Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Student Life: Getting the most out of SAIS Europe

Margel Highet is director of Student Affairs at SAIS Europe. She helps make sure the student experience in Bologna is as rewarding as possible. A graduate of SAIS who worked at the DC campus before taking up her role in Bologna just under two years ago, Ms. Highet is well placed to provide guidance and support to students while they study and live here.

With pre-term upon us, SAIS Europe is back in full swing.

Last week we held a question and answer session for the 150 or so students who are in Bologna for pre-term. The questions were a little different this year than last, possibly because students have had access to this Admissions Journal, to former Bologna students through Facebook and to the new Admissions Portal.

There were questions on part-time jobs, auditing courses, career trips, medical care, student clubs, sports, food and travel.
Margel Highet

I am happy to email or skype with any incoming student who is not yet in Bologna and who has any question about classes, housing or just living in Bologna. In the meantime, here are some answers to the questions that have already come up that you, too, may have been wondering about.

Jobs:  There are many jobs within SAIS Europe, from student assistant positions with administrative offices (usually advertised via email) to research assistant positions at the Institute for Policy Research (all will be advertised in mid-September via SAISWorks) and with some of our professors. There are some teaching assistant positions, especially in our economics classes. It can be more difficult to find jobs outside of SAIS, but one can work up to 20 hours a week on a student visa. Those who speak Italian can have an advantage for jobs outside of SAIS, but babysitting and au pair jobs where Italian is not required can be available.

Auditing: Students may audit classes at SAIS at the professor’s discretion and can sign up for audits on the BCWeb (not through ISIS). The general class load per semester is four non-language classes. A student is permitted to take up to six classes, including language and audits. A student may not take more than five non-language classes for credit. Please see the “Red Book” guide for more detailed information.

Career Trips: Career Services runs trips each year to London, Geneva and Brussels. These trips are open to all students, but space is limited. The trips will take place between October and January. Career Services will distribute more detailed information early in the fall semester.

Medical Care: We are very lucky to have an English-speaking doctor in Bologna. Dr. Stephen Williams is the “go-to” first step for just about everything. There are hospitals and emergency rooms around the city. Most medicine that you find in your home country will be available in Italy, although some may be by prescription only and others over the counter. If you know you will need prescription medications, please contact your insurance company to try to bring a supply with you. Or you can email me, and I can ask Dr. Williams to see whether you will be able to get your medications in Italy.

Student Clubs:  Early in the semester, we will have a “club fair” for students to sign up for the clubs they are most interested in.

Sports:  There are many opportunities for exercising in Bologna. There are many gyms (palestre) in the city, and the monthly rate is between 40 and 80 euros -- always ask if there is a student discount. There are also many sports teams that students can join and many good running trails in and around Bologna. For a terrific guide to running in Bologna, including maps of trails, take a look at this post written last year by former SAIS Europe student Tristram Thomas.

Groceries: There are many grocery stores in and around Bologna that sell non-Italian and ethnic foods. Once you arrive in Bologna, we can point you in the right direction.

Traveling: Do students have time? There is no one answer. It depends on the individual student and their workload. In most cases, however, students can find the time to visit some fabulous places in Italy and Europe and should! It is part of the experience of living and learning in Europe and a great way to get different perspectives on the local, regional and global issues facing all of us.

We look forward to having you all with us in the upcoming year. Safe travels to Bologna. We will see you soon.

Margel Highet

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