Student Spotlight: Ana Ghislandi
I was born in a very small town in southern Brazil called Nova Veneza in Santa Catarina. The name of the town translates to “New Venice” as it was settled by Italian immigrants; to this day it maintains a strong culturally Italian presence, even being named the state’s Italian gastronomic capital. Most people who are from there are of direct Italian descent, so I like to consider myself an Italian-Brazilian
I moved to the south Florida when I was five years old and have lived in Florida ever since. I speak four languages: Portuguese, English, Spanish, and I am currently taking American Sign Language courses. I find different languages fascinating and I hope to add Italian to my list of languages one day. I love to travel and explore new places and cultures, especially outside of the United States. I have studied abroad twice since beginning my college career, once in Ireland/Northern Ireland and another time in South Africa. I have also been to Italy, Dominican Republic, and I often travel to Brazil to visit family.
I am currently a junior in the Bachelor of Health Science program and have completed a minor in Disabilities in Society. After graduation in May 2020, I hope to pursue a Doctorate in Occupational Therapy. I stumbled upon OT in high school when my nephew was born with a developmental delay that led to him seeing an OT. After discovering the profession, I fell in love with the idea of helping people across the lifespan in such a holistic manner.
I have always been very active on campus because I love to keep myself busy. One of my favorite organizations on campus, the Student Occupational Therapy Association, has played a big role in my college career. I joined my freshman year at UF and have loved it ever since. This year I had to privilege of serving on the executive board as a service co-chair. It has taught me so much about what it means to be an occupational therapist and provided me with so many memorable opportunities. One of these opportunities was the chance to volunteer at Hands to Love Hand Camp. This is a weekend-long camp for children with upper limb differences that provides them the opportunity to participate in adapted camp activities, like rock climbing and archery, in a supportive and welcoming environment. My first experience volunteering at Hand Camp was so transformative, I am now an intern for Hands to Love and helping prepare for this years Hand Camp.
My experiences at the University of Florida has prepared me immensely for my future in health care and reinforced my passion for occupational therapy; I can’t wait to begin practicing and making an important difference in people’s lives.