Mariana grew up in Hamburg. She associates Hamburg with wanderlust and home, with the wide seas and coming back, with the world and a small spot that seems to be sinking into it. Perhaps this is why Mariana is so enthusiastic about leaving the safety of her home harbour, looking around the world and yet always returning. At the age of 15, she went to Cádiz in Spain for a few months, lived with a host family and attended a Spanish school. This time was very formative for Mariana and paved the way for her to do a weltwärts volunteer service in Colombia after school. In the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, Mariana began her interdisciplinary Bachelor's degree in International Relations and International Organization at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. This sensitised her to the diverse topics and complex structures that come together in the international arena. She also attended the cross-faculty Honours College, which not only allowed her to develop her academic skills, but also brought her together with students from a wide range of fields of study. One of her courses there encouraged her to spend a semester abroad at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, which turned out to be an important, emotional and future-relevant experience.
During her studies, Mariana joined the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF). She is deeply committed to an intersectional, feminist and postcolonial understanding of peace work and is keen to incorporate this into her future studies and professional life. She firmly believes that a feminist perspective and the prioritising of human needs can help to make the world a more peaceful, just and secure place in the long term. For Mariana, part of this is also about prioritising civil society engagement and diverse human experiences.