Paula Chappel


Hometown & Country

Johannesburg, South Africa



Extracurricular Interests

Woodbridge (of course); Other Cultural Orgs; Club Sports (field hockey, novice on club sailing); CARE; Various on campus jobs

Favorite place in Harvard Square

The Old Petsi Pies - now Darwin's on Putnam Ave - it's a fantastic place to work and see non-college people going about their lives like grad students and families

What can FIPpers talk to you about?

Anything really ! I am an open book. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Harvard but the path has not always been easy. I found it a tough adaption and I tried out many extra-curriculars and subjects here before finding my places, spaces and friends. I still don't really know who I am and what I am up to but think that is all part of being in this exciting, inspiring and sometimes overwhelmingly academic place.

Why should a freshman choose FIP?

FIP was the best introduction to Harvard I could have asked for. It was fun, social, informative and practically very helpful. I had never been to Harvard before and within these few days, I felt like this was a place I could say I knew something about. I loved seeing familiar faces in Annenberg after FIP and throughout first semester learning about other international students' home countries. The leaders are chosen from many applicants and have a lot of knowledge to share across a broad range of topics. They are a mix of different personalities and offer diverse perspectives so spend time getting to know them.


Paula is originally from good ol' Joburg, South Africa (also known as Johannesburg, Jolburg, Jozi). She is a rising junior living in Mather House - the concrete architectural masterpiece, in spite of which she actually loves Mather and its vibrant community and homey vibe. She studies Economics and enjoys applying these skills to education policy and economic and social problems. While at Harvard, she has tried a number of activities such as being a novice on varsity crew and trying numerous jobs before finding a place on the Woodbridge board, in CARE, in Club Field Hockey and for a few weeks a year, doing IM crew. She loves listening to catchy songs while making her way to campus; dancing with close friends to great music and telling people about the wonders of South Africa. You can find her having a picnic on the Charles or 'sundowners' (drinks at sunset) in a beautiful location most evenings of every holiday.