Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Open House: SAIS Bologna seen from the inside

Yesterday a number of admitted candidates participated in SAIS Bologna's annual Open House.

The day of information-sharing and encounters followed hard on the heels of SAIS DC's Open House last week, which was attended by candidates admitted to both the Bologna and Washington campuses.

These events provide visitors a chance to get to know students, faculty, staff and, crucially, fellow prospective classmates and to learn what makes SAIS tick. But we realize only a minority of the admitted candidates, who come from dozens of countries around the world, can attend.

Admitted candidates listening to Director Kenneth Keller and faculty

For the benefit of those who could not attend and, why not, for prospective applicants reading this journal, here are some of the key questions that were raised during yesterday's event in sunny Bologna.

Q: When are language proficiency exams offered?
A: Three times a year: at the beginning, middle and end.

Q: What kind of extra-curricular activities are offered at SAIS Bologna?
A: There are many clubs -- the Dance Club, the Defense and Intelligence Club, the Latin American Club, the China Club, the Poker club. The types of clubs that are formed depend on the students' interests. The Student Government Association (SGA) has a budget that helps defray some of the costs.

Q: Is aid available for non-U.S. students during their second year of study while at SAIS DC?
A: Yes. Students interested in receiving aid during their second year of study apply for aid towards the end of their first semester in Bologna. Students are advised to start their search for aid from foundations outside of SAIS as early as possible.

Q: How do students find housing in Bologna?
A: The SAIS Bologna consultant, Salvatore, shows apartments to students on a first come, first served basis. The greatest number of apartments are available before pre-term and then before the first semester starts. Some students decide not to use the Bologna Center's service and find their own places through agents or want ads that are posted in the Center or around the city.

Meeting current students
and faculty
Q: What did you wish you had known before coming but did not know?
Nameerah Hameed (SGA member): "I thought I would not be able to do anything outside of my studies but now realize I could have. I could have applied for an internship post at the Bologna Institute for Policy Research. You can do things outside of class here."

Anika Sellier (SGA member): "I wish I had reached out more to alumni. They are all so excited to hear from us. I did not really know that until I met them."

Q: Are trips organized by Career Services funded by SAIS Bologna?
A: The students generally pay for the trips. The number of students for each trip is limited to 20, and there is a selection process.

Q: Do most students work internships between the first and second years?
A: At least two thirds of the SAIS Bologna students from last year's class and possibly more worked internships last summer. They worked in many different sectors all over the world.

Q: Is a student required to do an internship to graduate?
A: It is not a degree requirement, but some concentrations do require internships.

Q: How quickly do SAIS students find jobs upon graduating?
A: Between 50% and 60% of SAIS students have lined up jobs by the time they graduate. Within six months after graduation, more than 90% have jobs. "The fact is, students do get jobs, but they need to be thinking about it while at SAIS," Meera Shankar, director of SAIS Bologna Career Services.

Nelson Graves
Photos by Marwa Abdou (BC13/DC14)

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