Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Questions we heard at the Open Day

On December 7, SAIS Europe welcomed dozens of prospective students.

Visitors traveled from different parts of the world and spent a full day with SAIS students, faculty and staff and learnt about academics, career services, student services, student life and admissions and financial aid procedures.

We know many of our prospective students were not able to attend. Below are some of the questions and answers that came up throughout the day.

Director Plummer and SAIS Europe's resident faculty presented the academic difference of SAIS. SAIS offers a unique and multi-disciplinary curriculum, which allows students to study international affairs from a variety of angles.

Q: Does the curriculum change year to year?
A: Each year, the curriculum is revised and, based on feedback, some courses offered may change.

Q: What are the concentration requirements?
A: Students in the MA program pursue two concentrations, in international economics and in a second concentration of their choice. The international economics concentration requires students to take Intermediate Microeconomics, Intermediate Macroeconomics, International Trade Theory and International Monetary Theory.

The requirements of the second concentration depend on the concentration selected. Some programs have several requirements, while others have fewer and leave more room for electives.

Q: SAIS offers a new Master in Global Risk, is there demand for these kind of skills in the job market?
A: The field of Risk is growing and there is an increase in demand for specialists who are able to understand and analyze global risk in its many forms.

Q: I have already taken exams in intermediate economics. Will I have to take these courses while at SAIS?
A: No. Students who have already completed courses in economics can apply to take the waiver exams. These exams are offered a few times a year and they give students the opportunity to show they know all the required contents.

Q: You have spoken about student advisers. Are they professors or professional advisers?
A: They are academic advisers, who are mostly your professors.

Q: Is coursework assessment the same for all courses?
A: There are many forms of coursework and types of assessment, such as the participation grade, essays, other written assignments, exams, problem sets, etc. Also, in case you are unfamiliar with the American educational system, each semester has two examination sessions: the mid-term exams and the final exams.

Q: Are language credits transferable? 
A: No, students do not get credit for languages.

Q: I am an MAIA applicant from a partner school. How is the. program structured? 
A: For those coming from partner schools, the MAIA program consists of 6 subjects. Students take 4 courses during their first semester and 2 courses together with a 20,000-word research thesis during the second semester. They have to take four Economics classes (Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, International Trade Theory and International Monetary Theory) and choose two additional classes. They also have to pass a language proficiency examination.

Q: Is there a way for students to combine their policy area concentration with a specific regional interest?
A: We have introduced the possibility of pursuing a minor this year. This means that the students can choose to use their remaining elective classes (those not used to fulfill their concentration requirement) to pursue a minor in one of the regional concentrations, or vice versa.

Q: Can you combine the European and Eurasian Studies with Middle East Studies?  
A: Yes, students can utilize the new minors system to study both.

The members of the Student Government Association (SGA) talked about their paths to SAIS and took time to answer questions on their experiences as SAIS students.

Q: How do you balance your active involvement in the SGA with academic life?
A: There will be many times when you will find yourself stressed at SAIS. Thus, organizational skills are key if you want to be successful. We take an active part in the SGA because we find it meaningful and very rewarding. It can be challenging to manage to do everything, but it is possible and we do help each other a lot.

Q:Are there opportunities to interact with students at the University of Bologna? 
A: There are many opportunities to meet students from the University of Bologna and, as SGA, we're working on strengthening the connection with the University of Bologna.

Q: What are your plans after SAIS? 
A: It is a hard question. Some of us know, but many are still in the process of discovering our next steps. One of the greatest things about SAIS is that we have a lot of choices.

Meera Shankar, director’s of Career Services, says that "SAIS students’ careers are not linear" and we are discovering this is true. Many options are available to us and it is very likely that we may want to change sectors and career paths during our lifetime.

Studying at SAIS enables us to acquire a set of transferable and flexible skills that prepare us for different types of careers. The curriculum of SAIS MA degree reflects this diversity and flexibility.

Meera Shankar, director of Career Services, talked about the role of her Office and the services available to students.

Q: You seem to have a very strong alumni network. How common is it for the alumni to come to talk to students?
A: Students use the alumni network very actively. For example, our careers trips always include an event with SAIS alumni in one of the destinations we go to, be it London, Geneva or Brussels.

We also host a big event at the end of each year, an Alumni Weekend, which draws nearly 300 alumni from around the world and we encourage the students to meet the alumni during the weekend.

It is great to see how excited the alumni are about coming back to Bologna and how willingly they engage with our present students.

Q: The brochure says that 29% of the students go to Consulting Services. Does this mean that most students pursue careers in Management Consulting? 
A: No, the umbrella term “Consulting Services” encompasses diverse consulting spheres, such as development consulting, energy consulting or political risk consulting.

Q: Do you have classes that develop employment related skills? 
A: Yes, we call them professional skills courses and we offer many diverse opportunities for developing a variety of skills. For example, we hire students to teach Excel classes. At the moment, we have beginner and intermediate Excel tutorials to be followed by advanced courses next semester. Also, we cooperate with Economics professors to offer Stata and Advanced Econometrics courses.

Moreover, we offer an opportunity to take professional skills online courses. For example, we have Harvard Business School online courses in Spreadsheet Modeling, Advanced Financial Accounting and Introductory Finance. You can take up to three courses per semester and they do appear on your transcript.

Q: Are there alumni events outside Bologna?
A: Yes, there are many active SAIS alumni groups outside Bologna, such as Amici di Bologna in Washington, SAIS Brussels Alumni and Bolognesi a Londra. These groups are very active and they are always happy to meet our students. We often put our travelling students in touch with our alumni.

During the last panel, the Admissions, Financial Aid and Development Offices addressed questions on the application procedures.

Q: What are the admissions deadlines?
A: The application deadline is on January 7, 2016.  The financial support application deadline is on February 15, 2016.

By the deadline, we need to receive your application and the supporting documents. If you think there will be delays with your application, please send us a note to sais.eu.admissionsjhu.edu

Q: I have two passports. Which one should I indicate in the application form?
A: You should indicate both.

Q: Are there jobs available on campus? Can they help us to meet our financial needs?
A: There are many jobs available on campus. Students work 10-12 hours per week and are employed by the administration and the faculty for various roles, such as library assistants, research assistants, teaching assistants, front desk receptionists, etc. A few students have also managed to find work off-campus as English language teachers. These jobs can help you to cover some of your living expenses, but you should not count on them to cover all your maintenance costs.

