Friday, December 16, 2016

Open Day at SAIS Europe: questions and answers

Last week, dozens of visitors attended the Open Day at SAIS Europe.

Participants had a full day's schedule and got the chance to learn more about SAIS.

Below are some of the questions that came up during the day. The questions touched on a number of topics: Academics, Student Life, and Career Services.

We know the Q&A below is not exhaustive. If you have more questions, please know we stand ready to answer your questions over the phone (+39 051 29 17 811), via Skype (jhubc.admissions) or over email (

Q: What's the class size and is there room for discussion in class?
A: Most classes are small and leave a lot of room for debate and exchange of ideas. Prof. Cohen, director of the Strategic Studies program, noted that at SAIS students come from different walks of life and that diversity adds to the discussion in class.

Prof. Erik Jones, director of the European and Eurasian Studies program, mentioned that he changed
the structure of one of his classes, by making the lectures available to students as a podcast, to use the time in class for discussion.

Q: How many courses in economics do students take?
A: It depends on the program they pursue. Those in the Master of Arts (MA) program, the most popular program at SAIS, are required to take four economics courses and a quantitative reasoning course. Students in the Master of Arts in International Affairs (MAIA) take four and Students in the Master of Arts in Global Risk take

Q: Can students take another concentration in addition to International Economics and the second concentration?
A: Yes, this is done in the form of a minor.

Q: Do the students in the Master of Arts in International Affairs (MAIA) travel to do their research for the thesis?
A: Students in the past have traveled. Whether or not one is able to do so depends on they plan their research.

Q: Is there diversity from a teaching standpoint?
A: Yes. Our professors bring to the classroom perspectives from Europe, the U.S. and the Middle East.

Q: How many language courses can students take?
A: Students can take one language course per semester.

Q: How does one set up a student club?
A: Anyone can start a students club. At the beginning of the academic year, we host a Club Fair which introduces students to all the clubs that will be set up for the year. Some clubs have been in place for a long time, but almost every year at least one new club is formed.

Q: What kinds of events does the Student Government Association (SAG) host?
A: Several events a year. The first one is the Halloween Party in late October. In addition, the SGA organizes a Thanksgiving dinner where students, faculty and staff get together to celebrate Thanksgiving. For many of the non-U.S. students it's their first Thanksgiving celebration while for many of the U.S. students it's the first time they do not celebrate Thanksgiving with their families. The event is very special.

Q: Do you recommend that one takes courses in pre-term?
A: Yes. It's a great way to start your studies at SAIS.

Q: What is the work-life balance?
A: The course load is quite heavy. However, with good organizational and time-management skills, students find sometime to travel and enjoy life in Italy.

Q: How does Career Services help students?
A: Students do a professional development course at the beginning of the academic year. The Office of Career Service provides career coaching and advising and organizes career treks.

Q: What kind of careers do SAIS graduates pursue?
A: SAIS graduates can work in virtually any sector. As you can see from the report here, SAIS students enter the public, private, multilateral, not-for-profit, and non-governmental sectors.

Amina Abdiuahab

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Applications Countdown Begins

In less than seven weeks, applications for the 2017/2018 are due.

Before submitting on January 7, 2017, be sure to reach out to us if you still need more guidance. We understand that you may have lingering questions.

To start an application, you need to create an account here and you can consult the application instructions here.

We encourage you to join one of our upcoming virtual sessions on either November 25th or December 7th

Another great way to learn about SAIS Europe’s academic programs is to attend our annual Open Day in Bologna, held this year on December 5th. 

Open Day is the best way to learn about SAIS Europe's Master's programs and get a first-hand look at the campus before applying.  On this 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.

In addition to the resources mentioned above, we have listed some important tips regarding some elements of your application below.  Remember, if you still have questions about your application, you can always email us at: SAIS Europe Admissions Office

A resume should ideally be between one to two pages. Make sure to highlight all relevant internships, employment, volunteering and student organizations.

Statement of Purpose
This should be less than two pages.  We want to understand why you are applying to graduate school at SAIS. What are you professional goals? Why is our program right for you? How would you contribute and enrich the study body? This is a personal essay about what makes you unique and why our program would be the right fit for you. Tell us something we can’t gather from just looking at your transcripts or CV.

Analytical Essay
This should be on a topic of  national or international importance.  This gives us a sense of how you write. Are you ready to write at a graduate level in English? Can you write an essay presenting a clear argument and support with facts, citations, etc.? This can be on any topic of interest to you – but be sure to present a logical and clear written essay.

Two (2) letters of recommendation
A good rule of thumb is to ideally have one academic letter and one letter from a supervisor (This is strongly recommended for applicants to the Master of Arts in Global Risk (MAGR))  Give your recommenders enough time to write a letter and tell them in detail why you are applying to this program. (Remind them of that class you took, that paper you wrote with a top grade, those extra-curricular activities you were involved in, that important project you delivered on, etc.) The more you prepare them, the better letter they can write about you.  Note: it is better to choose a recommender who knows you well rather than someone who has an ‘impressive title’ but can’t comment on your work ethic, intellect nor character.

TOEFL or IELTS scores, or Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency (non-native English speakers)
All non-native speakers need to submit one of these. If you have taken one of these exams within the last two years, it is still valid. (Remember, you need at least 100 in the TOEFL or a 7 overall in the IELTS to apply.)  If you think you may be exempt from taking this exam, please do get in touch with us. Remember that at SAIS your native /dominant language is the one that meets two out of three criteria below:

(a) The main language of communication between you and one of your parents or caregivers.
(b) An official language in the community where you grew up.
(c) The language of instruction in the high school you attended.

Do consult the application instructions for more details. We wish you the best of luck!

Daniela F. Coleman
Director of Student Recruitment and Admissions, SAIS Europe

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Student Government and Student Clubs

Earlier this month, students at SAIS Europe elected five classmates to become the members of the Student Government Association (SGA). 

The SGA is the liaison between students and the administration. It plays a very important role as the Association organizes many of the student-led activities and acts as a point of contact for classmates. The SGA President and the other four members have different responsibilities, which range from academic affairs, career services, cultural and social activities and treasurer.

