Ana Costa Cabral Ana Maria Almeida da Costa Cabral (BIS ’15)

“Anything seems possible at CIIS, provided you own the responsibility for your choices.”
Portugal, England, and France

Catching my breath. Planning my next move.

Professional Goal:
Possibly a master’s at CIIS

Favorite Book: "Braiding Sweetgrass," by Robin Kimmerer. It is all about relationships and compassionate, transformative storytelling.

Little-Known Fact About You: I would like to teach at CIIS. And start cooking again.

As things stand right now, I have the opportunity to do a master's or a PhD program, here in Portugal. However, in this moment, it does not feel as exciting as doing it at CIIS.

My Path to CIIS:  I was working as a life coach and facilitator within the context of my private practice and organizations in Portugal and Spain, as well as being engaged in several projects of personal and professional development, including a nonprofit organization I co-founded.

Also, I needed a break, and to gain a different perspective from which to evaluate how to take my personal and professional life forward. I was at a point in time where a cycle of very hard work was coming to an end, and I felt the need to "regenerate" personally and professionally. A friend suggested I look up CIIS, where I found the BAC Program, and applied. It has been some time that I wanted to conclude the BA degree.

The BAC Difference: From a perspective of form, the fact that students and teachers could dress as they please and eat in class, as well as sit, stand, kneel or lay down according to their needs. This is very different from the conservative environment in the University where I have taught and developed programs in Portugal.

The multimodal approach supported by integral learning and critical thinking applies to both students and faculty. We grew together, not independently of each other.

Also exposing the students to a nonjudgmental and safe context in which they can go out of their comfort zone, to understand who they are and how to grow, as well as owning what moves them for personal and social change.

Transformative Learning: Personally and professionally I have become a better listener, less judgmental, and a more compassionate person. My personal relationships with family and friends have an improved quality that is new and gratifying to us all. I am more present with myself and others-less anxious, more at peace.

It has always been a challenge for me to engage in public speaking, and something has shifted; it is not a problem anymore. I learned that addressing one´s fears can actually be exciting as opposed to being scary.

My Learning Community: We keep in touch and we all became very close. We learned not only to respect our differences but also to be curious and not judgmental about those differences and to grow from those differences. I hope they all come and visit me in Portugal sometime. Preferably not all at the same time!

The faculty were all amazing in their capacity to own and provide a safe and caring space for our growth and well-being. One became a mentor, someone from whom I have learned a lot, and hope to learn from in the future. I gained a new perspective of my role as a coach and a teacher. His capacity for listening and practicing

compassion, as opposed to being judgmental, played a major role in my shedding my fear of public speaking.

I must also mention that both my tutor at the writing center and the support of the librarians, as well as the library environment, carried me through the challenges and learning of writing and research so important and foundational in BAC program.

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