Q: Can you provide the admissions proof if we need this information for funding?
A: Yes, we can provide letters that certify your admission.

Q: Are there any specific criteria for financial aid and scholarships?
A: We have two general criteria: merit and demonstrated financial need. The key thing is a very strong application because we rank the students based on merit, which is the primary criterion for receiving financial aid. We then look at the applicants’ financial needs, especially when two candidates are of equal merit.

There are also specific fellowships with unique criteria, such as the ones specifying the nationalities or concentrations eligible.

Q: As part of the financial aid application process, we are required to provide parents’ income. Do we have to translate the form to English?
A: We won't need an official translation. However, any amount in the forms should be indicated in Euro currency.

Q: Do you help students with housing?
A: Yes, we have a housing consultant who helps students find accommodation. At the beginning of each year, he organizes housing tours, during which the students visit and choose their apartments.

Amina Abdiuahab

Friday, December 4, 2015

Meet the Student Government Association

As SAIS  prospective students prepare to arrive in Bologna for our Open Day, this Monday, December 7, we asked the members of the Student Government Association (SGA) to share some of their experiences and elaborate why they chose SAIS Europe. The SGA is elected by the student body each year. The members play a crucial role at SAIS as they act as the link between the student body and the administration. Below are their stories.

MIGUEL - President
I am this year’s SGA President and was born in a city known for its world famous Oporto Wine – Porto, Portugal. Before joining SAIS I was working as economic adviser to the Portuguese Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation in Lisbon.

The SGA has two main goals: to enrich the academic experience of the students by supporting their initiatives and to build a community among the student body. In 2015, the Association has organized a club fair with 26 participating clubs followed by karaoke night, a Halloween Party in a new location, and more recently, a Thanksgiving dinner with more than 200 participants.

Moving forward, the SGA has various goals including creating a football tournament, organizing cultural events around Bologna, designing new SAIS merchandise, and working closely with the administration to provide students with academic and career services.

The SGA members
The possibility of studying one year in Europe and another in DC was a decisive factor when choosing SAIS as my next home. Moreover, my passion for economics and international affairs made the Master of Arts (MA) program at SAIS the perfect fit for my long-term career goals.

In the SGA, I am responsible for coordinating all the areas of the association, and I am directly involved in the organization of social events and the management of internal relations.

After approximately three months with the SGA, the experience of serving the SAIS students has surpassed my initial expectations. More than a group of students, this year’s class is already a big family. The sense of community grows day by day, and the SGA works hard to promote events that strengthen friendship between students.

MAX - Treasurer
I am from Germany and I am in charge of student clubs as well as the distribution of SGA funds. In my role, I allocate funds to the Student Clubs to help them organize events that will benefit the SAIS community. This includes  inviting external experts and guest speakers for lectures, panel discussions and even sporting events.

Like many of my classmates I was attracted by the opportunity to study across the two sides of the Atlantic. I wanted a program that would provide a great variety of perspectives on international issues and that would prepare students for a future workplace with an intersection of politics, society and business.

What's more, I was interested in the opportunity to attend the numerous seminars with policy-makers and influential people in politics, multilateral organizations and government.

Since arriving in Bologna, I have realized that the student body is extremely talented and diverse. Sitting in a classroom with the influential decision makers of tomorrow is enriching, challenging and valuable at the same time.

ELISA - Cultural and Social Events 
I was born in Italy, but grew up in different parts of the world, from Alabama, U.S.A. to Beirut, Lebanon.

I’m in charge of Cultural and Social events and External Relations. This mainly involves planning and coordinating events throughout the academic year, and managing the student body relations outside of SAIS. I feel my role impacts the SAIS community very positively and helps to further build that strong sense of belonging that makes SAIS special --for example, we hosted a Thanksgiving dinner in late November that brought students, staff and faculty together-- and, at the same time, facilitates the integration in the bolognese life.

I am an M.A.I.A. student at SAIS Europe, and was previously enrolled at the University of Bologna. My interest to apply to SAIS dates back to when I decided to study International Relations and found out about this remarkable double degree opportunity.

Due to my international background and life-experiences, I directly felt that SAIS Europe was the perfect environment in which to complete my studies.

HIMMAT - Academic Affairs
I was born and raised in India, but moved around the country a lot since my father was an officer in the Indian Army. I studied telecommunications engineering, followed by an MBA. I worked for six years before coming to SAIS.

As a management consultant for five years, I had the opportunity to work with clients across five countries in South Asia and Africa.  I have always had a deep interest in politics and governance, which prompted my decision to leave what I was doing and start charting a new course for myself.

Studying at SAIS has provided me with the relevant academic foundation and the ideal platform to build a career in a field that is completely new for me. I was concerned that lack of an international relations or economics background would  pose a challenge for me. However,  soon after arriving to SAIS, I realized that the diversity of our student body is one of our greatest strengths. We all learn from each other as much as we do from our classes.

As a member of the SGA, I am responsible for academic affairs, fundraising (through selling SAIS apparel) and  external communications. As part of our initiatives, we recently launched our first SAIS apparel collection and will  be delivering orders to the students within the next two weeks.

The initiative was a success and we received a far greater response than expected. I hope to see some of you at our Open Day and get a chance to talk in person. Look out for a ridiculously tall man in a cast with crutches that look like toothpicks!

RICCARDO - Career Services
I am from Italy and like most of my classmates I have lived in different countries. After graduation, I worked as a Policy Advisor to the Chair of the Constitutional Affairs Committee of the European Parliament. Moreover, I served in November 2013 as an EU Short Term Observer to the Presidential elections in Tajikistan, and as an OSCE Short Term Observer to the Presidential election in Belarus in October 2015.

I am the liaison between the student body and our Career Services team, working with fellow SGA member Himmat on academic affairs. As a number of students showed interest in my experience as an EU election observer, I am in the process of setting up a training module for aspiring election observers at SAIS. Through my role in the SGA, I aim to achieve synergies between the student body and the Career Services team during our time as students at SAIS Europe.

SAIS Europe SGA 2016

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Open Day at SAIS Europe: Get to know us up close

Every year, SAIS Europe opens its doors to prospective applicants.

