Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

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The SAIS Admissions Office will be closed December 31-Jan 2 in observance of the new year.
Since we know that there may be a lot of questions about the application over the holiday break, since the deadline is quickly approaching, we will be hosting virtual office hours on Friday, Jan 2.  Visit our recruiting calendar for more information.
We wish you a very happy new year!
—Erin Skelly, Associate Director of Admissions
Don’t forget, the M.A. application deadline is January 7.  To start (or finish!) your application, click here.
Photo © YVSREDDY / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0 / GFDL

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Happy Holidays from SAIS Admissions!

The SAIS Admissions Office will be closed December 24-26 in observance of the winter holidays.
Additionally, we will be closed to visitors through January 9, as we will be very busy processing your applications!  But we will be available to answer questions during this time via email at sais.dc.admissions@jhu.edu or via phone at 202.663.5700.
We hope you have a lovely holiday!
Thanks for reading!
–Erin Skelly, Associate Director of Admissions
Don’t forget, the M.A. application deadline is January 7.  To start (or finish!) your application, click here.
Photo is a derivative of “Happy Holidays” © Marcus Quigmire / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0 / GFDL

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Grateful Fed

Today we have a post by SAIS Admissions student blogger Sana A.

The Grateful Fed
What happens when you have a charming economics professor sit down with a few talented students? The Grateful Fed is formed! Readers of this blog will remember the International Dinner a few weeks ago, when I and two other girls performed a song medley with an acoustic guitar. We were approached by one of our colleagues, Riad Houry, who said Professor Jaime Marquez was enthusiastic about a SAIS band.
The final Happy Hour of the semester, co-hosted by the Defense and Intel Club and the SAIS Review was treated to the first live entertainment performance of The Grateful Fed, consisting of people across both years of the MA program and various program concentrations. Sirtaj Kaur brought her amazing talents on the guitar while Seethal Kumar and I sang and I played the violin. Ben Schaare and Ben Hirschman rocked out on the guitars, and Eric Rahman left us all in awe watching him on the keyboard. The much beloved-at-SAIS Professor Marquez was a total star on the drums! Our set list started with Beyonce, Rihanna and Adele and closed with the Rolling Stones and White Stripes. It was a wonderful evening, and we all hope to have a couple more opportunities to jam together next semester as well.
One of my favourite things from the evening was listening to other SAISers who would come up to me and say “I play the cello!” or “I play the trumpet!” Maybe they would be up for joining in on something next term and help us continue the fun!
From left to right: Ben Schaare, Seethal Kumar, Sirtaj Kaur, Sana Ali, Eric Rahman, Ben Hirschman; with Professor Jaime Marquez (front center)
–Sana A., SAIS Admissions Student Blogger
Don’t forget, the M.A. application deadline is January 7.  To start (or finish!) your application, click here.

Friday, December 19, 2014

My Advice to Applicants: Matt B.

Today, Matt B. shares his advice for applicants to SAIS.












This week I’m going to talk about the once piece of advice I have for MA applicants. Its simple really: plan to move to DC.

A friend of mine was talking with some prospective students about why they should choose SAIS over a similar top-tier IR/Econ school. His response? Well, when he asked students at other schools where they worked, especially for their summers, they all said the same thing: DC. His thought was why go anywhere else? I completely agree.

But what else comes with moving to DC, besides maybe higher rent and grocery bills? First, there’s the unique jobs—multilateral institutions, government agencies, all the things you can only get in DC. After all, even if you don’t get into SAIS this application cycle, there’s always next year. And a year of relevant work experience is certainly a way to strengthen your application!

But there’s something far more important about DC than just jobs: the network. 80% of getting a job is who you know, and the network here is bar none.

Of course, I shouldn’t forget to mention, you also have the intellectual fun of just being in DC. No where else do national and international scholars and policy practitioners come so frequently—and they usually make sure to stop at SAIS or at one of the institutions just right next door to us while they are here.

At the end of the day, whether you get into SAIS this time or not, my advice is the same. Move to DC. There’s just no better place to be.

–Matt B., SAIS Admissions Student Bloger

Don’t forget, the M.A. application deadline is January 7. To start (or finish!) your application, click here.

Photo © Oregon Dept of Transportation / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0 / GFDL

Thursday, December 18, 2014

My Advice to SAIS Applicants: Meredith P.

Today, Meredith P. shares her advice for applicants to SAIS.

