Monday, February 9, 2015

Studying in Washington: Sana A.

This week, we’ve asked our student bloggers to talk about some of the benefits of studying at their respective campuses.  Today, Sana A. talks about Washington, DC.

What are the benefits to living/studying in Washington, DC?  What have been some of the highlights so far?
One of the great things about Johns Hopkins SAIS is its ability to offer campus options to its incoming students. Some opt for a year in Bologna, others select Washington, DC while others do a stint in Nanjing. 
I decided to do both years in Washington, DC. Prior to starting my graduate program at SAIS, I worked for three years at the Embassy of Pakistan in DC and had gotten to know the city. I definitely spent time thinking about Bologna – the campus there offered a chance to live in Europe, something I had never done. 
After much reflection, I chose DC for a variety of reasons. Huge policy decisions that would affect South and Central Asia were being discussed and debated. Military drawdowns, new theatres of war – the situation was so fluid and the dynamics were constantly changing. I knew the upcoming years for my region of focus would depend on the conversations and decisions happening in DC, and I wanted to be totally plugged into the conversation. 
This is *the* political capital of capitals, and one can find IR contacts and conversations at every corner. I love that it has been such a complementary backdrop to my SAIS degree. I have informational meetings at the World Bank or the State Department. I attend think tank events to hear analysis on a range of topics (the Brookings Insitute and the Carnegie Endowment are right across the street!). World leaders, experts, journalists – so many talented and informed individuals regularly stop by SAIS to offer their insights and remarks. I feel great about my decision to do both years here, and recommend it highly.
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–Sana A., SAIS Admissions Student Blogger