This year, Open Day will be on December 7. Prospective applicants are invited to come visit us to explore our campus in Bologna.

The entire day will be dedicated to visitors who will be able to speak to students, professors and staff,
and attend classes.

We encourage those within reach of our campus in Bologna to attend. The link to register is here. The event if free of charge-- we request a registration to ensure we have materials and food for everyone.

(For those in European countries, you should know there are budget airlines that fly into Bologna. Moreover, some current students have offered to host visitors for a night or two.)

A full schedule for the day is available here. There will be academic panels as well as career and student panels.

In the afternoon, visitors will have the opportunity to get a full experience of the academics at SAIS Europe by attending a class.

The day concludes with a Happy Hour with current students and an evening debate where Prof. Harper and Prof. Unger will discuss the U.S. Presidential Elections of 2016.

We understand that many prospective candidates may not be able to attend. Some are too far away and others will have conflicting commitments. If you can't make it and you want to learn more about SAIS, do get in touch. We'll do our best to answer your questions. We are available for chats on the phone (+39 051 29 17 811) or Skype (jhubc.admissions). You can also contact us by email.

We stand ready to answer your questions. You are about to embark on a long journey, and you need to know which ship you might get on.

Amina Abdiuahab

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Early Admission Deadline is just around the Corner

As a friendly reminder, for those of you applying to early admission, our deadline is fast approaching: November 1 is just around the corner. Remember that for those of you planning to apply early, please be sure to submit your application, and all supporting documents, before this deadline.  Please note that many of your application questions can be answered by consulting our website here.

If applying early to SAIS Europe, for those of you who meet the minimum requirements, you will be invited to interview with us either via Skype or in person. We wish you the best of luck in the process. (Applicants who apply early are notified on December 30 of the status of their application.)

In addition, as a friendly reminder, the regular decision deadline is January 7, 2016. If you are still looking for additional information about our program, be sure to either attend an in person session or join a virtual session  by consulting our recruiting calendar  here.

Moreover, we are also inviting all prospects to spend a full day at SAIS Europe in Bologna on Monday, December 7 as part of our Open Day. SAIS Europe opens its doors to prospective students who are considering their post-graduate school options to offer them an opportunity to get to know the faculty, staff and students of the Center. Open Day is the best way to learn about SAIS Europe Master's programs and get a first-hand look at the campus before applying. Some current students have offered to host visitors who are traveling from out of town for the night. To learn more about Open Day and to register, please visit us here. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

SAIS Europe Students Share their Experiences

Over the course of this year, SAIS Europe Admissions has asked students to share their experiences before they came to SAIS. In our first of this series, we profile Chantal Akinyemi  -- a first year dual national student (Nigerian/US) studying in the Master of Arts program, with a concentration in International Development.

Before coming to Bologna, I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Indonesia. For the past two years, I taught English at a rural high school in the East Java province of Bojonegoro. I had graduated New York University with the plan of eventually going to medical school, but my experience during the Peace Corps made me realize that my goal of improving the lives of populations in the developing world would be more effective if I worked in International Development.

The broadening of my focus from health to include many global factors lent itself to a more complete picture of the situation on the ground and the causes and effects working in developing countries. I came to SAIS looking to better understand these relationships and hopefully learn how to affect change from within local communities.

After finishing my Peace Corps service this past June, I traveled South East Asian for a few weeks, spent another few week back in New York and finally arrived in Bologna at the beginning of August. It had been a lot of moving around along with big life changes, especially that of going from a very loosely structured life in Indonesia to a more structured and time sensitive lifestyle of being a student. For this reason, I was glad to have the month during pre-term to readjust and settle in. Having the pre-term community was especially helpful. It also gave me time to remind myself of normal social behavior (in Indonesia it is very normal to start off conversations by asking about someone’s relationship status and if they have any children yet) and get to know Bologna before it was bustling full of students.

 I really enjoyed pre-term. Yes, the microeconomics class was fast paced and intensive but working in groups to complete problem sets and group study sessions created a great learning environment through collaboration. There is such a wide range of experience and knowledge within the SAIS Europe community, so everyone has something to contribute and everyone has something to learn.

I was going through a period of readjustment not only to western society, but also transitioning from playing the role of teacher for the past two years, back to student life. What better of a place to make this transition than in a city nicknamed la dotta, or the learned one. Bologna is a great place to make this transition from whatever project, job, life experience or schooling you were doing before to a new level and standard of academia.

I know the two years ahead of me will be challenging, but I have a feeling the hard work and dedication I plan to put into them will be worth it in the end. After all, it has only been a month and a half and I already feel the difference SAIS has made in my life.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Second Year SAIS Student Shares Summer Experiences Volunteering in Ecuador

Second year SAIS MA student Stephanie Billingham, spent her summer volunteering on an Organic Coffee Farm in Ecuador. Her goal was to become fluent in Spanish before beginning her second year of study at SAIS DC. Her experiences, which she chronicles below, were life changing.

In her own words, she writes,

‘When I ended up deciding to volunteer on a coffee farm in an isolated part of Northern Ecuador this past summer, all I thought I would learn was Spanish. Following a year of study in Bologna, off I went to immerse myself in another language and culture in the hopes of keeping my Spanish sharp to move up a language level by September. Instead, those two months transformed the way I think about development, labor, foreign land ownership, and energy policy. As  a result, I have chosen to do a minor in Latin American Studies alongside my main concentration in Conflict Management, and am avidly signing up for courses on Latin American history, energy policy, international labor law, and economic negotiations. I am also reading everything I can find by or about Simón Bolívar and Eduardo Galeano.

I had never studied Latin America before, except within the context of American Foreign Policy. I had never travelled there. The only real tie I had with the region was the language I was learning. And yet, I fell in love with Ecuador this summer. I spent those two months working on a coffee farm with three other volunteers and the two permanent workers, Jorge and Maricela, who lived there. I cannot wait to go back!

The first thing I learned about Ecuador is that its people are unimaginably generous; with their time, their food, and their friendship. The region in which I was living in is very poor, though about to experience an economic boom, thanks to the advancing copper mining companies keen on exploiting the enormous deposits of copper hiding under their mountains. The coffee farmers, who started their businesses in concert with a local coffee co-operative in efforts to provide alternative employment to those jobs offered by the mining corporations, barely break even financially. They still hire seasonal workers to provide the community a minimal source of income. Friends will help each other with their businesses for a little extra cash (there are no ATMS, or banks). As everyone participates in this exchange, the money is shared.