Below, Khrystian Pereira, a current student in the MA program, reports on his meeting with a member of the SGA.

Things are finally in full-swing at SAIS in Bologna.

After having conquered pre-term, language placement tests, waiver exams and the class selection process, we are now enjoying everything that the School of Advanced International Studies has to
offer at the Bologna campus.

Recently, the Student Government Association (SGA) held its first Club Fair of the academic year, which brought together all the students at SAIS with one main aim: to get students involved. The SGA is the leading student organization on campus. I was able to spend some time with one of its representatives to get the scoop on everything Student Government related.

I met up with Jane Schott, a classmate from the United States. Jane is the newly elected Social Events Coordinator for the SGA. I asked Jane a few questions.

Q: Why do you think the SGA is important to SAIS Bologna and what are its responsibilities?
Schott: The SGA's main job is making sure that the faculty and administration work together as efficiently and harmoniously as possible. We are a large and diverse group of individuals here at SAIS and it is important that we have input into the administration and express our concerns as needed. Throughout the year the SGA will work as a bridge between the administration and students to foster strong communication between the two. We work with the student body and administration to troubleshoot any concerns that may come up throughout the year and work towards making changes that will positively reflect students' quality of life and education.

Q: How will the SGA cultivate a sense of community at SAIS?
Schott: We put on social events and sell SAISwear (SAIS clothing) throughout the year to help form a stronger community and to fund raise for our events.. Furthermore, we are in charge of overseeing the Student Clubs and organizing a number of social events, such as the annual Halloween party, a Thanksgiving dinner and the Vienna ball.

Q: How does the SGA help students at SAIS?
Schott: If there are topics that the student body or students would like to address, the SGA’s works with the administration to foster communication and provide alternative solutions and working plans. We are also always available to meet and listen to students who may have ideas about how to build a stronger community here at SAIS Europe.

The Global Women in Leadership table
Q: How does being involved in clubs at SAIS help with life after graduate school?
Schott: I think the most concrete benefits students gain from joining clubs at SAIS are the opportunities to network and to benefit from the professional experience clubs offer.

Several clubs at SAIS are long-standing ones that are based on professional development, which provide large networks of alumni for club members to interact with. Many of our groups also work closely with professors to help organize activities, like guest speakers and study trips, which also provide  an added academic value to joining a club at SAIS. Finally, clubs are a great way to make friends. Who doesn't want that?!

As a new student at SAIS, one can become overwhelmed by all activities to choose from. It can sometimes be difficult to decide which opportunities to participate in. Following the Club Fair, the SGA officially registered twenty-one student-led organizations,  ranging from lifestyle clubs, to entertainment clubs, to great academic clubs. Here is the official clubs list for this fall semester:

Jews and Pals
Gastronomy Club
Consulting Club
Coding Club
Energy and Environment Club
Model United Nations
Net Impact
Pan-Asian Club
Global Women in Leadership
Eastern Europe/Russian Club
Runner’s Club
Latin American Studies Program
Debate Society
Defense and Intelligence Club
The SAIS Observer
The Middle East & North Africa Club
Global Security and Conflict Management Club
Football Club
Yoga Club
Cinema Society
Pride Club

The Global Security and Cinema Society table

As you can see, there is definitely a club interest for everyone. However, creating a new club is quite simple. All ones needs to do is advertise one's organization at the fair, recruit a few number members, and  file an official form registration with the Student Government.  Once completed, the student is on his/her way to establishing a new organization at SAIS.

Like may of the SGA organized events, the Club Fair offers a very effective way of bringing our students together. The SGA events provide opportunities to bring diverse groups of students with varied backgrounds together to share common interests and  passions.

Here at SAIS,  one  does not only network with the students in your classes and in your clubs. Here, you become a part of a community of like minded individuals, who are keen and motivated to embark on internationals careers with passion and meaning, ready to  address the challenges and the opportunities of the future.

Khrystian Pereira,
SAIS Europe 2017

Photos by May Gabato, SAIS Europe 2017

Friday, October 7, 2016

Speakers at SAIS: Adding depth to the curriculum

Students at SAIS have access to world-class faculty. They also have access to visiting experts.

At SAIS Europe, the Bologna Institute for Policy Research (BIPR), organizes the Seminar Series, which attract policy-makers, academicians and practitioners across the world.

Students have the opportunity to listen to the experts and, most importantly, to ask them questions.

General John R. Allen talks about the Evolution of ISIL

Whatever one's interests, they can be sure there will be experts coming to SAIS to talk about the topics that whet their appetites. What's more, attending the talks gives students the opportunity to learn about and become interested in subjects they had not previously considered.

Below we list some of the speakers coming to SAIS in the month of October. For a full calendar of events, click here.

Prof. Christopher Hill will deliver a lecture on "Emerging Populism and Foreign Policy", a topic of great relevance in Europe nowadays.

Prof. Riordan Roett, director of the Latin American Studies Program, will visit the SAIS Europe campus also to talk about the rising of populism. However, Prof. Roett will look at the topic from a different prism in his talk titled "Populism is on the rise across the world, but not in Latin America, Why?".

Irene Khan, Director-General, IDLO

Ratna Kapur, will talk about religion and constitutional law in India in her seminar called "Faith in Law: The Politics of Secularism, Religion and Hindu Majoritarianism in Indian Constitutional Law".

Prof. Gary Sick is here for the month to deliver a four-week seminar on U.S.- Iranian relations. Here's a previous interview with prof. Sick.

Award-winning journalist Tina Brown, will talk about "Women Leaders Making a Difference on the Global Stage".

Irene Khan, Director-General of the International Development Law Organization (IDLO) in Rome, will talk about "International Migration: Crisis or Opportunity?".

Ambassador Sergey I. Kislyak, Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the US, will discuss "The Current State of US-Russian Relations.” 

Amina Abdiuahab

Friday, September 30, 2016

Careers Services: Helping students succeed

The excellence of the Career Services Office sets SAIS apart.

Throughout their time at SAIS, students receive extensive help and guidance to prepare to achieve their professional goals.

Today, we want to introduce you to Lucia Botindari, Career Counselor at Johns Hopkins SAIS Europe. We asked Lucia some questions on her role and the operations of the Career Services Office.

