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