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College of Environment and Design

International Student Spotlight: Thiago Almeida

Thiago Almeida is a student in the MUPD program at the CED.

Thiago Almeida isn’t afraid to embrace change.

In 2022, after completing a six-year architecture degree, Almeida traveled over 3,000 miles away from his home in Brazil for an opportunity to further his education.

Making a big decision like this wasn’t easy, but after researching urban planning and design programs across the world, Almeida felt confident he found one that checked all his boxes.

And in the fall of 2022, he enrolled in the Master of Urban Planning and Design (MUPD) program at the University of Georgia College of Environment and Design.

Almeida chose to continue his education at the CED for several reasons, including having opportunities for hands-on learning. With Athens being so close to Atlanta, Almeida knew he would have access to a burgeoning city that would allow him to experience urban planning in real-time.

“Having access to the Atlanta Metropolitan Area was a big factor in my decision to come to UGA,” he said.

But there was more.

Almeida was also intrigued by the program’s unique curriculum, which has a design focus that prepares students for careers in professional planning.

“In the urban planning field, having a design background is important so that you can create plans and policies for the general public to understand,” he said.

Almeida’s decision was also influenced by funding support, which has helped offset tuition costs. Almeida receives funding in the form of a design-focused assistantship that allows him to work directly with clients and faculty—such as MUPD program founder Jack Crowley—to create master plans for Georgia communities.

In his classes, Almeida has made connections with students from a variety of backgrounds, which has been a huge reason for his success in the program.

“My cohort consists of students with backgrounds in geology, architecture, and even engineering,” he said. “It’s all very collaborative. We usually work in groups depending on the class, and having students from different backgrounds really helps.”

That is, learning in a collaborative environment encourages students to share ideas and knowledge, which is invaluable in an urban design setting.

After graduation, Almeida’s goal is to work for a design firm that specializes in housing, transportation or community development. He’s looking forward to using the skills he’s learned in the program to help communities design meaningful and accessible spaces.


Helpful resources for current and prospective international students can be found through the UGA Office of Global Engagement.


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