Q: What is your role at SAIS Europe?
Botindari: I'm a Career Counselor at SAIS Europe. Most students in Bologna are in their first year of study and, as part of my role, I help them identify and learn about the numerous career paths they can pursue after SAIS.

Regardless of whether or not students arrive at SAIS with a plan for their future careers, our Office helps them learn more about what will be available to them.

Lucia Botindari during office hours

Q: How does the Career Services Office help students?
Botindari: Our goal is to help students succeed. We want to make sure students focus on their careers from the day they arrive in Bologna.

We provide support through different channels: one-on-one counselling, training, career trips, and we provide a platform for networking.

Students who wish to benefit from the services of our Office are required to do a Professional Development Course (PDC) shortly after they arrive. The course is the foundation to a successful job search.Through the PDC and various workshops, students learn how to build their CV and compose cover letters. They learn interview and salary negotiation techniques as well as how to use social media to search for internship and employment opportunities.

In addition, we provide several skills courses, such as advanced finance courses, advanced Excel, STATA, and other software. These courses give students the practical skills that aren't necessarily part of the curriculum, but which are important to be more competitive in the job market.

After students complete the PDC, I meet with them individually and we begin the counselling process. The one-on-one meetings are mutually beneficial: students learn more about their goals and the job market, while I learn more about the students, which ultimately helps me, help them.

Each year, we organize career trips to London, Brussels, and Geneva. Each of these trips has a focus on a particular field. For example, one of the London trips -- we organize two trips to the UK capital-- is geared towards those interested in learning more about the Financial Services sector. The second trip to London, is more focused on consulting and political risk, while the trips to Geneva and Brussels focus on primarily, but are not limited to, the multilateral and non-governmental sectors.

Student panel on working at the U.S. State Department

As we plan our activities, we keep an eye on students' needs. In some cases, we've been able to organize courses and trips based on students' suggestions. For example, last year, a considerable number of students was interested in election monitoring and thanks to the help of our expert faculty and our highly motivated students, we were able to set up a workshop called "Election and democracy assistance".

What's more, we help students network. During the career trips, students have the opportunity to talk and meet with alumni. These meetings are highly beneficial for students who are able to hear first-hand what it means to work in a given sector or for a given company.

We also encourage students to network among themselves. Many of our students have several years of work experience under their belt and we invite them to share their knowledge and experiences by organizing student career panels.

During the Alumni Weekend -- a weekend where over 300 alumni return to Bologna -- we organize dozens of career panels and a Happy Hour to enable alumni and current students to meet. We take advantage of the presence of our successful and dedicated alumni who are happy to sit down for a morning with students to talk about careers.

Q: Which aspect of your job do you like the most?
Botindari: There are a number of things I enjoy about my job. However, if I had to pick one, I'd say counselling students is what I enjoy the most. I'm a social psychologist with a PhD in the field and my background allows me to help students in the long and complex process of self-discovery, self-assessment and growth. I find it extremely rewarding to be able to witness their metamorphosis.

Through a number of workshops and one-on-one meetings, I help students understand how their professional, social and personal skills can be applied to the job market. In particular, we look at the students' skills and aspirations to understand how they can reach the goals they've set for themselves.

I also enjoy the diversity there is at SAIS Europe. Our students come from all walks of life and from several countries. Each year, we have students of diverse demographics as well as diverse cultural, professional and educational backgrounds. Being in a such a diverse and multicultural environment is highly motivating as I, too, learn a lot each year.

Amina Abdiuahab

Friday, September 16, 2016

Summer School in Montenegro: A grounding and reassuring experience

The Center for Constitutional Studies and Democratic Development (CCSDDis a joint venture between the School of Law of the University of Bologna and Johns Hopkins University SAIS Europe. It focuses on research in the field of comparative constitutional law. Students from both institutions interested in international law and democratic development are able to work an internship doing research and teaching projects.

As part of the activities, the CCSDD, headed by Prof. Justin Orlando Frosini, organizes trips to Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and to Igalo, Montenegro.

Today, Chelsea Rodstrom of the U.S. and a current student in the Master of Arts (MA) program at SAIS, tells us about the trip to Igalo, Montenegro.

Early in the summer, I came across the opportunity to take part in the Summer School in Montenegro organized by the CCSDD. When I learned that some of the focus of the discussions would be on Brexit and the migration crisis, I became extremely interested in participating: as an American going to study international affairs in Europe, this was the perfect opportunity to delve into European issues.
Chelsea Rodstrom

Besides my interest in law --I had previously considered law school and worked at a law firm in New York and volunteered with an organization that handles asylum cases -- I was interested in the general issues of the migrant crisis and the fallout from Brexit.

For the majority of the week-long summer school, we examined how European constitutional systems and international law affect current economic, social and political crises. The British, Serbian and German professors led hearty discussions on the merits of each system, while we students engaged in relating these systems to the fallout from the economic crisis, Brexit and the migrant crisis.

Peppered into the practical round-tables and debates were contentious and abstract discussions on human rights, globalization, and the philosophy behind integration schemes and the EU Project.

We became especially impassioned while contextualizing the varied international legal systems within the debates on Brexit - inclusive of the merits of both the Leave and Remain platforms in the UK debate - the consequences of integration and disintegration of the EU, and the pending international migration crises.

After our daily lectures and round-table discussions, we spent time getting to know our colleagues - which included lawyers and students - from around the EU and potential EU member states like Turkey, Ukraine and Georgia. Learning about the Balkans from Serbian, Montenegrin and Albanian perspectives was especially invaluable and informative; likewise, the organized events, including a tour of Tito’s Villa and Bunker and a lovely boat trip, were enormously helpful in familiarizing a non-European to the history and current integration debate in the Western Balkans.

As someone who focused on Latin America studies in university, I was surprised to find many parallels, politically and from an integration standpoint, between Latin America and the Balkans.