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Be an Early Bird…
If I could give one piece of advice to MA applicants for Fall 2015 it would be to finish the application early. The January 7th deadline sounds far away now but it will be here in no time. Especially with the holiday season coming up, the next couple months will fly by and you really do not want to be frantically working on the application the day before the deadline. I remember two years ago when I was going through the process of applying to graduate schools, I procrastinated and left a lot of my essays until the last minute. I spent my holiday break that year writing application essays, which is definitely not the most enjoyable way to spend your time off. Trying to finish everything so close to the deadline made the application process much more stressful than it had to be. If you are able to finish your work now, it will be a huge weight off your back. Not only will you have more time to revise your application to make sure the material you submit is your best possible work, but you will also have more time to relax. Finish you application now, make sure all your test scores and recommendations have been sent in, and then spend the next two months relaxing and enjoying the holidays.
–Meredith P., SAIS Admissions Student Blogger
Don’t forget, the M.A. application deadline is January 7.  To start (or finish!) your application, click here.
Photo © Stephen Heron / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0 / GFDL

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

My Advice to SAIS Applicants: Sana A.

Since the M.A. application deadline is just around the corner, we’ve asked our students bloggers to give some advice to all of you planning on applying to SAIS. See what Sana A. has to say below.

Advice to MA Applicants for Fall 2015
I have the opportunity to speak to several prospective SAIS students in the last few months, here in Washington, DC and around the world. One of the things that comes up often is how to select the concentration out of all the options available at SAIS. I respond by sharing my experiences – working on a region for years, I came to the conclusion that the volatile security situation would first need to be stabilized –> naturally leading me to the Strategic Studies concentration. So when I am asked to guide prospective SAISers, I ask them to reflect upon their experiences and future goals just as much they carefully consider the options made available them at SAIS.

Concentrations are regional and functional. Regional concentrations give students a truly immersive experience, and functional concentrations grant students a comprehensive take an issue to a global scale. I have found that prospective students can clearly articulate what motivates them and what they hope to do – and that is the first step to selecting the concentration. I also would like to point out that you can double up in some cases. A friend of mine at SAIS is doing a double concentration in Africa Studies (regional!) and Conflict Management (functional!). So that is also something to keep in mind. This is all in addition to the required. International Economics concentration. SAISers can choose to specialize in something within the International Economics concentration as well. My advice is to feel confident in the final selections you make because that will be the core of your two busy years at SAIS.

–Sana A., SAIS Admissions Student Blogger

Thanks, Sana! We’ll have some more advice from some of our other student bloggers coming over the next few days.

Don’t forget, the M.A. application deadline is January 7. To start (or finish!) your application, click here.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Thanksgiving in SAIS Europe: Meredith P.

Today, Meredith P. offers an inside look at Thanksgiving traditions at SAIS Europe.  Enjoy!

For Thanksgiving week I am planning to go home to Long Island and spend the holiday with my family. Since last year I was not only in Bologna but also had classes on Thanksgiving, I am really excited this year to have the entire week off to relax. Between spending the last academic year in Italy and interning over the summer in Belgium, I have not spent much time at home and cannot wait to catch up with my family and friends and eat some really good home cooked food.
Last year, SAIS Europe organized a Thanksgiving dinner in the auditorium on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, which was a lot of fun, but not the same as spending the holiday at home. For the event in Bologna, everyone brought one dish with him or her and the student government provided enough turkey for everyone.
I really enjoyed the dinner, with 200 students seated at long tables in the auditorium, eating traditional Thanksgiving food with a few international dishes thrown in. Before the dinner started, the president of our student government pardoned a turkey, which was really a student in a turkey costume, and once the turkey was saved he did a dance for us. The Thanksgiving dinner was one of my favorite student events from last year. This year my Thanksgiving will be much more tame, involving much more catching up on schoolwork and watching tv with my dad, but it’ll be a nice break.
–Meredith P., SAIS Admissions Student Blogger

Thursday, November 27, 2014

What’s a SAISgiving, Sana?

Today we have a post from our student blogger Sana A.  Enjoy!

SAISgiving
For SAISers, Thanksgiving Break is the wonderful week of the fall semester where midterms are behind us and we can prepare for the finals week approaching fast. Students go around the world for informational interviews, exciting vacations or just home to waiting friends and family.
Since we’ve become a family of our own at SAIS, this year I hosted a group of friends for a SAISgiving! We decided to celebrate a week early, before we all went off to do spectacular things. Being graduate students, my roommate and I (a fellow SAISer in the Strategic Studies department) turned our living room into a large dining room. Neither of us is that enthusiastic about cooking; after a quick trip to the local Whole Foods, we walked out with a rotisserie chicken, a small turkey, Brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes casserole and a pumpkin roll for dessert. Friends trickled in throughout the evening, and the carefully selected Thanksgiving playlist gave way to “Oh, you have to watch this video on YouTube!” and “This is a fantastic podcast!”   
All in all, it was a really great evening and one of the last times we would all be together for a holiday this year. Even though we are second years with a semester ahead of us, there is a strong sense that time is flying by and this makes us cherish our time at SAIS so much more.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving at SAIS

Today we have a blog post from student blogger, Matt B.  Enjoy!

