Friday, August 18, 2017

Summer School in Montenegro: A Once-in-a-lifetime Opportunity to Gain Different Perspectives on the EU Project and its Future

Every summer, the Center for Constitutional Studies and Democratic Development (CCSDD) and the Institute of Social Sciences in Belgrade organize a week-long European Union & Legal Reform (EULR) Summer School in Igalo, Montenegro.

Utpala Menon, a student pursuing the International Law concentration, who completed her first year of the Master of Arts (MA) at SAIS Europe, tells us about her experience.

Utpala Menon
Before attending Johns Hopkins SAIS, the Balkans was an unfamiliar place, both in terms of its geopolitical and cultural intricacies. Hence attending the EULR Summer School in Montenegro was more than just an academic exercise. The decision stemmed out of genuine curiosity about the region, fomented by the timing of the start of my journey at Johns Hopkins SAIS in 2016, a year marked by radical alterations in the EU project, and in attitudes towards populism politics and migration.

The Summer School’s lectures and round-table debates covered an array of subjects. We began the week discussing Brexit, especially through the lens of the UK's and other European countries' historical vision for the EU project. This was particularly interesting as students from the Region voiced a certain sense of unprecedented ‘Euro-skepticism’. The discussions exposed the full impact of Brexit, including its legal and economic implications on both Europe and the world.

We participated in a stimulating debate on whether candidate countries should express caution in their integration, asking questions like: "Are they ready for integration?" and "Is the EU ready for them?" In the wake of Brexit, this meant truly questioning the socio-economic consequences of EU integration for candidate and potential candidate countries, which include economies of the former Yugoslavia such as Montenegro, Serbia, and Albania as well as Eastern European economies like Ukraine.

Utpala (third from left) and
her classmates in Igalo, Montenegro
We also learnt about the legal nature of preambles and more abstract concepts of identities. These nuanced lectures proved useful in understanding what motivates some countries to move towards greater integration and differing attitudes towards the migration crisis. What is more, the expertise and contributions of faculty such as Prof. Justin Frosini, Director of the CCSDD, and Marko Milenkovic, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at SAIS Europe, added depth and breadth to this already enriching experience.

The Summer School was a once in a lifetime experience for me. It brought together students from diverse backgrounds with intriguing and inspiring experiences as prosecutors, lawyers, and economists. It allowed us to make new friends and to take field trips around the coast of Montenegro and to Tito's villa. Above all, in an age of transforming political and economic landscapes, the insightful faculty presentations, round-table discussions, and challenging debates provided a unique and unforgettable opportunity to learn about different perspectives on the EU project and its future.

Utpala Menon
MA Student
SAIS Europe 2017

Friday, August 11, 2017

The Online Application is Now Live

Prospective applicants interested in the graduate programs offered at Johns Hopkins SAIS can now open an account to begin an application for the 2018-19 academic year. 

You can start your application now by clicking on this link, you can save it and return to it as many times as you like. As you complete the application form, be sure to have the instructions at hand, which you can find on this page.

Applicants to SAIS Europe will be able to apply to one of the five programs offered at our campus in Bologna, Italy:

- Master of Arts (MA)
- Master of Arts in International Affairs (MAIA)
- Master of Arts in Global Risk (MAGR)
- Master of International Public Policy (MIPP)
- Diploma in International Studies

The programs have different requirements for admission as well as for graduation. In coming months we will host different online and in-person events to help prospective students learn more about our academic offerings.

Click here for a calendar of events. The next event will be an online information session on September 7, 2017 from 12-1 p.m. CEST during which you will have the chance to learn more about our programs, our application procedures, and you will be able to ask us any questions. To connect click on this link and enter as a guest. All you’ll need is a computer and an internet connection.

Amina Abdiuahab

Monday, July 31, 2017

Reflections on the MAGR Degree: A Life Changing Year in Bologna

After completing his academic coursework in the Master of Arts in Global Risk (MAGR) in Bologna, Aleksandr Skop is spending his summer working at Global Guardian in McLean, Virginia. Below are his reflections on the summer experience and his year in Bologna.  For more information on the MAGR program, please visit our website.

Aleksandr Skop at Work
As what I can only describe as a life-changing year in Bologna drew to an end, I had to reluctantly leave Europe and return back to the Washington, DC metropolitan area. As the final part of the MAGR degree, I would spend this summer interning at Global Guardian in McLean, Virginia. Global Guardian is a global travel security provider, which offers tailor-made security, monitoring, and emergency response solutions to clients, ranging from 24/7 surveillance of properties, to medical evacuation in over 80 countries around the globe. At Global Guardian, I work under the Lead Intelligence Analyst, helping to produce intelligence briefs, safety reports, and real-time analysis, as well as cyber-security solutions. The internship is full-time, with flexible hours, and two months in duration.