Chelsea and her classmates in Igalo
The end of the week forced us out of the academic and somewhat removed realm of intellectual debate and threw us all into the harsh realities Europe is currently facing. On Thursday morning, one of our French-British colleagues was heartbroken in class, worrying about her family that was vacationing in Nice when the horrendous attack occurred late the night before. Just 36 hours later - at our goodbye dinner - we learned of an ongoing coup in Istanbul and Ankara. We all tried to comfort and offer solidarity to our colleague from Turkey, who was unsettled by what was going on in his home country.

The summer school in Montenegro was a grounding and reassuring experience; it brought us collectively to the conclusion that working together and in a critical manner is no longer an option - whether legally bound by a framework or not. Rather, it is imperative that Europe remain vigilantly cooperative and united on security, migration and economic issues.

Chelsea Rodstrom
SAIS Europe 2017

Friday, September 9, 2016

Cooperative degrees: The MAIA with Leiden University

SAIS offers several degree programs. One of them is the Master of Arts in International Affairs (MAIA). The MAIA is offered at the SAIS Europe campus and it's a two-year program with a research focus. Students can pursue this program by spending two years at SAIS Europe or by spending a year at a partner institution and a year at SAIS Europe. 

Over the years, SAIS Europe has established partnerships with four European institutions: The Diplomatic Academy of Vienna, Austria; the University of Bologna, Italy; Sciences Po Lille, France; and Leiden University, The Netherlands.

Students enrolled in the first year of the master's program at one of these institutions can apply to spend the second and final year at SAIS Europe and obtain (in most cases) a master's from the institution of origin and a Master of Arts in International Affairs from SAIS.

Today, Colm O'Flynn of Ireland, tells us about his experience with the MAIA program. Colm spent his first year at Leiden University and his second year at SAIS. Over the course of the two years, he earned a Master in International Studies from Leiden University and a Master of Arts in International Affairs from SAIS.

When I first started my Master of Arts in International Relations at Leiden University, the cooperative degree partnership between Leiden and Johns Hopkins University SAIS had just begun.

Although I was aware of the partnership, I hadn't really thought about applying to SAIS. I was already enrolled in a great graduate program at a top European university and pursuing a second master's degree seemed at the time redundant. My attitude quickly changed following a presentation at Leiden University by a representative from the SAIS Admissions team. I began to immediately realize the incredible opportunities the cooperative degree program offered and, although I was somewhat dissuaded by the tuition fees, the long-term career benefits won me over. I applied in January 2015, and was lucky enough to be accepted a couple of months later.

Colm receives the traditional Italian laurel crown
 by SAIS Europe Director Michael Plummer
Looking back on both degrees, I see how they complement each other. At Leiden University, the approach focused more on the theoretical aspects of International Relations. The class was smaller and the onus was very much on the student to keep up to date with the course material. This said, when I struggled with some course content, the professors always made themselves readily available to answer any of my questions. Indeed, much of what I learned at Leiden helped shape not only what I would study at SAIS, but also my broader outlook on global political developments, particularly with regards to Sub-Saharan Africa.

Coming from a European program, it took me a little time to adjust to the American system. The SAIS program adopted a more hands-on approach with language classes, weekly problem sets and economics sessions with the teaching assistants, all supplementing an already busy class schedule.

Initially, I was concerned about the strong economics focus of the SAIS curriculum – as a student in the MAIA program, four out of six of my courses were going to be on economics—but, I was able to adjust to the more quantitative elements of my studies during pre-term (a four-week period before the start of the academic year where students can take intensive intermediate-level economics and math classes) with the help of Dr. Erika Meucci, the “mathematics magician”. In the end, I grew to very much enjoy the economics-based focus SAIS is known for.

In addition to the academic experience, the value of my SAIS degree can be found in my classmates. I was fortunate to meet and befriend some extraordinary students while at SAIS. Whether I am looking for a job or a couch to crash on, this network will be invaluable for me going forward in life!

I now work for One Acre Fund, an East Africa-based NGO that specializes in agricultural development. It is very difficult for me to imagine working here in Kenya without the experience of having studied both at Leiden and at SAIS.

It was during my studies at Leiden that I first developed a real interest in Sub-Saharan Africa. While at SAIS, I began to take a deeper dive into some of the more pressing political and economic issues specific to the region.

Before I started at One Acre Fund, I had little work experience. I am convinced that my diverse educational background helped push through my candidacy to the latter stages of the interview selection process.

Colm O’Flynn
SAIS Europe 2016

Friday, September 2, 2016

A hitchhiker's guide to applying to graduate school

The world of graduate school is galactic.

As you've heard us say before, there are so many programs out there that choosing the right one(s) is not easy.

Today, we want to share some tips on applying to graduate school. Our online application for 2017-18 is not live yet -- but the online application is not the starting point.

As you consider your options, it is important that you take a moment to think and to ask yourself
some questions. The answers will point you in the right direction.

Graduate school is an investment and you want to make sure you invest in something you will enjoy and that will give you the returns you're looking for.

Take some time to research different programs. You might think you know what you'd like to study, but challenge yourself and think of programs you may not have thought about before. They might hold something for you.

Once you've understood what you'd like to focus on, inform yourself. As we said in a previous post, to make a good choice, you need to have as much information as possible.

We at SAIS understand applicants have lots of questions, which deserve thorough answers. Don't be afraid to get in touch with us, we will be happy to answer your questions.

Start putting together your application documents. To apply to SAIS, if English is not your native language, you will need to take the TOEFL, IELTS or the Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE). 

Consider taking the GRE. Non-U.S. student applying to spend their first year at our campus in Bologna are not required to take this test. However, we do encourage applicants to challenge themselves and to take the GRE.

Start jotting down ideas for your statement of purpose and begin to think what might be the focus of your analytical essay. The statement of purpose is the document where you will explain what motivates you to apply to SAIS and how SAIS can help you reach your goals. The analytical essay will serve to show your analytical and writing skills.

Think of who might be the best people to write your letters of recommendation. Choose your referees carefully and be sure to give them plenty of time to write their supporting letters.

Think of how you might finance your studies. While we do offer generous financial support, most students make ends meet through a combination of resources. Be sure to start your search well in advance.

The above seems to be a long list of things you need to do. But, "Don't Panic" says the catchphrase from Douglas Adams's science fiction. 