Like many students at SAIS, I’m not unaccustomed to spending a Thanksgiving away from home. Like myself, a lot of students have had international experiences that led them to having a “friends-giving” instead of something more traditional. But this year, I’m back in the States; unfortunately, I am from Louisiana, and the distance is just too far to go home for such a short amount of time. While it’s nice that we get a whole week off, I couldn’t make it work out this year. Thankfully, I’m not alone in this regard either.  I have a few friends, especially from Georgetown (since they don’t get the full week off), who are going to get together to host a good friendsgiving. I have another friend from my hometown who is doing graduate work in Philadelphia and another doing the same in Boston, and they will come down and join us, too. So I will be celebrating with a different family of sorts. 
SAIS recognises that many of its students can’t get back home for the week, and the SGA organizes a “host-a-SAISer” event for Thanksgiving. This is where those who can sign up to host students (both Americans who can’t get back home and international students who want to participate in the fun tradition)—and since I’ll be participating in a big party, full of way too much food and drink, I’ve signed up to take a few SAISers along with me. For any prospective students who are worried about not having a way to get back home for Thanksgiving, or prospective international students who are curious about how they can experience these kinds of events, take note that the SGA does a great job at organizing hosting opportunities like these, and you won’t have to experience the holidays alone!
Well, those are my plans. Hope everyone has a great holiday. Happy Thanksgiving!
Please note that the SAIS Admissions Office will be closed on Thursday, November 27, and Friday, November 28, in observance of Thanksgiving.  Have a great holiday, everyone!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Application for the Rangel Fellowship Now Open!

Are you applying for IR grad school for fall 2015?  Are you interested in working for the U.S. Foreign Service?

Then you might want to consider applying for the Rangel Fellowship program.  In addition to financial support, the Rangel program also offers support to fellows in the form of internships, mentorships, and professional guidance.

For more information on the Rangel Fellowhip program and eligibility requirements, clickhere. The deadline to apply is January 14, 2015.

Thanks for reading!

–Erin Skelly Associate Director of Admissions

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Secretary John Kerry Speaking at SAIS

One of the best things about the SAIS student experience is the array of leaders and experts that come to speak to us. The academic calendar is lined with hundreds of such talks, and recently SAIS welcomed Secretary of State John Kerry to our campus. He was there to speak on U.S. – China relations. SAIS students reached campus as early as 7 am in anticipation of the Secretary’s 9:30 am remarks (and also, of course, factoring in the screening process and wanting great seats). Students across concentrations filled up the large auditorium and the overflow room, chatting about the headlines and issues both the United States and China must contend with in the world today.


Secretary Kerry walked in right on time, pausing to comment on the phenomena of seeing so many cell phone cameras wherever he goes – a marked change from his speeches when he ran for President in 2004, when the only camera belonged to the opposition side’s guy in the room. Over the course of his remarks, he touched on a wide variety of issues in the U.S. – China bilateral relationship: everything from the potential gains from a rebalance, Korean peninsula denuclearization, spurring Third World development, and how to combat climate change together – a particular interest of the Secretary’s.

Secretary Kerry also stated he would soon depart for Paris, then on to Beijing, travel away for further meetings on Iranian negotiations and then back to Beijing for more bilateral meetings. This event was another great example of how SAIS keeps students plugged into the conversations happening in real time.

Check out some pictures below from Secretary Kerry’s visit:


You can view more photos of Senator Kerry’s visit on the SAIS Facebook page. Read the SAIS Observer coverage of the secretary’s visit here, or read a transcript of Senator Kerry’s remarks, or watch a video, here.

Thanks for reading!
Sana A., SAIS Admissions Student Blogger

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Diplomacy Through Food: International Dinner 2014

The SAIS International Dinner is an annual tradition at SAIS, and is one of the most popular events of the year.  It’s organized by the SAIS Student Government Association (SGA), but it’s the collaboration between the SGA and numerous student organizations that make this event such a success.  Various clubs and other student volunteers prepare food and cultural performances from around the world to share with the SAIS community, and many students will dress in traditional garb from around the globe.

Check out the photos below!
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The China Club finishes setting up their food.
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SAISers serving traditional Vermont fare, including apple pie with Vermont cheddar.
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The Philippines table had delicious food, especially the lumpia and chicken adobo (pictured below).
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Students at the Middle East and North Africa Club (MENA) table.
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Students at the Korea table in traditional garb.
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The students at the Russia and Eurasia Club table were looking very festive.
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The Africa Association had foods representing various countries of both Africa and the African diaspora.
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The Chai club performed a medley of traditional, modern, and Bollywood dances.
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A hilarious impression of the U.S. President captured the tone of the evening perfectly.
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The event was standing-room only.
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A group of students performed a short musical set.
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The Taiwanese Association won the Best Taste Award for 2014.
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The Korea Club won the Best Presentation Award for 2014.
For more pictures of the 2014 International Dinner, check out the SAIS Observer’s photo essay of the event: International Dinner a Tasty Success.
Thanks for reading!
–Erin Skelly, Associate Director of Admissions

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Halloween at SAIS: Matthew B. & Meredith P.

