Monday, December 18, 2017

The SAIS Application Deadline is Fast Approaching!

The SAIS application deadline for Regular Admissions is fast approaching. Don’t forget to submit your application materials by January 8, 2018.

As highlighted on our website, all our application instructions are listed by specific program and campus. Be sure to consult them.

Below are some specific questions that we have received queries on in the past weeks.  Many of our questions can we answered by consulting our website. Some recurring questions are listed below.

What is the difference between an analytical essay and a statement of purpose?
Our previous blog postings explain in detail the difference between a statement of purpose and an analytical essay. Remember, one is about your personal journey, and one is "an issue of national or international importance and its concern to you.” Our detailed blog postings are a good source for guidance.

When is the financial aid application due?The financial aid application is due on February 15, 2018. This is a PDF document which you would download from the application portal and send back to us via email.

As a prospective student in the MA (or MAIA) program, I haven’t taken principles of economics. Should I be worried?
Prospective students for the MA or the MAIA program who have had no previous introductory courses in economics can still apply to SAIS Europe. Should they be admitted, however, their official enrollment would be conditional on meeting this requirement. There are a number of ways to meet this requirement. SAIS offers an on-line principles course in the spring, where students can enroll and satisfy this requirement by receiving a grade of B- or higher. Students can also enroll in other online courses or university programs before arriving. (Remember to check with us first to ensure the course meets our requirements.)

When are we informed of our financial aid and admission?
Prospective students in the Regular Admissions cycle are informed of their acceptance into SAIS Europe on March 9, 2018. If a student is accepted, and has applied for financial aid, he/she will be informed in a separate email on the same day of their financial aid status. Please be sure to check your spam filters, to avoid missing this important information.

Does SAIS Europe provide housing?
Admitted students to SAIS Europe are responsible for finding their own housing. However, we provide ample resources before the student’s arrival. These resources include local real estate consultants, private university residence services, and various websites that have helped students immensely in the past.

I still have questions. What should I do?
If you still have questions after consulting our website, you can always send us a question at: SAIS Europe Admissions Office

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

Happy holidays,
SAIS Europe Office of Admissions

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Prospective Students Invited to Bologna for SAIS Europe’s Open Day

Thinking about applying to study at SAIS Europe in Bologna?  

On Monday, December 4th, SAIS Europe will open its doors to prospective students who are considering their post-graduate school options by offering them an opportunity to get to know the faculty, staff and students. 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.

During the day, prospective students will have the opportunity to hear from faculty and attend classes with current SAIS students. In addition, senior  administrators will speak about career services, the admissions process and how to apply for financial aid. 
The Student Government will also be on hand to share their experiences  on student life. Prospective students will meet with Club leaders during the lunch and happy hour. The day will end with a seminar lecture by Vali Nasr, Dean, Johns Hopkins SAIS, who will be visiting from Washington, DC and will speak on the "Middle-East Challenges Facing the US Administration."

For a full description of the day, including registration, please visit our website here

We look forward to meeting you and welcoming you to Bologna on December 4th.

The SAIS Europe Office of Admissions

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Learn more about Johns Hopkins SAIS Europe

The academic year at Johns Hopkins SAIS Europe started last week with Orientation. It's now time for us to focus on recruiting the next class.

In the coming months, we will hold a number of in-person and virtual events to help prospective applicants learn more about SAIS Europe and the programs we offer. You can find the list of events below. As some of the locations have not been confirmed yet, we recommend that you keep an eye on our website for updates.

We understand the majority of our applicants live far from the locations we will visit and may not be able to attend the virtual events. If you are interested in more information on our programs and have questions, know that we are available on email at or by phone at  +39 051 29 17 811


- Master of Arts in Global Risk (MAGR) - October 3, 2017 from 2-3 p.m. Italian time (8-9 a.m. EST)
Applicants interested in the MAGR are encouraged to attend this online information session hosted by Prof. Filippo Taddei, Academic Director of the MAGR, and Daniela F. Coleman, Director of Admissions and Recruting at SAIS Europe.  The session will last one hour and it will provide a unique forum to ask questions directly to Prof. Taddei  and Daniela Coleman on the MAGR program and the application procedure. Here is the link to connect to the session. 

- All programs
We encourage applicants interested in learning about all the graduate programs offered at Johns Hopkins SAIS Europe, to attend one or more of the following information sessions:

October 5, 2017 from 4-5 p.m Italian time (10-11 a.m. EST)
November 15, 2017 from 3-4 p.m Italian time (9-10 a.m. EST)
December 7, 2017 from 3-4 p.m. Italian time (9-10 a.m. EST)


- Amsterdam University College, Amsterdam, The Netherlands - October 12, 2017 from 12-2 p.m.

The exact location will be confirmed soon.

- Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands - October 13, 2017 from 11:15 a.m.

This session is dedicated to students interested in learning more about the cooperative agreement between Leiden University and Johns Hopkins SAIS Europe.

- University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK - October 16, 2017 from 1-2 p.m.

The session will be in the Career Services Seminar Room at the University of Edinburgh.

- University of Dundee, Dundee, UK - October 17, 2017 from 1-2 p.m.
The session will be in the Office of Career Services  at the University of Dundee.

- University of St. Andrews, St. Andrews, UK - October 17, 2017 from 5-7 p.m.

The session will be at the Art Lecture Theatre of the School of International Relations at the University of St. Andrews.

- School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London,
UK - October 18, 2017 from 5-7 p.m.

The session will be in the Brunei Suite at SOAS. For more details click here.

- University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
These sessions are dedicated to students interested in learning more about the cooperative agreement between the University of 
Bologna and Johns Hopkins SAIS Europe.