Amina Abdiuahab

Friday, August 26, 2016

How to learn more about SAIS

Selecting the graduate programs to apply to is not an easy task.

There are lots of programs out there and to make a good selection, one needs to have as much information as possible.

Here's where we step in. Each year, Admission Officers of SAIS travel around the world to meet prospective students and to provide them with as much information as possible about our unique programs.

We know how important graduate school is and we want you to make the best decision.

In coming months, members of the SAIS Europe Admissions team will travel to countries in Europe and the Middle East. What's more, we will hold online information sessions to ensure the many prospective students outside of our geographical reach, receive detailed information and, most importantly, have a chance to ask us any questions.

On this page, you can find a full list of events organized by all the Admissions Offices at SAIS.

Below are some of the events we want to highlight.

- September 14 at 4:30 PM Italian time (2:00 PM GMT or 10:00 AM EST)
- October 19 at 4:00 PM Italian time (2 PM GMT or 10 AM EST)
- November 25 at 4:00 PM Italian time (3 PM GMT or 10 AM EST) 
- December 7 at at 4:00 PM Italian time (3 PM GMT or 10 AM EST)

On September 24, we will attend a fair hosted at the New York University's campus in Abu Dhabi, UAE. For more information on the event and to register, please click here.

What's more, we will attend the APSIA fairs held in Europe. APSIA is the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs, which groups the top schools in the field of IR and organizes fairs for prospective students interested in graduate studies. For more information on APSIA, click here.

Berlin: November 8 from 6-8 PM. You can register here.
Paris: November 9 from 6-8 PM. You can register here.
Stockholm: November 10 from 6-8 PM. You can register here.

Open Day will be on December 5, 2016. 

The event will be in Bologna and we know that many of our applicants live far from our beloved city. However, if you are not too far, consider coming because you will learn a lot more on our campus and programs. There are two budget airlines that fly into Bologna and some current students have offered to host visitors.

A registration form will be available soon.

In addition to the events above, you should know that we stand ready to answer questions over email (; via Skype (jhubc.admissions); and over the telephone +39 051 29 17 811.

Amina Abdiuahab

Friday, August 12, 2016

Summer Internship in Colombia: A rewarding experience in "The city of eternal spring"

Students who will be part of the Class of 2017 have started to arrive in Bologna. Meanwhile, last year's students are completing their summer internships and are preparing to move to Washington, DC, for their second and final year of study before they graduate from SAIS.

In previous posts, students have written about their experiences in Brazil, Peru and South Africa

Today, Ileana Valle, a student pursuing the MA program and  focusing on Latin America, tells us about her experience in Medellin, Colombia.

The city of eternal spring” has been my home for the past three months. 

Since arriving to Medellin, Colombia, I have been impressed and enamored with the hospitality, resilience, food, history, and infrastructure.

My internship began at the end of May with Comfama, a non-for-profit organization based out of Medellin, which provides social protection services to over its 2.5 million beneficiaries through 150 service centers. These services include: entrepreneurial financing, housing, education, health, and recreation.

Comfama, which is financially stable and self-sufficient, began as an initiative between unions and the private sector to improve the lives of the working population and aligns with goal #10 of the Global Goals: to reduce inequality within and among countries.

My experience has been gratifying and this is due to the interaction with my colleagues. The projects, which were planned specifically for me, have allowed me to sharpen key skills, to learn about this unique social enterprise model and to lead and take ownership of the work. This translated into a high level of inclusion and sense of belonging.

Outside of work, my summer has consisted of hikng the Piedra del Peñon—a monolithic formation in the town of  Guatapé; dancing champeta in Cartagena; walking the cobble streets of Sante Fe de Antioquia; and hiking mountains in the nearby town La Estrella, located in the Central Andes. One of the most incredible views of any city.

Medellin is a magical city. Without a doubt, a charming and bustling metropolis with a stable and growing economy and impressive infrastructure. In 2014, Medellin held the 43rd place among urban centers with the highest GDP per capita in the world, according to the Brookings Institute’s Global Metro Monitor. Additionally, the city was also named the most innovative in Latin America-- a recognition given by the Wall Street Journal. This meant that Medellin was up against cities like New York and Tel Aviv--all this with the stunning Aburrá Valley as a backdrop. What's more, the strength of its people and their willingness to move forward and progress, has produced many entrepreneurs, innovators, and just simply, hardworking people.

The people here don’t shy away from strangers, less from foreigners—they’re always willing to help and make new friends. I have met and developed such great friend relationships in a short amount of time.

Ileana Valle
SAIS Europe 2016

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Join us for an Online Information Session on August 25

At SAIS Europe we're getting ready to welcome the Class of 2017. 

Next week, the building will be full of students eager to settle into Bologna and to start pre-term classes. It's an exciting time of year for all of us. For us in Admissions it is particularly exciting as we finally get to meet in person the people with whom we've been in touch for so long.

We enjoy interacting with students, but we must fulfill our main duty: to ensure SAIS continues to attract the best candidates. Our eyes now turn to recruitment. 

On August 25 at 3 PM Italian time (1 PM GMT and 9 AM EST), we will hold an online information session. 

The session will last around one hour and it will be an opportunity for us to tell prospective students more about our programs and for prospective students to ask any question.

We know what it takes to choose a graduate program and we want to ensure prospective applicants are as well informed as possible. After a brief presentation of our programs, participants will be able to ask questions through the chat function.

To join the session, you can click on this link. You will need a computer and an internet connection. 

In coming weeks, we will post more information on our online and in-person information sessions during the fall season.

Stay tuned.

Amina Abdiuahab

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Internship in South Africa: Awe and inspiration in the "Rainbow Nation"

It's summer in the Northern Hemisphere and most people are thinking about their holidays. This is not the case for SAIS students who spend their summer working internships around the world.

As we mentioned in previous posts, these internships are a great way for students to learn more about their future careers.

In the last posts, students working internships in Brazil and Peru wrote about their experiences and here is a video of last year's students talking about their summer internship plans.

Today, Chris Jackson, a current student in the MA program focusing on Energy, Resources and Environment, tells us about his experience in Cape Town, South Africa. 