Two of our student bloggers want to tell you about Halloween at SAIS.  Enjoy!

This year the SAIS Student Government put on its annual Halloween party at a bar near the campus, Bistro Bistro.  Even though it was technically hosted not on Halloween (Thursday, the day before!) everyone still dressed up and came out ready for a good party. I’m told prizes were awarded to the best costumes, but none of my friends got any, so I’m going to call nepotism on that one.
A bunch of my friends and I got together before the event in Columbia Heights. This neighborhood, just north of the school, is a popular place for students to live and even go out.  There, we carved some pumpkins, made our costumes, and got ready to go out and have a good time. Our group decided to make thematic costumes–we went as pokemon characters. (I was actually a pokedex, but everyone else went as a trainer or a pokemon. Don’t hate.) It was a pretty fun night though in particular because we were introducing Halloween to a couple international friends of ours here at SAIS. One girl from the Netherlands, one girl from South Korea, and one from England had never experienced Halloween before.  We had to make sure we did everything that night, including carving pumpkins and handing candy out to the trick or treaters who came by the house!
It wasn’t the wildest Halloween I’ve ever seen–I am from New Orleans after all–but it was a pretty great one.  SAIS has some very creative students, the costumes ran the gamut from quirky to satirical, and everyone was definitely having a great time. All in all, I couldn’t imagine a better first Halloween in DC. Here’s some pictures so you can judge for yourself:
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–Matthew B., SAIS Admissions Blogger
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This past Thursday the student government association (SGA) here threw the annual SAIS Halloween Party. The event was held in Bistro Bistro, a French restaurant right off Dupont Circle, which had the tables pushed to the side and was turned into a dance party for the night. The venue was open exclusively to SAIS students and guests and was open to students in every program. The SGA arranged for drink specials for all students, including $4 beers and $5 vodka and rum drinks, an almost unheard of deal in DC. Most students dressed up in costume for the event. One of the most popular choices for the women was Rosie the Riveter. A few of my favorites included a crew of minions from Despicable Me and a group of fast-food restaurant mascots. Overall, everyone seemed to have an amazing time, getting to get dressed up, relax with a drink and take a night off from studying. It was also a chance for students to show off their various talents outside of academia, with a second-year student working as the DJ for the night. The party started at 9pm and went well into the night, with a large portion of the student body in attendance.
–Meredith P., SAIS Admissions Student Blogger

Africa: Crisis or Rise?

Last night, we held our last Taster Lecture of the fall with SAIS professor and Director of the African Studies program, Peter Lewis, who gave a talk titled “Africa: Crisis or Rise?”

Prospective students had the chance to experience what it’s like to learn from and engage with a SAIS faculty member.
If you couldn’t make it, but still want to get a feel for the SAIS educational experience, you can still sign up for a class visit.  But don’t wait too long–next week (Nov 17-21) is the last week for class visits until next semester, and the last day to sign up for a class visit is Tuesday, November 18.  Review available courses and sign up here. (Be sure to filter by “Events.”)
Thanks for reading!
–Erin Skelly, Associate Director of Admissions

Saturday, November 8, 2014

International Dinner: Sirtaj K.

Tonight is the SAIS International Dinner, an annual tradition and one of the biggest events of the year.  Sirtaj K. tells us how she and her friends prepared for tonight.  Enjoy!

Hello SAISers and prospective SAISers!
As many of you may already know, the International Dinner is tonight. The International Dinner, for those in unfamiliar territory, is an event that SAIS DC holds every Fall semester where students volunteer to prepare food from their parts of the world for their fellow students and staff. But that’s not the only exciting bit – there’s an open stage and open mic for anyone who wants to display their talent. And I just can’t help myself wherever there is an open stage. The Chai Club, (the South Asia club at SAIS) of which I am a member, has decided to perform a couple of Indian dances for the event.
Preparing for the dances has been no easy task. The midterms at SAIS just ended so the entire SIAS populace is absolutely famished. Even without the midterms, our schedules are brimming full all the time with classes, internships, part time jobs, guest lectures, career orientations, parties, and everything else one can imagine. But we did manage to pull something together and are in the final rounds of the practice for the day after tomorrow.
So how did we do this, you ask? Planning! Thankfully, we have Seethal Kumar with us, a fellow student and a professional belly dance instructor. She took the responsibility of coordinating the Chai Club dance. Seethal choreographed a Bollywood-hip-hop fusion piece. Sana Ali, my fellow blogger (maybe we can provide a link to Sana’s blog) choreographed a classic Bollywood dance and I took the responsibility of preparing a Bhangra number, a traditional dance form that belongs to Punjab, India/Pakistan. (Fun fact for IR students – the neighboring border states in India and Pakistan are both called Punjab, because the larger state of Punjab was partitioned by the British when they granted freedom to India and Pakistan. Both states share the same language and culture.)
One of the most challenging parts was to get everyone who wanted to participate to learn the dances. We managed to find a time that was acceptable to everyone once a week and we even made videos of the dances for those who couldn’t make it to the rehearsals. I made many new friends through this process. There is no better way to solidify a friendship than to have a productive and fun experience together, which is exactly what the rehearsals have been like. They’ve also been uplifting – something to look forward to in the week. And I’m sure the other clubs and performers are enjoying preparing for this just as much as we are!
Stay tuned for updates on what went down at the International Dinner!
–Sirtaj K., SAIS Admissions Student Blogger

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Midterms: Matthew B.