The days were busy, but wonderful. The four volunteers, me included, would wake-up at six with the roosters, have breakfast with Jorge and Maricela at six thirty, and climb up the mountain to start the coffee-picking with the seasonal workers promptly at seven. We would know it was ten o’clock when Maricela would appear with fresh juice she made an hour before. At noon, we’d troop back to her house, where she always had lunch ready and waiting for us. Depending on the day, after our hour long lunch break, we would help her harvest yucca and avocado (carried in wicker baskets hung over our backs), go down to the river and help Jorge wash the coffee, or sit at a table and sort through 50lb bags of dried coffee beans to pick out the bad ones. Some days, we would work seven hours, others ten. At seven at night, we’d troop back over to Jorge and Maricela’s house and have dinner with them. (If we were lucky, some nights, Jorge would pull out his guitar and sing traditional Ecuadorian songs.) It was lovely.

Coffee harvesting was not the only thing that kept us busy. Though they were not grown in quantities large enough to sell for significant profit, other crops such as bananas, yucca, naranjilla, beans, oranges, papaya, pineapple, and avocadoes grew all over the mountainside in between the coffee plants. We would help Maricela collect baskets full of them.

Despite the physical fatigue, these were the pleasant side of working on the farm. The hard, difficult parts dealt with the pressure of trying to appease the greedy land owners of the farm, who were keen on receiving confirmation that the farm’s profits were expected. I learned later that Maricela had been paid half of what she had been promised and seasonal workers had been fired because profits were not met.  (Our volunteer labor was preferred instead of hiring local workers. If more profits were lost, Jorge and Maricela could be out of work the following year. It was painful to see how Jorge and Maricela were exploited.)

I could fill books with stories of Maricela and Jorge’s abuse at the hands of their landowner. At SAIS, in studying development issues and how different labor standards between countries have been exploited, I now saw first-hand these abuses. Viewing up front the exploitation of workers has impacted and changed the context in which I view and interpret my education.

Despite these difficulties, what impacted me most was Maricela and Jorge’s way of looking at the world, so different from my own. When I asked them what their favorite part of Ecuador was, they both said, “Right here.” Both of them had been to other areas, for work and visiting family, but they always quickly returned to the mountains. They preferred their own little stone house. When I returned home to Canada for two weeks before school started again in DC, I looked around and thought, ‘They would hate living in, or visiting my home country.’ Life on the farm had given me a new perspective.  Everything is so loud, whereas on our farm, no matter where you are you can hear the river running.

Despite how hard their lives on the farm can be, including lack of material possessions, Maricela and Jorge are happiest exactly where they are, and completely dedicated to staying a part of the community.

For me, as someone who will probably live internationally for the foreseeable future, such strong ties and loyalty to a place had initially been a foreign concept to me. This is no longer the case. I’m already planning on going back; I have a Christening, and three birthdays for which I promised to return for. When I left this summer, I imagined I would be returning to the northern mountains in Ecuador. The friendships I made this summer will prevent me from ever truly leaving.

Friday, September 25, 2015

SAIS Europe Invites you to a Special Information Session in Oslo, Norway - October 7

SAIS Europe Invites you to a Special Information Session in Oslo, Norway

October 7, 2015
5:30pm to 7:30pm

SAIS Europe wants to highlight a special recruiting information event in coordination with the U.S. Embassy in Norway which will be hosted with the following graduate programs focused on public policy and international affairs.

Daniela Coleman, Director of Admissions and Recruitment for Johns Hopkins SAIS Europe campus and Matt Clemons, Director of Admissions at HKS, will be present.

Columbia University - School of International and Public Affairs
Georgetown University - Master of Science in Foreign Service
Harvard Kennedy School  -  John F. Kennedy School of Government
Johns Hopkins University - School of Advanced International Studies
Princeton University - Woodrow Wilson School
Tufts University - The Fletcher School

Attendees will have the opportunity to learn about U.S. professional master's programs focused on the study of public policy and international affairs.

Space for this event is limited and interested registrants must fill out this form by September 30th to be considered for admission to the event. Registrant information will be reviewed and everyone who submits this form will be contacted by October 5th with information on whether or not attendance is confirmed. Those who are confirmed to attend will be provided with specific location information for the event.

The registration form is hosted by HKS. Interested applicants can register

(If you can’t make this session, SAIS has other sessions throughout the year across the globe. We also invite students to visit us in Bologna for our Open Day on Monday, December 7.)

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The 2016 Application is Now Open!

The SAIS online application form for admission is now live on our website! 

All degree seeking candidates can obtain application instructions and deadline information on our
website. We invite you to begin your application. Candidates apply for all programs using our online system.
As a reminder, the deadline for our applications is as follows:

Early admissions: November 1, 2015
Regular admission: January 7, 2016

For information on the SAIS Europe recruiting events, including our virtual sessions, please be sure to check out our website
here. Our next virtual session will be held on September 23.  For more information click here.

This fall, the John
Hopkins SAIS will be visiting the Netherlands, Russia, Turkey, Greece, the United Kingdom, Egypt, Belgium, Austria, and France. Stay tuned.   

Should you have any specific information about your application, you can always email us as: sais.eu.admissions@jhu.edu

We look forward to reading your application,

Daniela F. Coleman
Director of Admissions and Recruiting,
SAIS Europe

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

SAIS Europe Students Share their Experiences Studying Legal Reform in Montenegro

Since 2003, more than 180 students and scholars from 26 countries have traveled to Igalo, Montenegro to attend the European Union and Legal Reform Summer School, a weeklong post-graduate course organized by the Center for Constitutional Studies and Democratic Development (CCSDD) at SAIS Europe and the Faculty of Law of the University of Belgrade. During the course, held between July 12 to July 17 this year, students attended an innovative series of lectures and roundtable discussions in order to deepen their understanding of the EU’s expansion eastward and all of the subsequent legal and constitutional implications. Three SAIS Europe students shared their experiences below as students in the summer program. 