Like half of the students who graduate from SAIS each year, Chris spent his first year at SAIS Europe in Bologna and is going to Washington, DC for his second year.

Cape Town is perhaps the most awe inspiring place one can imagine.

Firstly it is a visual paradise and a feast for the senses. Whether its climbing the world famous table mountain, sipping Merlot in Constantia's vineyards, seeing Zebra, Ostriches, Baboons and Springbok on the side of the road to work or the fantastic food, the place never ceases to awe and inspire.

Writing on the sand in Cape Town
Cities, like all communities, are defined by their people as much as their place and South Africa is no exception. Nelson Mandela once said that South Africa is the "Rainbow Nation", reflecting people from all over the world. His words were not merely hyperbole. The country is a veritable smorgasbord of nationalities, ethnicity, ages and faiths.

This summer I have been working for Clifftop Colony Capital Partners, a South African Corporate Finance firm, which specializes in securing financing for African start-ups, entrepreneurs and African tech funds.

My role involved evaluating business plans and proposals for new prospective clients; constructing corporate marketing material to promote clients to international investors; researching African and global tech industry trends; building profiles on the requirements, preferences and financing available from international investors; and lastly, corporate due diligence on Clifftop’s current and potential clients.

Africa is considered to be the home of the world’s most frontier equity and debt investments and Clifftop position themselves as a bridge between international investors in the US, UK and Europe, and entrepreneurs across the African continent, by offering experience with local challenges and an extensive network of strategic relationships to both parties.

Stunning views

During my time here I had the pleasure of listening to Moeletsi Mbeki, Chairman of the South African Institute of International Affairs and leading economist, who spoke eloquently on South Africa's challenges and I have had the pleasure of meeting over a dozen small businesses, who have helped me understand the opportunities of the South African economy.

South Africa is the finance capital of Africa. It is a bridge to the West, through London, a bridge to the East, through Malaysia and India, and a central force in driving innovation throughout Africa. For anyone trying to understand how business on the African continent works, the importance of good governance on economic growth and poverty alleviation or even for those who simply have a hunger to see untouched beauty in the world, it is hard to beat South Africa.

Chris Jackson
SAIS Europe 2016

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Summer Internship in Peru: Putting my newly acquired economics skills to the test

The majority of students at SAIS work an internship in the summer between their first and second year of study. The internships are an opportunity for students to gain more insight into the careers they'd like to pursue after SAIS. 

The locations of the internships are as diverse as the student body at SAIS Europe, where students come from several dozen countries and represent all continents.

In the last post, students working in Brazil talked about their experiences. This week, Michelle Mora, a student in the MA program focusing on Latin America, tells us about her professional, cultural and personal experience in Lima, Peru.

Pisco sours, fresh ceviche, dune buggying and --the most exciting of all-- international trade in action. That about sums up my summer, although it’s winter here, in Peru.

I'm originally from Illinois and before starting my master's degree at SAIS Europe, I worked in international recruiting in Miami for four years.  After an incredibly challenging, rewarding, and fun year in Bologna, I again hopped continents and quickly settled into Lima, Peru, where I have been working at the U.S. Commercial Service for the past two months.
Michelle (right) with two fellow SAIS classmates in Lima, Peru

The Commercial Service is the trade promotion arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Agency tasked with promoting U.S. exports internationally.

My days have been filled with matchmaking meetings between Peruvian and U.S. companies looking to do business; preparing for trade shows; and attending cross-agency meetings with Economic and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Officers at the Embassy.

I have enjoyed putting my newly acquired economics skills to the test by researching and drafting market reports on “SMART city” initiatives, education, healthcare, and intellectual property protections in Peru, among other topics. I had the opportunity to attend a few Embassy events including the Peruvian-American bi-national party; the Ambassador’s Fourth of July party --in which Peruvian President-elect Pablo Pedro Kuczynski  stopped by for a surprise speech; and, arguably my favorite, a USDA “Burgers and Beer” event promoting U.S. beef and craft beer exports to Peru.

Outside of work, I have been enjoying living with two other fellow SAIS Latin American Studies students who are also working in Lima. We have been adventuring and tasting our way around this beautiful country. Consistently rated as one of the top culinary destinations in the world, Peru has some of the freshest, most complex and diverse plates I have ever seen. Every trip to the supermarket includes trying a new fruit or vegetable.  Just considering potatoes, Peru has more than 3,800 varieties!

In Huacachina

On the weekends we have visited the sea lions and penguins at Las Islas Ballestas (coined “the poor man’s Galapagos”), screamed our heads off on a dune buggy ride in the coastal desert town of Huacachina, and watched the condors soar over Colca Canyon, one of the world’s deepest canyons.

With only one month to go before heading to Washington, DC for my final year, I look forward to continued challenges at work, a trip to the Amazon, Machu Picchu trekking, visiting Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world, and maybe a few more pisco sours.

Michelle Mora 
SAIS Europe 2016

Monday, July 11, 2016

Postcards from Brazil

With the Olympics just a few weeks away in Brazil, our SAIS students wanted to share their experiences of studying the Portuguese language at SAIS Europe, in addition to their reflections of living and working in Brazil during their summer internships. Below are their postcards to us. Enjoy the read. 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Some questions and answers

We're getting ready to welcome the students who will be part of the Class of 2017.

We've been receiving a lot of questions from incoming students -- quite rightly since coming to Bologna involves a great deal of preparation. 

Below, we've grouped some of the most frequently asked questions. If you have more questions, or you wish to get more details on any of topics below, you can reach us via email at

Q: I have been given access to the online pre-calculus tutorial, am I required to take the course and the quiz?
A: As you know, our curriculum has a strong quantitative focus and we want to make sure you arrive with the adequate quantitative skills that will allow you to tackle the coursework. This is why we give you access to the pre-calculus tutorial and we ask you to take a quiz at the end.

Although it is not a requirement that will impact your admission, you are asked to follow the tutorial
and to take the quiz at the end. This will help us understand whether we need to help you get up to speed with your math skills.

If you've not received access to the online tutorial, be sure to get in touch with us.

Q: I have a strong quantitative background, do I need to take the pre-calculus tutorial and test?
A: If you have a strong math 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: 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: 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.