Despite midterms, our student bloggers still managed to find time to write for us this week.  Today we have a student blog post by Matthew B.  Enjoy!

Tell us about midterms!
As a first year student, midterms have been a little intimidating. For first years, it will be their first time taking a test since completing their undergraduate degree; for many, midterms are their first test in years! For me, I only spent a little over one year between school, so it wasn’t as foreign as it could have been.
Fortunately at SAIS, no matter how rusty you are with test taking, the student body is very supportive of one another, and study groups abound.  Personally, I only had one exam this week for my economics course.  The rest of my midterms were take home papers, which I actually like a little more. As for economics, even though I had taken a few courses in undergrad, calculus wasn’t nearly as important then as it is for this level of class, and I needed all the help I could get; thankfully, help was not in short supply. I was especially struck by the distance TAs were willing to go (lots of extra sessions in particular) to make sure you understand the material; I think this really speaks to how dedicated everyone is to making sure all students master their subjects here at SAIS. Or, another way of looking at it, for any first year student the most reassuring thing about midterm season is that you feel like you’re all in it together.  There isn’t a “cut throat, dog eat dog” kind of attitude. Its a very collaborate study process, and after the tests, you’ve got plenty of friends wanting to know how you felt about it–and take you out to celebrate the end of midterms.
–Matthew B., SAIS Admissions Student Blogger
After three posts about midterms, you might think that SAIS is all work and no play!  Don’t worry… next time, our bloggers will be talking about student life and the more “play"ful side of the SAIS experience.  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Midterms: Meredith P.

Despite midterms, our student bloggers still managed to find time to write for us this week.  Today we have a student blog post by Meredith P.  Enjoy!

Tell us about midterms!
These past two weeks have been very stressful at SAIS because everyone has had midterms and papers due. Coming to school has not been as much fun as it normally is because everyone seems a bit down (the fact that the weather has been very rainy I am sure is not helping) but it is nice to have a sense of camaraderie. Seeing everyone going through the same hectic time as you and having buddies to stay late at the library with has made the time a bit easier. In both Bologna and DC, whenever midterms come around I have always felt very thankful to be surrounded by people I could go to for help understanding an economics problem set or just someone to vent to. The only difference that I have noticed between DC and Bologna is that midterms seem much more spread out in DC. In Bologna, it seemed as if everyone’s midterms where on the same exact day (probably because half the class is in the same economics class) so leading up to that one day the library would be extra packed and everyone a bit more crazy but then that night everyone would be free and could celebrate together. In contrast, in DC, while I have been done with midterms for a week, I have many friends who will still be studying this weekend. This has made it much easier to find a seat in the library, but it also makes it seem as if the midterms are never-ending.
–Meredith P., SAIS Admissions Student Blogger

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Midterms: Sana A.

Despite midterms, our student bloggers still managed to find time to write for us this week.  Today we have a student blog post by Sana A.  Enjoy!

Tell us about midterms!
It is amazing to me how time is going by. SAISers are finding themselves in the midst of midterm season: coffees are being consumed, sleep is being deprived and study rooms are being booked. I have a few study tips that I believe will help position students do their best in this chaotic time:
  1. Be Organized! Create a study timetable two weeks before the exam. This allows you to set goals on a schedule when you can easily study. Doing this helps keep away from last minute cramming.
  2. Know the Prompt! ­Spend time thinking about the exam’s format. For my econ exams, I’ve reviewed previous problem sets with a study group, which has always been very helpful. If you are in an IR course and writing a paper for the midterm, then understanding the nuance of the question is the key. That will demonstrate your expertise on the subject and how the factors you are discussing are interconnected. Have someone proofread and edit your essay!
  3. Day of the Exam! Make sure you get a good night’s sleep before, and have breakfast, even if it’s something small. Relax as much as you can, and think positive thoughts.
Things suddenly go from busy to very, very busy. Once the exams are over and classes return to their normal pace, SAISers adjust their time and energy accordingly, and have to incorporate their internships, jobs, research, volunteer work, travel, etc. For just a few more weeks, anyway, before finals sneak up.
–Sana A., SAIS Admissions Student Blogger

Sunday, October 26, 2014

What I Did Over the Summer: Meredith P.

Today we have a student blog post by Meredith P.  Enjoy!