View from Villa Galeb in Igalo

Learning the Elements Crucial to Cultivating Cooperation in the Western Balkans 
'With the fjord-like Montenegrin Alps towering over the crystal blue Adriatic Sea, surrounded by palm trees and olive groves, it’s no wonder why Josip ‘Tito’ Broz chose Igalo to build his “Galeb” therapeutic and rehabilitation center and villa.  Tito’s new residence came two years after the fourth and final Yugoslav Constitution of 1974, which further expanded the unique Yugoslav economic system of worker self-management and further devolved political autonomy to the constituent republics and provinces.  While Tito and his regime are no longer around, this unique socialist regime has left big footprints, evident by the ubiquitous Yugo-nostalgia in the region. 

As if we found ourselves sent back in time, the diverse group of young Balkan professionals and students participating in the CCSDD Summer School was a salient reminder of how connected the peoples of the region have been throughout history, despite recent political fragmentation.  During the lectures, a special emphasis was placed on the importance of deepening regional cooperation and progressing with the Stabilization and Association Agreements for future EU membership of the Western Balkan countries.  Engagement by former Yugoslav and Albanian participants was the cornerstone of the seminars, along with a special contribution brought by the perspectives of other international students.

Connecting divergent issues like the recent sovereign debt crisis in southern Europe, deficiencies in European policy on human rights, and the need for legal reform, the participants of the CCSDD Summer School all contributed with one common goal in mind:  the development, security, and prosperity of the region in order to realize a unified Europe.

While “patience” is the abraxas of this process, the continuation of summer schools like that hosted annually by the CCSDD is crucial to cultivating empathy, trust, and cooperation in the Western Balkans.'

Christopher T. Barber, MAIA, 
SAIS Europe 2014 - 2016

My Unforgettable First Year at SAIS Europe 
'The European Union and Legal Reform Summer School in Montenegro was the perfect follow-up to my first year at SAIS Europe in Bologna. When I started my courses at SAIS in September 2014, I still needed to clarify my area of study interest. For this reason, I began to take courses in a variety of different fields, ranging from politics, history, economics and law. After some months, I focused my coursework in conflict management, international law and transitional justice. These courses taught at SAIS Europe by Professors Justin Frosini and Winrich Kühne, as well as the CCSDD activities, were crucial elements in influencing my decision to specialize in these areas and take my future career in this direction.

The Summer School in Montenegro was a perfect follow up to my two semesters at SAIS Europe. Topics of study included the legal aspects connected to international affairs, European integration and disintegration, and current topics, such as financial and economic crisis in Greece.  Participants came from different countries with extremely interesting backgrounds.  The rich diversity of participants meant that learning not only occurred in the classroom from faculty but also from the conversations and contributions from peers. 

The location and the extra-curricular activities in Igalo and Herceg Novi during the summer months were perfectly suited to fostering a memorable learning environment. This included visiting the former residence of the former President of Yugoslavia Josip Broz Tito, whose home had only recently opened to the public. 

Summer School in Montenegro was undoubtedly an unforgettable experience and the best way to conclude my first year at SAIS Europe.'

Irene Forzoni MA 
SAIS Europe 2014 - 2015

Creating Invaluable Friendships While Learning about the Future of Europe
'The European Union and Legal Reform Summer School, organized by the Center for Constitutional Studies and Democratic Development (CCSDD), created a unique opportunity to learn about the current status of the European Union (EU) and its potential for enlargement.  The summer school provided a forum to learn from talented professors from top universities in London, Milan, Berlin, and Belgrade.  Students from the Western Balkans and Central Europe contributed to the experience.

Lectures and round-table discussions on the European Economic Crisis and the power of European constitutional courts gave participants new insights on developing issues.  The academic experience was enhanced by the opportunity to see coastal Montenegro with attendees partaking in a boat-trip to a blue grotto, spectacular beaches, and a Cold War era military submarine silo.  The program allowed me to form invaluable friendships and develop a better understanding of how Europeans view the future of the EU and its legal systems. Perfect preparation as I begin my arrival to SAIS Europe this fall.'

Alex Sleisenger, MA 
SAIS Europe, 2015 - 2016 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

How to learn more about SAIS

SAIS Europe is getting ready to welcome the Class of 2016. We in Admissions look forward to meeting students, with whom we've been in touch over the last few months.

The race has been long, but fun all along. Our Office remains involved with students while they are at SAIS, but our main responsibility is to ensure SAIS continues to attract the best candidates: we now need to turn our eyes to recruiting the next class.

Students interested in learning more about SAIS and SAIS Europe, will have plenty of opportunities to get to know us up close. 

Over the next few months, we will hold several online and in-person information sessions. Below is a list of some the events we've lined up for the summer and beyond. Much more will be available soon.

The online information sessions are a great way to learn more about us. The first session will be in June. We plan to hold one session per month until December. See the dates below:

- June 29 at 6 pm Italian time (1600 GMT or 1200 EST) - https://connect.johnshopkins.edu/june29/
- July 23 at 4 pm Italian time (1400 GMT or 1000 EST)
- August 26 at 6 pm Italian time (1600 GMT or 1200 EST)
- September 23 at 4 pm Italian time (1400 GMT or 1000 EST)
- October 14 at 6 pm Italian time (1600 GMT or 1200 EST)
- November 26 at 12 pm Italian time (1100 GMT)
- December 10 at 6 pm Italian time (1700 GMT or 1200 EST)

The first few sessions will be generic. As we get closer to the deadline for applications, we will focus on one or two topics at each session. These will range from the application components, to Career Services, Academics and Student Life.

To participate to the session on June 29, click on the link above provided and log-in as a guest. We will provide the other links soon.

The Open Day will be on December 7. Attending Open Day is an excellent opportunity to learn first-hand what our program offers. Visitors will be able to speak with faculty, current students and staff. In addition, they will be able to attend classes and seminars held on the day. A registration form and tentative schedule will be available soon.

Amina Abdiuahab

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Some questions we are hearing

Over the last few weeks, we have received questions from incoming students. Today, we'll try to answer some of the most frequent queries.

We hope this post helps. However, in case your questions are not answered here, please feel free to comment on this post to ask your questions. Alternatively, get in touch with us. You can reach us via email at sais.eu.admissions@jhu.edu, via Skype (jhubc.admissions) or via the good old telephone +39 051 29 17 811.

