme in International Tax Law and EU Tax Law during 2014 and 2015. I chose this Master’s programme because I was a tax lawyer in Brazil and although I moved to Sweden because of my husband, I always had the intention to do an LLM in Tax Law here. We lived in Stockholm and I soon found out that both Uppsala University and Lund University offered Master’s programmes in international and EU tax law. However, first I decided to study something new that I always cared about, but never had the opportunity to do in Brazil. So I enrolled in the LLM Master Programme in Environmental Law at Stockholm University and after I graduated I decided that I was ready to go back to my original plan, and this time I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I wanted to do the Master Programme in International Tax Law and EU Tax Law to learn about global and EU tax issues and to write my Master’s thesis on environmental taxation. The second half of the programme in Uppsala offered flexibility which excited me because I could choose to do an internship in a company and write a short version of my thesis, or I could choose to do a longer, more thorough thesis project.
I chose to study at Uppsala University because I knew it was the oldest university in Northern Europe and was ranked as one of the best universities in the world. It was also just an hour and a half by train from home, which meant I would not have to move away from Stockholm. The best things about studying at Uppsala University were the amazing teachers, the fact that students came from many different nationalities which created enriching discussions, and the campus. Some of our lectures and seminars were held in beautiful classrooms with old books and paintings. It was like having a lecture in a museum!
I would describe the atmosphere in class and on campus as warm and welcoming. Often people feel uncomfortable speaking a language that is not their mother tongue and about a subject that they are still learning, but the teachers always encouraged us to actively engage in the seminars. The campuses in Uppsala are terrific, very charming, as is the city of Uppsala.
Since graduating I have become a doctoral candidate at Gothenburg University. As part of my doctoral studies I am basically taking my Master’s thesis about environmental taxes and state aid to an even deeper level, and I am also teaching EU tax law, environmental law and state aid. The opportunity to tailor the second half of my Master’s programme to my interests was crucial for my academic and professional life. Particularly, the option to write a more extended thesis allowed me to develop my critical academic thinking, and this was essential for my admission as a PhD candidate.
If I could redo my time at Uppsala University I would try and move to Uppsala so that I could enjoy more of the student events that happen in town. Otherwise, there is nothing I would change and I would do it all exactly the same. My advice to other international students is to be humble, don’t give up on your dreams and ask for help from the people you admire and trust.