What did you do over the summer?
This summer I had the opportunity to intern with Carnegie Europe, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s center in Brussels, Belgium. The European Union has always been my academic focus so when I began my internship search I was certain I wanted to work in Brussels so that I could learn more about the organization. I was thrilled when I was offered an internship with Carnegie Europe. I began my internship in the end of May and continued working through mid-August. My main responsibilities included conducting research on various issues related to European foreign and security policy and assisting at events. I really enjoyed my internship; the office was made up of a great group of people who were dedicated to their jobs but also made coming to work fun. Being part of the larger Brussels professional community was also an amazing experience; there were so many events discussing EU and NATO policy I was able to attend and I was surrounded by so many interesting young professionals from all over the world who would all gather to relax and chat on Thursday evenings outside the European Parliament. Fortunately, there was also many other SAISers interning in Brussels last summer and we were able to explore Belgium together. Some of my favorite trips included biking through the World War I battlefields in Ypres and attending a music festival in the historic city of Ghent. I really enjoyed being part of the Brussels community and although I was very busy I still found time to enjoy the local beer and waffles.
– Meredith P., SAIS Admissions Student Blogger

Saturday, October 25, 2014

What I Did Over the Summer: Matthew B.

Today we have a student blog post by Matthew B.  Enjoy!

What did you do over the summer?
Hi everyone. Today I’m going to talk about my transition to DC. As a first year who jumped right into SAIS from an international work experience, I think I have something to offer.  
First and foremost, I just want to say that though it has been a little jarring at times, it has also been very rewarding. Like some of you out there, my work prior to SAIS was contractually bound–meaning, I couldn’t just get up and leave to start the school year without first clearing everything with my boss well in advance. I was fortunate, and they were very supportive though sad to see me go. I ended up working until the very end of August, and flew in from Korea the evening before orientation starts. (Jet lag was just part of the adventure!) For this year’s class, orientation was the last Thursday and Friday of August, with classes starting up the next workday.  (Oh, and for anyone curious, I was working in Seoul. If you’re over there now, 안녕!)
Finding a place to live was a little difficult, since I was 16 time zones away. Fortunately, SAIS sets up an incoming class facebook page that makes finding potential roommates easier, and they have lots of great sources, like this tool: https://housing.sais-jhu.edu/. While I know a lot of people who found great deals through craigslist (and in DC the housing market has huge turnover, so people found arrangements all throughout the summer before, which was nice), I myself ended up finding a place with an old college roommate who was in DC for unrelated work.
In terms of finding a work-life balance, well, I’ll probably be posting a lot more about this as the year goes on. But when I first got here, SAIS hosted lots of great events where I was able to meet people from all backgrounds and concentrations. Before long, I found a great group of friends and found ample time to get to know DC–in the beginning. After the first few weeks, I definitely had to sacrifice some evenings to study. However, the hardest part of a work-life balance for me hasn’t been how much weekend time to devote to studying, but rather how much weekday time to devote to studying while at SAIS. There are so many great lectures, panels, and conferences on any given day, that it has been a real challenge to figure out what I can participate in, and where I have to draw a line. Its the weekday that, for me, has been the hardest part of the transition back to school so far. But like I said, its been a great adventure right from the get-go–and I don’t think I’d have it any other way.
–Matthew B., SAIS Admissions Student Blogger

Friday, October 24, 2014

What I Did Over the Summer: Sirtaj K

Today we have a student blog post by Sirtaj K.  Enjoy!

What did you do over the summer?
I spent the summer in Bonn, Germany, working for the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) for the Awareness Raising, Communications and Education department. It was by a stroke of luck that I chanced upon this internship. I had applied to the Capacity Building Marketplace at the UNCCD but did not get the internship. A couple of days later I was contacted by the Awareness Raising, Communications and Education department telling me that the Capacity Building Marketplace had forwarded my resume to them and asking me whether I would like to intern with them. It turns out that my experience was better suited for a communications internship.
Of course I was very excited to be working at the UN, also because I have been passionate about environmental issues since I was a teenager. At the UNCCD, I worked under various media experts and drafted opinion and editorial pieces for the UNCCD, drafted and published their web content and assisted in the drafting of an information brochure on a Rights Based Approach to Adaptation to climate change. I was pleasantly surprised by how much trust and faith the UNCCD puts in their interns. We were given many different kinds of responsibilities and during meetings we sat at the same table as all other employees of the UN.
The experience gave me an insight into what the aims and objectives of the UN environmental agencies are and how they function. In addition to that, Bonn is a lovely city to spend the summer in. It is centrally located between Amsterdam, Paris, Berlin and Brussels and I had an excellent summer consisting of work and travel.​
–Sirtaj K., SAIS Admissions Student Blogger

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Middle East and the End of Stasis

Last week, Camille Pecastaing, SAIS professor and acting director of the Middle East Studies program, gave a taster lecture for prospective students titled, “The Middle East and the End of Stasis.”