Q: In my letter of admission, I was asked to take an introductory economics course. I did not sign up to the SAIS Online Principles of Economics (OPE). What should I do?
A: If you were not able to enroll in the OPE, you should look for a university-level course offered by an accredited institution. The course can be on site or online. Before you enroll, be sure to send us the syllabus so that we can make sure you will be studying the right contents.

Q: Can I take economics courses in pre-term instead of taking an introductory economics class this summer?
A: No. Pre-term courses are taught at the intermediate level. The OPE, or equivalent courses, are at the
introductory level. You will need a solid understanding of the principles of micro and macroeconomics to be able to tackle the intermediate-level courses.

Q: Can I take both micro and macroeconomics during pre-term?
A: Microeconomics is the only economics course that will be offered during pre-term 2015 in Bologna.

Q: How do I qualify to take the waiver exams in economics?
A: The purpose of the waiver exams is to allow those who have already taken the required economics courses to take more advanced courses while at SAIS.

To qualify for the waiver, you must have completed a course equivalent to the SAIS economics course and received a grade equivalent to a B- or higher. Look at this page for information on the economics waiver exams.

Q: If I waive out of all the required economics courses, can I take all non-economics courses during my studies?
A: All students pursuing the MA degree, are required to take four economics classes and a quantitative reasoning course. If you are able to waive out of all the required courses, you will need to substitute these courses with other economics courses. There will be lots of courses for you to choose from.

Q: I heard about a pre-calculus tutorial and test. Am I required to take them?
A: Yes. All students are required to follow the tutorial and take the quiz at the end. The purpose of the tutorial is to help you (and us) understand where you stand with your math skills. If you don't pass the test at the end, it'll be an indication that we need to help you with your math skills and we will ask you to follow an on site tutorial with Prof. Erika Meucci.

The tutorial is available online in Blackboard and all incoming students should have received an email with instructions. If you have not received the email, please get in touch with us.

Q: When should I take the pre-calculus tutorial and quiz by?
A: You should complete the quiz before you start economics coursework at SAIS. If you are taking microeconomics in pre-term, you will need to complete the quiz by August 15. If you are not taking micro, you have until September 15.

Q: Should I also complete the calculus tutorial prior to starting economics courses at SAIS?
A: The calculus review and test are not required prior to starting economics classes. However, you will have to do it during the year. If you can, we recommend you do the calculus tutorial and quiz as well because you may have less time during the year.

Q: I have a strong math background, do I need to take the pre-calculus tutorial and test?
A: If you have a strong maths background, you can probably get through pre-calculus quickly. Once you have taken the quiz, we strongly recommend that you dedicate your time to the calculus review and quiz.

Q: I would like to pursue a different concentration than the one I indicated in my application. Can I change concentration?
A: Yes, you will be able to change concentration once you arrive in Bologna. The only concentration you will not be able to change to is International Development (IDEV), which is the only concentration with capped enrollment.

Q: What kind of visa should I apply for?
A: You should apply for a type D visa for study purposes (visto di tipo D per motivi di studio). This visa, will enable you to stay in Italy for the entire academic year.

Q: How long does it take to obtain a visa?
A: It depends on the workload of the Embassy you will be applying from. You should ensure you complete your application at least four weeks your departure date.

Q: I have been asked by the Italian Embassy to provide proof of health insurance, but I don't have a health insurance plan.
A: All non-European Union citizens are automatically signed up to health insurance plan provided through SAIS.

In the visa request letters you have received, we address health coverage during your stay. However, we know that some Embassies require additional information. If this is the case for you, be sure to get in touch with us.

Q: I have an EU passport, do I need health insurance in Italy?
A: If you are a European Union citizen you should apply for a European health card. Such card, will give you the same access to healthcare as Italians.

Generally, only residents of an EU country are able to apply for a European Health card. If you don't qualify for a European Health card, you will be enrolled in the plan provided by SAIS, unless you have adequate coverage already.

Amina Abdiuahab

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Meeting SAISers in Vietnam

One of the things that sets SAIS apart is the close-knit community students become part of when they start their SAIS studies. In the post below, Ben West, an alumnus from the U.S., tell us about the SAIS network in action. 

I am a recent SAIS graduate and earlier this spring I moved to Vietnam’s capital Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon).  After only ten days in my new home, I experienced first-hand the power and reach of the SAIS network.

I made contact with the head of the SAIS alumni network in the city, Chuong Tran (DC ’86) who invited me to take a tour of a new development project just north of town. SAIS economics professor and resident Vietnam expert, Jim Riedel, was in town and came along on the tour. Coincidentally, I met a future bolognese, Sarah Piccini, who is currently living in Ho Chi Minh City.

Just like that, the four of us, representing the faculty and three different classes of SAIS came together for a day of “economic tourism” in southern Vietnam.

From Left: Sarah Piccini (BC ’16), Ben West (BC/DC’15), 
Prof. Jim Riedel and Chuong Tran (DC ’86)
The four of us, plus other associates of Chuong, went to Binh Duong province, about a 45-minute drive north of Ho Chi Minh City. The provincial government there is pushing development hard (click here to see a video) and is trying to attract people to the area.

Despite all of its hard work, it was obvious that the area was having trouble attracting residents and I suppose they hoped that we would buy some apartment blocks or something.

During a meeting with some of the developers, Professor Riedel highlighted the fact that the development was completely government funded. Later, over lunch, we discussed the shortfalls of relying too heavily on central coordination for development projects; without outside investors, there was no guarantee that there would be demand for the new residential and commercial properties. The government had provided ample supply, but the demand was lacking. All those pages of supply and demand curves during my years at SAIS came flying at me as we walked through a shopping mall full of stuff but without customers; or as we passed million dollar villas surrounded by empty lots.

 Tran and Riedel at the impressive Binh Duong City Hall
Running in the background of all this, of course, was the fact that it was bringing together us four SAISers: past, present and future. It was great for me to get acquainted with people in my new home (as well as get to see some areas off the beaten path) and I think it helped Sarah, the future SAISer, get an idea of what it meant to be joining this new community before she starts this fall. 

I had seen the SAIS network in action in Bologna and DC, and this certainly isn’t the first time that it’s helped me, but this past month, I felt the huge geographic reach of the SAIS alumni network. 