Those interested in switching to Strategic Studies will have to make a formal request. Information will be available at the Registrar's Office.

Q: I would like to pursue a different course in pre-term than the one I selected. Can I change?
A: Those coming for pre-term can take courses in intermediate microeconomics, intensive and survival Italian, or intensive English.

If you've been required to take intensive English you will not be able to change your registration. 

If you signed for the other courses and you've changed your mind, you should contact the Registrar's Office at before the deadline for registration on June 30.

Q: I've not booked my visa appointment yet. Will I be able to obtain my visa in time for classes?
A: You should book your appointment as soon as possible. It's difficult to predict how long it might take the Embassy to process your visa. Some take a few days, others can take weeks. You'll do yourself a favor by booking an appointment as soon as possible. 

If you're planning on coming for pre-term or if you are a student in the Master of Arts in Global Risk (MAGR) program, you should book an appointment immediately to make sure you can be on a plane before August 18, when pre-term classes and classes for MAGR students in the begin.

Q: I've been asked to provide proof of health insurance. What can I do?
A: In the visa letters, we clearly state that all students are automatically signed up for a health insurance plan. However, some Embassies might require additional information. If you're in this situation, please 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

Friday, May 20, 2016

Thoughts on Food and Food for Thought

The academic year in Bologna has come to an end.  As many students head off to summer internships around the world, Lauren Purnell, a student in the Master of Arts program pursuing the International Development concentration, shares her experiences of a recent study trip to Rome with Professor Jacqueline Mazza. Below are her reflections.

Rome acts as a hub for U.N. organizations, focusing on the food security and agriculture sectors.

The headquarters of the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) are all located in Rome. 

I and 22 of my classmates had the opportunity to visit all three organizations this past May during a two-day study trip with Professor Jacqueline Mazza who teaches a course on Market Policies in Developing Countries: Rethinking Approaches in a Global Age.

As part of this unique experience, we received lectures on a wide range of topics related to food security and labor. On the first day at the WFP, for example, we heard from experts on emergency operations and capacity development. Following these presentations, we visited the IFAD to learn more about rural employment challenges, remittances, and investment.

On the second day of the study trip, we observed a presentation by Prof. Mazza to FAO on her book “Labor Intermediation Services in Developing Economies, Adapting Employment Services in a Global Age.”  This lecture was followed by a technical lecture on the effect of conditional cash transfers on labor markets and a talk on trade and employment.

The two day study trip proved quite a valuable and enriching experience.

The educational value received from this trip was undeniable. We had the rare opportunity to ask questions directly to experts and have in-depth discussions. 

Staff members at all three organizations were happy to engage us on these topics and were very enthusiastic to find so many young scholars interested in these fields. The learning experience of the trip not only benefited us but also staff members at these organizations, opening dialogues and exchanges that will continue on.

Lauren Purnell 
(SAIS Europe 2016)

Friday, April 1, 2016

Study Trip to India: An extremely rewarding experience

Students at SAIS learn inside and outside the classroom. Today, Farima Alidadi, a current student in the Latin America Studies Program (LASP) at SAIS Europe, tells us how she and a group of SAIS students spent the one-week break in January 2016 after the end of the first semester exams. 

The trip brought together students in the LASP program across the Bologna and Washington campuses. 

During the break earlier this year, the SAIS Latin American Studies Program (LASP) sponsored a one-week study trip to India with the aim of examining Latin American relations within a global framework. 

In the past, LASP students had participated in study trips to countries such as China, Brazil, and Costa Rica. This year, it was the first time the Program traveled to the South Asian country.

I saw the trip as an invaluable opportunity to strengthen my knowledge of the region having worked in Colombia on a Fulbright grant. At SAIS, I am focusing on international development and social inclusion in Latin America, areas of great importance for India as well.

I learned about the trip when Anne McKenzie, Senior Academic Coordinator for the LASP program, came to SAIS Europe. I was very excited about applying for this study trip --for which there were ten spots available-- and I am grateful to have been selected to participate. To prepare, we met as a group throughout the fall semester to strengthen our knowledge of India in terms of politics, economics, and development through research presentations.

Before I knew it, the fall semester was over and I was boarding a plane to New Delhi.
Farima (first from right) and her classmates with Dean Vali Nasr (center)

Lead by Francisco E. González, LASP Senior Associate Professor at SAIS, we explored the growing economic, diplomatic, and political links between India and Latin American countries, within the context of energy supply challenges, food security issues, and evolving geopolitical dynamics.

We met with Indian, Latin American, and American businesses, diplomats, scholars, and journalists based in New Delhi and Mumbai, which allowed us to assess the opportunities and challenges ahead for a South-South relationship that holds great trade, economic, political, and cultural potential. The organizations we met with included the Mexican Embassy, UNDP, Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Aditya Birla Group, and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).

These meetings were extremely valuable as we learned of the various areas of opportunity for Indo-Latin American relations, including energy, mining, information technology, pharmaceuticals, tourism, and education. Each meeting gave us a different perspective on these relations, but they all emphasized the importance of stronger ties between Latin American countries and India.

When we were in New Delhi, we attended a reception with Dean Vali Nasr where we met SAIS alumni and prospective students. The event was hosted by a SAIS Europe and LASP alumnus.

"The trip to India was a great experience,” said Martina Improta, a second year student who spent her first year in Bologna. “[It] deepened my knowledge of this emerging global player and enhanced my understanding of the strategies it uses to penetrate new markets and to increase its leverage in world politics.”

At the UNDP
Ending my first semester at SAIS with this trip was extremely rewarding. The trip not only allowed me to gain great insight into the political, economic, and cultural complexities that tie Latin American countries to India, but it also reinforced my passion for the region and illuminated how the various regions I am connected to are related. I have always been passionate about Latin America, but because of my Iranian American background, it was important for me to study the region within a global context.

When I was in India, the implications of the lifting of Iran sanctions and the effects of India’s investment in Latin American energy sources and other geopolitical dynamics came up many times during our meetings.

Gaining the field experience in India through interactions with Latin Americans, Americans, and Indians all interested in Indo-Latin American relations gave me an interesting perspective on this issue that I would not have been able to gain through just the classroom itself.