At the end of the lecture, attendees had the opportunity to engage with during a question-and-answer session.

If you missed Professor Pecastaing’s lecture, you still have the chance to attend our last taster lecture in November, featuring Peter Lewis, professor and Director of Africa Studies.

For more information and to register, please click here.

To view our other recruiting events for the fall semester, visit our Recruiting Calendar.

Thanks for reading!

—Erin Skelly, Associate Director of Admissions

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Student Blogger: Meredith P.

My name is Meredith and I am a second year student at Johns Hopkins SAIS. I am an American from Long Island, New York and I have a Bachelors degree from Boston University in International Relations. I started attending SAIS the fall after I graduated from undergrad. I decided that graduate school was the best option for me at that time because I knew that I wanted to work in international affairs and I wanted to gain a more specialized knowledge before entering the workforce. SAIS was my first choice because of the opportunity to spend one year abroad and due to the curriculum’s emphasis on economics. While I had taken some classes in economics before, I was interested in taking more advanced courses in the field in order to supplement my background in politics.

I just arrived in Washington DC in late August after spending my first year on the Bologna Campus in Italy. I have always been interested in European politics and here at SAIS I have chosen to concentrate on European studies. Therefore I greatly appreciated the opportunity to spend my first year in Bologna, where I was able to experience the European lifestyle firsthand. The chance to explore Italy, the study trips available to European capital cities, and all the delicious Italian food made my time in Bologna one of the best years of my life. I’m looking forward to spending my second year in DC and taking advantage of all the opportunities available at SAIS and around the city.

–Meredith P., SAIS Admissions Student Blogger

Friday, October 17, 2014

Student Blogger: Matthew B.

We are pleased to introduce a new student blogger.  Enjoy!

Hello prospective SAISers!
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I’m Matthew, a Louisiana native, and a first year here at SAIS in DC. I’m going to introduce what I do and why I’m at SAIS, so bear with me if it gets a little dry.
I’m dual concentrating in Conflict Management and African Studies.  I chose Conflict Management, or CM for short, because I want to get into a foreign affairs/assistance career within the US government–in particular, the Foreign Service. CM so far is a good blend of negotiation, mediation, and diplomacy that fits what I’m looking for, but feel free to ask me any questions about it as the year goes on.  My second concentration, African studies, or AFSTUD for short (nobody calls it that. yet.), is more in line with my interests before I came to SAIS. While I was an undergrad (I went to Tulane, roll wave) I worked on a thesis that examined western european social reactions to North African migration. After undergrad, I spent a year working for the NGO International Organization for Migration in Seoul, South Korea. It was a crazy time, but after all was said and done, I was ready to go to SAIS in DC, where I could try to shift into a new career though the school’s courses and the city’s networking opportunities. That’s how I came to pick my concentrations, and why I decided the DC campus over SAIS Europe for my first year. I look forward to sharing with y'all my experiences as I transition back to America, school, and DC in general.
–Matt B., SAIS Admissions Student Blogger

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Student Blogger: Sirtaj K.

We’re pleased to introduce a new student blogger.  Enjoy!

Who Are You and Why Are You at SAIS?
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I am Sirtaj, a second year student at SAIS. I was born and raised in India. My mother teaches English and my father is a bureaucrat and I get many of my influences and interests from my parents. At a very young age I developed a love for literature. I would covertly read poetry in math and science classes in high school. During my last year of high school, I started playing the guitar and have been playing ever since. Meanwhile, my conversations with my father roused in me a great interest in politics and foreign affairs.
When it came time for me to decide what I wanted to do with my life, I decided to go to law school. It seemed like a good balance between my passion for politics, writing, and debating, and it was a feasible career option in India. I loved the law but through five years in law school, I felt unsatisfied confining myself to it. During my internships with various lawyers I learned that much of the law was about dealing with procedural issues. I wanted to dwell upon broader issues and develop an understanding of more fields than the law – a more interdisciplinary educational and professional experience.
In my final year at law school, I applied to SAIS and various other international relations programs. SAIS was the best program for me because it offered the most wide ranging and interdisciplinary program. It would also give me the opportunity to interact with experts in the various aspects relating to international affairs.  Now, having spent a year at SAIS, I can easily say I have no regrets.
–Sirtaj K., SAIS Admissions Student Blogger

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Student Blogger: Sana A.

We’re please to announce that we have 4 new student bloggers this fall.  Over the next few days, each student blogger will post their first entry here.  Enjoy!