So, for all of you out there who have already been accepted or are thinking about applying to SAIS, whether in Bologna or DC, look up your local SAIS alumni chapter and go see what they’re up to. You might find yourself off an adventure before you even step foot in the classroom. 

Ben West

Thursday, May 21, 2015

What will SAIS Europe students do over the summer?

The academic year at SAIS Europe ended last week. Today, students who are completing their studies at SAIS in DC will be attending the graduation ceremony and are about to put their SAIS studies behind them.

Time flies, or so the saying goes; but each year when graduation arrives, we realize that as far as the academic year at SAIS goes - this is not just a saying.

Every year we welcome students in August and wave goodbye to them in May. Saying goodbye is not easy, but we find comfort in the fact that when our students leave us, it will be to embark upon an exciting and rewarding summer followed by another challenging and enriching academic year in DC.

So where will SAIS Europe students be this summer? Fortunately, there is no single answer to this
question. To give you a sense of the diversity of locations and activities, below is a video in which several students tell us what they will be doing over the next few months.

The vast majority of students use the summer vacation to work an internship. These internships take them to various parts of the world. In the video, you'll hear from students going to Indonesia, Peru, Tanzania, UK, France, Belgium, the U.S. and many other places.

The fields in which they’ll be gaining experience are extremely diverse, ranging from renewable energy to corporate responsibility, and from political and economic risk assessment to investment consulting.

Some students use the summer to strengthen their language skills –they know that a very good way to learn a language is to spend time in a country where that language is spoken. In spending the summer abroad, students get the opportunity to learn about a new culture as well as to use the language on a daily basis.

Click on the video below to hear for yourself what exciting things await our students.

If you are reading this post on email, you can see the video here.

Amina Abdiuahab

Thursday, May 14, 2015

SAIS revolutionized my way of thinking

The academic year at SAIS Europe will end tomorrow, May 15. Students have been busy doing exams and writing papers before they take off for their summer internships and travel. Below, Carlotta Munini, a first year student from Italy, tells us about her experience at SAIS Europe. 

I started my M.A. degree at SAIS Europe only nine months ago and I would have never thought that my brief time here would have had such a lasting impact on me. As an Italian national and recent college graduate, I wanted to pursue graduate studies at a top ranked academic institution in International Relations.

Today, as I conclude my first year of study in Bologna, I realized that my year at SAIS not only deepened my conceptual understanding of world affairs, but, more importantly, as a life changing
experience, it broadened my global perspective.

I came to SAIS with a degree in Finance and a “Business School” way of thinking.  I initially believed that knowledge of the world could only be acquired from reading Economics textbooks or by solving a mathematical formula. SAIS revolutionized my way of thinking.

While a student in class, I became blown away by how my professors transmitted their passion for the subjects they teach. From them, I learned how important it is to debate issues, to be curious and above all, to question. My combined courses in Energy, American Foreign Policy and Risk illustrated the interconnectedness of today’s world and how important it is to develop an understanding of the “global picture”. (This was quite a learning curve for me, as I was previously used to books filled with numbers!)

Learning about the Cold War’s containment strategies, financing biomass plants and risk in political economies was a day-by-day discovery process for me. Upon reflection, as I attended my last classes at SAIS Europe , I can finally say with confidence that I am better able to interpret and understand world issues and the complexities that lie beneath the surface.

When I began my studies at SAIS, as was one of the younger students, I felt quite intimated by my peers. (With an average class age of 26, the majority of my classmates had CVs with interesting professional experiences.)

As a professional school, SAIS gave me the needed support, coveted advice and provided me with an extensive alumni network to prepare me for the job market. Following an intensive interview process with 15 employers, I was offered two great internships. I chose to spend this summer in London working for a risk advisory firm. Landing this internship was proof that I am now ready to apply theory to practice in the work place.

Final exams have arrived and we are all preparing for our fall transition to Washington DC. As I say goodbye (or arrivederci) to Bologna, I look forward to continuing my journey on the other side of the Atlantic next fall.

Carlotta Munini
(SAIS Europe '15)

Friday, April 3, 2015

Admissions: Open Houses and SAIS Europe's new video

This month, students admitted to SAIS will have a chance to get to know the program up close. SAIS in Bologna and in DC will open their doors to admitted students for the Open House events.

On April 8, we will welcome admitted students at our campus in DC. In addition to the Open House, students admitted to SAIS Europe are invited to attend a cocktail reception with SAIS Europe Director Michael Plummer and Alumni on April 9.

The Open House in Bologna will be on April 13.

Why attend these events?

These events are a great way to get more information on the program and what it offers. We know how important choosing graduate school is and we encourage all those who live close to either of our campuses, to come visit us.

During the day-long events, students will have the opportunity to meet faculty, students and staff. There will be faculty panels as well as panels on student and career services. What’s more, visitors
will have the chance to experience first-hand SAIS’s academic excellence.

Below are the links to register:

- Open House and Cocktail reception in DC
- Open House in Bologna

We know many of our future students live far from our campuses and may not be able to travel long distances. Please know that we stand ready to answer your questions via email (sais.eu.admissions@jhu.edu), the phone (+39 051 29 17 811) or Skype (jhubc.admissions).

What’s more we want to share this new video on SAIS Europe. Enjoy!

Daniela Coleman

Friday, March 13, 2015

Admission to SAIS: Words to Think About as Decisions Are Released Today

Friday, March 13 is an important moment for applicants to SAIS as acceptance letters will be emailed out later today.

For some of you, after months of preparation, interviewing and waiting, it will provide a joyous moment. For others, it may be a moment of disappointment.

I wanted to address both applicant pools for different reasons.

As many of you know, entrance into SAIS is quite competitive, as we can only accommodate a limited number of students each year. The applications we receive always exceed the number of places available. This year the competition was fierce for available spots. The Admissions Committee work is arduous  and challenging.

As every candidate managed by SAIS Europe is interviewed, your application becomes a personal
contact for our committee – we learn about your professional and academic paths, we hear your dreams and goals and we understand why entrance into SAIS is of utmost importance to you. Every candidate is unique and we feel privileged to meet you.