The MAGR degree gave me the tools necessary to conduct qualitative and quantitative risk analysis in finance, international relations, economics, and other subjects. The most important aspect of risk analysis is the ability to not only properly assess, but to be able to communicate and deliver the analysis in a clear, concise manner. Among the most crucial “hard” skills the MAGR program has helped me develop is an effective writing style. At Global Guardian, my primary responsibility is writing weekly analytical briefs on the most pressing world events pertaining to clients’ personal and business interests. Some examples include: terrorist attacks in Europe, global cyber-security risks posed by ransomware attacks, the threat of North Korea’s nuclear program, and economic and security impacts of falling oil prices. Other tasks included open source research and analysis of a high-profile client’s online presence in order -to assess potential threats to their family and business. 

The work environment at Global Guardian has been welcoming and friendly. The company is incredibly flexible and accommodating in terms of hours, and the staff is eager to answer any and all questions about the business model, operations, and mission of Global Guardian. I am incredibly satisfied with my decision to complete my Capstone Project here, and believe it is a hugely positive experience in my professional growth and development.

Aleksandr Skop
MAGR Student
SAIS Europe 2017

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

MAGR Curriculum Provides Students Ideal Setting to Learn and Test Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches Towards Understanding Risk and Uncertainty

The Master of Arts in Global Risk (MAGR) is an intensive 13-month, cohort-based program offered at SAIS Europe, which gives students the necessary skills to become experts in the field of risk. Students spend ten months in the classroom and three months completing the capstone project, which can be fulfilled by working an internship or by writing a 10,000-words original research paper. 

Following her academic year at SAIS Europe, Angelina Magal, a student in the program's first cohort, is doing her summer internship at Philips, in The Netherlands. Below are Angelina’s reflections on the experience.

Angelina Magal
I was offered the opportunity work on a project at Philips, where I am interning with the Risk Management, Markets and Business Development support (RMMBDs) team. RMM&BDs supports and advises Country and Markets on the proactive identification, prioritization and mitigation of risks (strategic, operational, financial, compliance) related to new business-models, solutions, strategic partnerships and entry strategies in high-risk countries. The internship is four months long and based in the Philips headquarters in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

During the academic year, we covered qualitative and quantitative approaches towards understanding risk and uncertainty. My summer internship is an ideal setting to apply these skills in a business context.  One of the most interesting takeaways from this experience is that the MAGR degree ultimately provides you with a holistic, multifaceted understanding of risk. I constantly combine a variety of skills, methodologies, and theories that are sourced from the different classes I took.  For example, when analyzing country risks, I draw upon knowledge from economics and international relations courses for the overall context. However, to tailor my assessment towards Philips in particular, I simultaneously utilize the ability to incorporate “point of view” in risk assessment, and depend on a thorough understanding of corporate finance.

Amsterdam, The Netherlands
The environment in the RMMBDs team is engaging and supportive, and everyone brings a self-motivated, collaborative and positive attitude to the office.  This atmosphere is pervasive throughout Philips, and I am looking forward to the remainder of the internship.

Angelina Magal
MAGR Student
SAIS Europe 2017

Monday, July 10, 2017

Summer Internship in Bogotá Puts Theory into Practice

As part of a series of articles chronicling our students’ internships, below are Eli Birgé's reflections on his internship experience in Bogotá, Colombia. Eli, a student in the Master of Arts (MA) program focusing on Latin American Studies, tells us about how he merges theory and practice in the Colombian capital.

My summer internship in Bogotá has been an elegant capstone to two semesters of study in Bologna,
Eli Birgé
Italy. The experience has led me from Latin Europe to Latin America, from the Apennines to the Andes and from development theory into practice.

The Corporacion Andina de Fomento (CAF) is Latin America's home-grown development bank. The infrastructure team where I work is dedicated to improving Colombia's global competitiveness and domestic inclusivity through improved industrial integration and mobility.

Now is a particularly exciting time for Colombian infrastructure. Despite being endowed with immense natural resource wealth (second only to Brazil on the continent), Colombia's industrial hubs and ports are disjointed from each other by three Andean cordilleras, jungles, rivers and lousy roads. CAF's concerted effort to break this socio-economic bottleneck could unlock the country's impressive growth potential. 

My role on the infrastructure team has given me the chance to burnish the skills I acquired at Johns Hopkins SAIS, particularly in project finance, Excel modelling, and Spanish. Most projects are ad hoc, and my supervisor gives me the latitude to tailor them to my professional objectives. 

