Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Inside SAIS South East Asia Studies: Q&A with Joshua Ahyong

At Johns Hopkins SAIS, all MA students pursue two concentrationsthe first in international economics and the second in an international policy area or a regional area of their choosing. Because SAIS offers 21 concentration optionseach providing unique learning, developmental, and abroad opportunitiesnewly admitted students sometimes find making a decision to be a challenging task.

For this reason, I thought it'd be helpful to run a blog series profiling current students from various concentrations. Last week, we asked Jiawei Li why he choose to concentrate in Latin American Studies. This week, we asked South East Asia Studies student Joshua Ahyong what he found appealing about SAIS.

Name: Joshua Ahyong
Program: MA, 2016
Concentration: Southeast Asia Studies
Hometown: Manila

When considering graduate school, what was appealing about SAIS?
I chose SAIS over other graduate schools in international relations because of its strength in economics and languages. As future leaders in global affairs, we need to learn about the economic issues and problems every county faces. SAIS allows its students to dig deeper into important economic matters such as monetary policy and international trade. Apart from this, SAIS has an intensive language program which allows its students to develop pertinent language skills. After graduation, SAIS students move into the workforce with global and economic perspective that is often used to face today’s most important challenges.

What do you hope to do after graduation?
After graduation I hope to move into development by working at the World Bank Group. SAIS has helped me prepare for this career by equipping me with strong language, quantitative and analytical skills. More than just an understanding of policies, in development, you need to understand the politics behind each program. SAIS has taught me to understand the intricacies of local politics, international relations, and economic development. SAIS has prepared me to work in a career that allows me to change lives, build relationships and create a significant impact on the world.

What has surprised you the most being at SAIS?  
After two years at SAIS, I learned that there is no dull moment in school. Every day you can participate in different forums, conferences, roundtables and discussions. Important people from all over the world come to talk in SAIS about the word’s most pressing issues. SAIS is full of regional and career-oriented clubs that enrich your learning experience at school. Classes at SAIS are challenging, interesting and eye-opening. Every time you leave the campus, you know something more about the world you live in and more importantly, you learn more about yourself and where you want to be in the future.

What are you most passionate about?
I am most passionate about helping others. For me, giving others the opportunity to live a better life is an opportunity for me to learn more about myself. I have come to SAIS with a dream that I can prevent and mitigate conflict, foster human development and leave a significant impact on the global community. I want to lead a career where the welfare of other people come first, economic progress is very important and global peace and stability is always an option.

Coolest trip you have taken with your peers?
Some of my peers from the Southeast Asia Program participated in a Winter Language Program at Jogjakarta, Indonesia. For 3-4 weeks, we spent hours learning Bahasa Indonesia, exploring the beauty of Indonesia, and interacting with the locals. Our trip to Jogjakarta broadened our cultural learning of Southeast Asia and gave us a deeper understanding of the daily lives of those who live half a world away from SAIS. After the program, aside from becoming more fluent in Indonesian, we came out with an eye-opening experience from one of the world’s largest democracies.

Josh on SAIS Study Trip in Indonesia

More in this series:
Concentrating in Latin American Studies at SAIS: Jiawei Li
Life as a Military SAISer: Aaron Pluto