Meet Hana Pichova - Choosing Her Own Path

Sep 8, 2014

Hana Pichova is a UNC professor and author that escaped communism 35 years ago and she's been making the most of her opportunities ever since.

Hana Pichova grew up under a totalitarian regime in Czechoslovakia during the 1970s. 

For Pichova, opportunities for learning and discovery were rare under the control of the communist government.

At 18, she and her parents fled to Switzerland. Pichova decided she wanted to  immigrate to America. Unbeknownst to her parents, she went to the German border to seek political asylum. When they learned of her move, they decided to follow her, despite their reservations. 

Part of Pichova's assimilation involved American television. She had difficulty understanding why news would be interrupted with commercials. Only when she saw the famous Wendy's "Where's the Beef?" ad did she understand that humor mattered in advertising.

Pichova teaches slavic studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is working on a book about Stalin. Host Frank Stasio talks with professor Hana Pichova about her journey and life under communist control.