JHU SAIS Alumni reunion in Bogotá
Although the workdays are long--about eleven hours--Bogotá offers plenty of diversions. Recently I was able to attend a JHU SAIS alumni reunion and on weekends I take my bicycle onto the non-motorized ciclovias, discover a new fruit at the outdoor markets, and enjoy the several salsa clubs. In all, my summer internship following my year at Johns Hopkins SAIS Europe, has been off to a great start.

Eli Birgé
MA Student
SAIS Europe 2017

Monday, June 26, 2017

Students at SAIS Share their Summer Internship Journals

Every summer, students at SAIS work internships around the world, which give them the opportunity to apply what they learnt during the academic year to a professional setting. This summer, we'd like to share some of our students' journals to give our readers a glimpse of the diversity of the summer internships students pursue.  Below is the first diary entry by Gaston Melo Felgueres, a Mexican national in the Master of Arts (MA) program pursuing the conflict management concentration.

Following my first year of study at SAIS Europe, I was accepted this summer to intern for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), located in Paris, France. Although I already had work experience in multilateral institutions, I really enjoyed learning about the mission of the department I am in, the Development Centre.

Ministerial meeting for the Latin America Economic Forum
As stated on its website, the mission of the OECD is “to promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world” by providing “a forum in which governments can work together to share experiences and seek solutions to common problems.” The Development Centre is one of the only departments of the OECD that works with emerging market countries. It is composed of regional teams, such as the Latin America and Caribbeans, West Africa and Sahel Club and various others. It aims to provide sound policy recommendations to these emerging economies in order to better approach “OECD standards”.

OECD Forum
I was assigned to the Director’s Office, while rotating with the Latin America and Africa teams. In my first week, I have already had quite a fulfilling experience. I was able to attend a forum with the Presidents of Peru and Guatemala, as well as meetings with Ministers from Argentina, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil and Guatemala. 

Throughout this summer, I will be given more responsibly than I have had in any of my previous jobs. I am currently analyzing the regional integration between Mercosur and the Pacific Alliance, while working on SMEs integrations into global value chains for the Latin American Economic Outlook 2018, a publication which analyzes issues related to Latin America’s economic and social development, and destined to share experiences and good practices with the region’s public officials.

Gaston (left) at the
 OECD Networking funcion
People at the OECD are incredibly diverse, and they encourage friendship among co-workers, organizing happy hours or athletic activities. I have been incredibly pleased with what I’ve learned and I am very glad that I took the International Trade Class at SAIS Europe this past spring before coming here.

Gaston Melo Felgueres
MA Student 
SAIS Europe 2017

Friday, May 26, 2017

Things To Keep In Mind As You Prepare To Move To Bologna

Summer is at our doorstep and before they’ll know it, incoming students at SAIS Europe will be in Bologna. 

Before arriving in Bologna, there are some things you should do and that remain on your mind.

If you do not have a European Union passport, you will need to apply for a visa to study in Italy. You should have received at least an electronic copy of the letter to request the visa. If you have not, please contact us at

Getting a visa can take some time and we recommend that you book an appointment as soon as possible. We in Admissions are happy to help you in case you come across issues, but you want take all the necessary steps to make your visa application as smooth as possible.

Some students have been required to take a course in introductory microeconomics and macroeconomics during the summer. This is because at SAIS you’ll be taking intermediate-level economics courses-- it’s important everyone knows how to walk before they can run.

If you’ve been required to take an introductory economics course, you’ve probably enrolled in the SAIS Online Principles of Economics course. Those who did not should have found by now an alternate solution. If you’ve not enrolled in a course yet, you should do so as soon as possible. Remember that for students in the Master of Arts (MA) and the Master of Arts in International Affairs (MAIA), passing a course in introductory economics with at least a B- or equivalent is a pre-requisite for enrollment and, if you do not fulfill this requirement, you will jeopardize your admission to SAIS.

If you have any questions, do get in touch with us at 

The registration for pre-term course opened earlier this week and it will remain open until June 26, 2017. Information on the courses is available here.

In most cases, pre-term is optional. If you’re wondering whether or not you should register for a course in pre-term, consider doing so. Those taking courses in economics can begin to tick off some of the economics requirements while those taking Italian language courses will be able to learn the language of the country that will be their home for the rest of the year.

For those who’ve not been in school for a while, pre-term is a great opportunity to ease back into studying; while for those who’ve never studied in English or at an American university, it’s a great way to learn about the system and understand how things work.

Last but not least, pre-term is an opportunity to get to know classmates as well as the city of Bologna and its surroundings.

Amina Abdiuahab