The trip has given me a new outlook when approaching Latin America and I cannot wait to apply it to future classes and experiences in the region.

Farima Alidadi
SAIS Europe 2016

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Open Houses and Information Sessions: Let us help you make a decision

Earlier this month, applicants to SAIS learned the outcome of their applications. 

Each year, the Admissions Committee is faced with the difficult task of selecting the next class. The quality of applications this year was very high and this made the work of the Committee arduous.

We want to thank all our applicants. For those who did not make it, we want to reiterate that this is by no means a reflection of your potential. If you would like feedback, we would encourage you to get in touch with us after May 2. You can reach us at 

Congratulations to those who received admission. This is a great achievement and we look forward to welcoming you to SAIS Europe for the 2016-17 academic year.

Now you have an offer in hand, what's next?

We want to draw your attention to a few events that will help you learn more about SAIS and SAIS Europe.

Choosing graduate school is an important decision: we're here to help you make the best decision.

For this purpose, we would like to invite you to attend one or more events.

SAIS in Bologna and SAIS in DC will host Open House events. These will be perfect opportunities to meet students, faculty and staff and to learn about academic and student life.

The Open House in Washington, DC, will be on April 6, 2016. If you would like to attend, please register here. If you're in the DC area, or you can easily travel to DC, we would strongly encourage you to attend. The event is geared towards students admitted at both the DC and the Bologna campuses.

Following the Open House, students admitted to SAIS Europe are invited to a Cocktail Reception with SAIS Europe Alumni on April 7. If you want to attend this event, please register here.

The Open House at SAIS Europe in Bologna, will be on April 11. Click here to register. Some current students have offered to host visitors from out of town. If you would like to be hosted by a current student, be sure to indicate it in the registration form.

We understand that many of our admitted students will not be able to make it to the events listed above. However, we want to ensure that they receive as much information as possible before the deadlines for enrollments.

On March 25 at 3:30 PM Italian time, we will hold an online information session for students admitted to SAIS Europe. Click on this page for the log-in details. On the same page, you will find the date and time of the other information session.

We also stand ready to answer your questions via email as well as over the phone or via Skype. Our email is; our telephone number is +39 051 29 17 811; and our Skype handle is jhubc.admissions

We hope to engage with you at one or more of the above events and we hope to welcome you to Bologna in the summer.

Daniela Coleman

Thursday, February 25, 2016

SAIS Recent Graduate Success Story

How does a SAIS education help you in your career search? Recent SAIS MA graduate Carlotta Munini, who spent her first year at the SAIS Europe Campus in Bologna, Italy, shares her experiences. The guidance and support of the Career Services Offices across campuses and the support of its alumni around the world, helped her land her prestigious job in the financial services sector in London soon after graduation. Below is her story.

Carlotta, tell us about your new role....

I have recently been offered a position as a risk analyst in a top-tier global investment bank in London. The position consists of a three-year program in the bank’s Credit Risk division that focuses on assessing the risk arising from the default of the bank’s clients, customers and counterparties. During the duration of the program, risk analysts have the opportunity to rotate amongst different teams which allows them to gain a 360° view of the bank’s risk management challenges. The Risk team also works closely with the Deal teams –analysts are therefore constantly working on the biggest and most exciting global investment banking deals.
How do you think your experience at the Johns Hopkins SAIS prepared you for this work?
My courses at SAIS were key to my selection as a risk analyst. At SAIS, I refined my qualitative and quantitative skills by taking a number of different courses in the fields of Finance and International Relations (IR). This unique mix of knowledge proved to be my comparative advantage over other applicants. In my classes I learned what risk is, how to look at its components and how to develop strategies to hedge it.

SAIS taught me how to search for alternative explanations to global issues, to always challenge common knowledge and to dig deep for the true triggers of events in IR or Finance. Prior to SAIS I would look at oil price graphs and not truly understand what was really behind price fluctuations. Now, I know that there are a number of different elements that explain those movements such as China’s demand, Iran deal, OPEC countries, shale oil, US economy etc. I am proud to say that SAIS has done a great job teaching me how to look at financial events and read them through the lens of international relations.

Did you leverage the School’s network?

As an Italian national pursuing a top tier IR international graduate program, I was looking for a career in financial services,  but I was not sure how to break into the industry. SAIS’s Career Services Office assisted me by helping me develop my strategy for the identification of potential employers and positions to apply for. While a student at SAIS Bologna, I also attended the London Finance Career Trek in October 2014, organized by the SAIS Europe Career Services Office.  (In addition, in Europe, Career Treks are also organized to Geneva and Brussels.) Visiting multiple top-tier investment banks and talking to their employees gave me the final confirmation that the financial sector was the place I wanted to work in.

Furthermore, I attended a SAIS panel with employees working for the bank I was interested in, to get as much information as I could on the position. Finally, I took advantage of the SAIS Alumni network and met a number of different alumni in person. SAIS alumni were all very happy to give me honest advice and precious guidance on how to best prepare myself for the tough recruitment processes in the financial service sector.
What advice would you give someone contemplating attending Johns Hopkins SAIS?

I would tell them to apply immediately. My story is the proof that – no matter what your background is - SAIS truly gives you all the necessary tools to get where you want to be in terms of your future career. The diversity of courses offered at SAIS is also an invaluable asset to take advantage from. SAIS prepares you to become someone that understands a complicated blend of Economics, Finance, International Relations, Energy and/or other area studies. Completing this coursework, besides being an incredible personal achievement, is also a highly sought-after skill by employers. The people you meet at SAIS come from the most diverse backgrounds and cultures. Just being around them truly changes the way you think about global issues. The bond between SAIS Bolognesi remains strong when moving to SAIS DC and further on in life. You also get to spend one year in Bologna, Italy, home to the oldest university in Europe (University of Bologna)…who wouldn’t want to do that?

Once you are at SAIS, I suggest you take as many different courses as you can and take advantage of the career services events. Challenge yourself! Once you figure out the sector you want to work in, reach out to and meet as many alumni as you can. It turns out that– no matter where you are in the world - SAIS Alumni are always more than willing to share their precious advice and stories with you.