For this reason, I first speak to those who may have been denied a place in our program: this by no means is a reflection of your potential. Quite the contrary: we want to offer you these words: do not be discouraged, as applicants often reapply once they are able to strengthen their application and meet our requirements for admission. Use this time of reflection as a learning process. We remain a resource for you and will be available to address your concerns on how to improve your application for next year, should you reapply.

For those that have been accepted, the admissions committee was convinced by the strength of your application. You will join a class of peers  who will not only come to SAIS to learn from faculty, but to learn from each other. Our hope is that you use the knowledge acquired combined with your ambition to make the world you live in better for future generations. You are our future leaders. Be prepared to learn, to work hard, but most of all, to make lasting friendships that will change your life.
The real journey is about to begin.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

SAIS Europe celebrates its 60th Anniversary

SAIS Europe, formerly known as The Bologna Center, celebrated its 60th anniversary on February 22, 2015.  

To commemorate the event, keynote guest speaker Pier Carlo Padoan, Italian Economy and Finance Minister, was in attendance. SAIS Europe Director Michael Plummer welcomed guests and provided remarks on the history of SAIS in Bologna and its strong link with the City, which has hosted the institution for six decades. 

Minister Padoan (right) and Director Plummer
SAIS's campus in Bologna was founded in 1955 by C. Grove Haines, who believed there was a need to set up a school of international affairs where young European and American scholars could learn from one another and work together to reach common international goals. As an intellectual hub of Italy, Bologna was the perfect location for SAIS to establish its European presence.

Sixty years later, SAIS Europe welcomes students from over 35 different countries each year with a common: to train the leaders of tomorrow to study international affairs, history, economics and languages.

During his remarks, Minister Padoan commented positively on the European Commission’s agreement to extend Greece's financial rescue package by four months.  He also emphasized the need for reforms both at the Italian and the European levels. 

Minister Padoan also used this platform to announce Italy and Switzerland’s recent agreement to exchange tax-relevant information as part of wider negotiations on contentious financial issues between the two countries.

The well attended event brought together students, alumni, faculty as well as prominent members of the city; Bologna Mayor, Virginio Merola, the Rector and Vice Rector of the University of Bologna and many others.

Amina Abdiuahab

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

At the end of the year....I was indeed transformed

As the admissions cycle moves forward, we thought we would share a post from an alumna. Amal Ali, from the UK, was at SAIS Europe in 2011 and received her Master of Arts at our campus in DC in 2013. 

Below she tells us about her experience while at SAIS .

When I was a prospective SAIS student, I remember reading numerous blog posts authored by former students that all started with that fateful sweltering August day.  My story won’t veer from this beginning.

Amal Ali
I arrived in Bologna August 21st 2011. The city was in a deep slumber as most of its inhabitants had left the sticky August month for the cooler air of the coast. I was 22, passionate about international affairs, and rather keen to get my teeth stuck into economics.

I suppose I hadn't prepared myself for all that I was to experience in those months. SAIS Bologna –like for others—was a year of new for me. I had never studied international relations or economics, it was the first time that I had properly left the UK, and God knows that I hadn't looked at algebra since high school.

During that year, I felt that I was learning something new each day: be it personal, academic or both. At the end of the year, I felt like—whilst holding to the same moral values that had shaped me—I was indeed transformed. I take those 10 months as a lesson in life: nothing significant ever occurs when you’re comfortable or complacent, but it is fearlessly (or fearfully) plunging yourself into new and challenging environments that you truly flourish.

Whilst this might seem like a romantic tale about growth, be assured that there were some troughs in my peaks. My shameful midterm results in Microeconomics can attest to that. But I did pass the course, and I believe that if I can get through it—everyone can do it too. Resilience and perseverance were certainly key in that endeavor.

In fact, I believe that it was the skills and experiences that I picked up in those two years—multitasking, embracing some elements of failure, working under pressure, coming up with solutions, thinking out of the box, and taking each challenge head-on—that allowed me to land my first job at a reputable international corporate communications consultancy in London. And thereafter  my current role at the World Bank.

Another great perk I’ve found is that the SAIS world never quiet leaves you: personally or professionally. My closest friends are SAISers (in fact I had them round for supper last night, and we couldn’t stop laughing about our Bologna stories). A SAISer hired me for my current role, and every once in a while I bump into a SAISer or two at the airport, or at my Monday morning meetings.

I suppose I didn’t know what I would find when I arrived in Bologna that August afternoon, but boy I am glad to have been gifted with those two years.

Amal Ali

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Meet the new Director of Student Recruitment and Admissions at SAIS Europe

SAIS has named Daniela Francesca Coleman as Director of Recruiting and Admissions at its campus in Bologna, Italy. 

Daniela is an experienced professional in higher education specialized in admissions and alumni affairs, career services and project management. She joins SAIS Europe from the TRIUM Global Executive MBA program in Paris, France, where she served as the head of alumni relations. Prior to TRIUM, she spent four years at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) in New York. 

Daniela holds a Masters in European Politics and Administration from the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium and a Bachelor of Arts in Foreign Affairs and Italian Language and Literature from the University of Virginia, in Charlottesville, VA, USA. A dual Italian and US national, she speaks English, Italian and French fluently.

Daniela began her role at SAIS Europe on January 1. 

Daniela Coleman
Working for SAIS is an exciting opportunity. As a truly global institution that offers students an international perspective on today's critical issues, SAIS has a presence on three continents.

I am based out of its European campus in Bologna, Italy, a city which is home to the oldest university in Europe. In the short period of time that I have been here, I have immediately felt a warm welcome from the tight knit community of students, faculty and of course, the local ‘Bolognesi’.

Over the next few weeks, I will be reading your applications and interviewing many of you.  I want to wish you all good luck in the admissions process and I hope to personally welcome you to Bologna  in the near future.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Admissions: Application deadline today (January 7)

As a friendly reminder, today is the deadline to submit your application for the SAIS MA, MAIA, MIPP and Diploma programs. 

You can access  your online application here. If you are interested in pursuing your studies at the SAIS Europe Campus, please make sure to highlight this in your application.

We encourage you to submit your application even if some of your supporting documentation is pending.

If you think there will be a substantial delay in receipt of your documents, be sure to let us know. You can reach us at sais.eu.admissions@jhu.edu

We wish you the best of luck in the admissions process.

Amina Abdiuahab