Who Are You and Why Are You at SAIS?
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My name is Sana, and I am a second-year Strategic Studies concentrator at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). Prior to starting my graduate program at SAIS, I worked for the Ambassador in the Embassy of Pakistan in Washington, DC. I saw first-hand how governments seek convergence on key issues facing both Pakistan and the United States, and tirelessly strive to strengthen a crucial bilateral relationship. My time at the Embassy proved to be invaluable; I count myself among the exceptionally lucky for having witnessed leadership at its bravest and diplomacy at its finest. I could not have imagined a better introduction to international relations today.
The field of international relations is so incredibly vast. It covers all aspect of human living, from trade to energy to security to human rights. Finding your place amongst these aspects can be daunting, which is why I am grateful I worked for some time. I knew my interest lay in security issues and my passion was in the policymaking process; armed with this knowledge, I looked at the next step in my journey. I didn’t have to look far! SAIS is located in the heart of Washington, DC and boasts of a world-renowned strategic studies program. I wanted an education that would emphasize how interconnected everything is by giving me an econ foundation. I wanted to be the most capable version of myself before setting out to do my part in the enormous field of IR. That’s why SAIS.
–Sana A., SAIS Admissions Student Blogger

Monday, October 13, 2014

Is SAIS your first choice?

Then consider applying as part of the early notification process! 

For the entering 2015 class, the SAIS Admissions Office is offering an Early Notification option for M.A., M.I.P.P., G.P.P., and M.A.I.A. applicants.  Applicants who submit their application and all supporting documents by the early notification deadline–November 15–will receive an admissions decision by Dec 30, 2014.
Wouldn’t it be great to ring in the New Year, knowing you were admitted to your first-choice school?  Then you’d really have something to celebrate!
For more information on the SAIS application process, please click here.
Thanks for reading!
–Erin Skelly, Associate Director of Admissions

Is SAIS your first choice?

Then consider applying as part of the early notification process! 
For the entering 2015 class, the SAIS Admissions Office is offering an Early Notification option for M.A., M.I.P.P., G.P.P., and M.A.I.A. applicants.  Applicants who submit their application and all supporting documents by the early notification deadline–November 15–will receive an admissions decision by Dec 30, 2014.
Wouldn’t it be great to ring in the New Year, knowing you were admitted to your first-choice school?  Then you’d really have something to celebrate!
For more information on the SAIS application process, please click here.
Thanks for reading!
–Erin Skelly, Associate Director of Admissions

Monday, September 29, 2014

Where Were They This Summer?

One of the great things about beginning the fall semester is hearing all the stories our returning students have to tell about their summer adventures.
Last week the SAIS Observer, the SAIS student newspaper, ran an article titled, “Where Were They This Summer?” in which returning students were asked what they did over their summer, and new students were asked how they spent their last months pre-grad school.
To read the article, click here.
Thanks for reading!
–Erin Skelly, Associate Director of Admissions

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Is The World Going To Hell?

I don’t know the question to that question, but these prospective SAIS students might:



This past Tuesday, over 40 prospective students joined up for a Taster Lecture with Eliot Cohen, SAIS Professor and Director of the Strategic Studies Program.


The evening began with Dr. Cohen’s lecture, titled, “Is the World Going To Hell?” and ended with a question-and-answer session with the popular SAIS professor.

If you missed Dr. Cohen’s lecture, you still have the opportunity to attend another taster lecture with another SAIS faculty member this semester. In October we will be featuring Camille Pecastaing, professor and Acting Director of Middle East Studies, and in November we will be featuring Peter Lewis, professor and Director of Africa Studies.

For more information and to register, please click here.

To view our other recruiting events for the fall semester, visit our Recruiting Calendar.

Thanks for reading!

–Erin Skelly, Associate Director of Admissions

Monday, September 8, 2014

New for 2015: Early Notification

Is SAIS your top choice school?  Have you already begun getting your application materials ready to apply for Fall 2015?  Do you want to beat the application rush in early January?  Do you not want to wait until March to hear if you were admitted to your top school?
Then you might want to consider applying to SAIS using the Early Notification process, new for the 2015 entering class.  Available to M.A., M.I.P.P., and G.P.P. applicants, Early Notification allows students to submit their application materials with an early deadline (November 15) and receive a decision on their Fall 2015 application by the end of 2014.
For more information on the Early Notification process, please click here.
Thanks for reading!
– Erin Skelly, Associate Director of Admissions

Monday, September 1, 2014

Happy Labor Day!

Today is Labor Day in the United States, and all divisions of Johns Hopkins are closed in observance of the holiday.  We will reopen at 9 am on Tuesday, September 2.
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Labor Day Parade, float of Women’s Trade Union League, New York, 1908
Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress
Have a great holiday, and thanks for reading!
– Erin Skelly, Associate Director of Admissions

Friday, August 29, 2014

SAIS Leads

Yesterday, we welcomed our new students to campus.  But earlier this week, we welcomed some of our rising second year students back early.
Every year before Orientation, we host a leadership development conference calledSAISLeads: Discovering Your Leadership Style, Potential, and Impact
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When reviewing applications, one of the things we look is aptitude for leadership; the SAISLeads conference is just one of the ways SAIS helps our students to take that aptitude and develop it into applicable skills.
Thanks for reading!
– Erin Skelly, Associate Director of Admissions