October 24, 2017 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Facoltà Scienze Internazionali e Diplomatiche in Forli
October 26, 2017 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the School of Economics, Management and Statistics in Bologna
October 27, 2017 from 2-3 p.m. at the Facoltà di Scienze Politiche in Bologna

- Sciences Po Lille, Lille, France - November 9, 2017 from 2-3 p.m. 
This session is dedicated to students interested in learning more about the cooperative agreement between Sciences Po Lille and Johns Hopkins SAIS Europe.

- Open Day at SAIS Europe - December 4, 2017 
Open Day is a full day dedicated to prospective applicants who will have the unique opportunity to learn more about our programs, meet students, faculty, and staff. For more details click here.

Amina Abdiuahab

Friday, August 18, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Utpala Menon
MA Student
SAIS Europe 2017

Friday, August 11, 2017

The Online Application is Now Live

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amina Abdiuahab

Monday, July 31, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

Aleksandr Skop
MAGR Student
SAIS Europe 2017

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

Angelina Magal
MAGR Student
SAIS Europe 2017

Monday, July 10, 2017

Summer Internship in Bogotá Puts Theory into Practice

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eli Birgé
MA Student
SAIS Europe 2017

Monday, June 26, 2017

Students at SAIS Share their Summer Internship Journals

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gaston Melo Felgueres
MA Student 
SAIS Europe 2017

Friday, May 26, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amina Abdiuahab

Friday, April 28, 2017

Study trip to Malaysia: in-depth discussions with finance leaders to enhance our understanding of Islamic Finance

Students at SAIS spent spring break in various ways. Some traveled, some returned home to their families, and others took a trip to Kuala Lumpur. Below, Mathew Kostman, a first year MA student in the European and Eurasian Studies program at SAIS Europe, tells us about his trip to the Malaysian capital along with other SAIS students.

The trip embodies SAIS's multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary nature bringing to Asia students in the Middle East and the European and Eurasian Studies programs.

If someone told me earlier this year that I would spend my spring break learning about Islamic Finance from industry leaders in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, I would have not believed them because Southeast Asia and Islamic Finance were never areas of consideration of academic study for me. As a U.S. student spending his first extended period of time in Europe, my focus was set on Eastern Europe. However, when the European and Eurasian Studies (EES) program announced a department-wide lottery to spend a week in Kuala Lumpur, I took my chance, and, thanks to the EES, the Middle East Studies (MES) department, and Starr Foundation, I had the incredible opportunity to spend a week in a country I never thought I’d be in, studying a topic I didn't know anything about.

This trip was possible thanks to a fellowship grant by the Starr Foundation centered on giving the opportunity to students outside of Asian Studies disciplines to have meaningful contact with the region, offering students the opportunity in both the European and Eurasian as well as the Middle East Studies programs at SAIS to travel to the region.

Meeting at the Islamic Financial Services Board

To prepare for the trip, my eleven travel companions, from the Bologna and Washington campuses, and I, researched the basics of Islamic Finance and put together a collective syllabus to familiarize with the topic before our meetings in Kuala Lumpur. After a guest lecture by Professor Camille Pecastaing, Senior Associate Director of the Middle East Studies Program, and numerous virtual conferences with the student group at the DC campus, we gained a good understanding of Islamic Finance, its history, the current trends, how its principles are implemented currently and the plans for the future.  It was great to have the opportunity to learn about the inner-workings and future plans of Islamic Finance directly from the source.

Thanks to the coordination of Ms. Kathryn Knowles, Associate Director of European and Eurasian Studies, and the help of one of our hosts Mr. Daud Vicary from the International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance, we met remarkable individuals at different institutions who were true experts and practitioners of Islamic Finance in Malaysia. Our discussions with people from the Malaysian Securities Commission, Malaysian National Bank, and the Islamic Financial Services Board were particularly enlightening. We found ourselves having in-depth policy and technical discussions with high-ranking leaders in Malaysian finance, enhancing our understanding of a topic many of us had only heard about a few months ago.

Our meeting with Members of Parliament gave us a better understanding of the current political situation in the Country and some of the issues they are dealing with. Malaysia has an incredibly multi-ethnic population with large Chinese and Indian communities that add a fascinating element to the Country’s history, culture, and politics. We got to see this up close when we attended a discussion conducted by a group of Malaysian college students about race, ethnicity, and the conflicts they raise. Befriending these students and hearing their stories and experiences was incredible and gave us a window into their lives and cultures.

My classmates tasting their first durian fruit
In our down time we got a taste of the culinary diversity Malaysia enjoys. We searched the city for the best local and authentic foods, discovering wonderful Indian, Chinese, Malay, and Korean food. Some of us tried the durian fruit, a staple of Malaysia.

This trip also allowed us to get to know our fellow classmates across the Atlantic Ocean. Studying, exploring, and attending meetings with the students in the EES and MES programs was a great way to get to know them, and I am looking forward to my time on the SAIS DC campus.

It was the best way to spend my spring break. I traveled to a new country on a continent I had never been to before, I learned about a fascinating topic I didn't know anything about, and I got to experience the culture (and cuisine) of Malaysia while getting to know my fellow SAIS classmates.

Matthew Kostman
MA Student
SAIS Europe 2017

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Insight From the Frontlines: Understanding the Refugee Crisis in the European Context

The Global Security and Conflict Management Club this spring has organized two  migration Study Treks - one to Athens/Lesvos, Greece (March 19th to March 24th) and the second to Lampedusa, Italy (April 30th to May 3rd). These student led initiatives allow SAISERS to further compliment their studies by combining theory with practice. SAIS Europe First Year MA International Relations Concentrator Diane Bernabei, shared her experiences travelling to Greece below.

It is not uncommon to hear from fellow SAISers how they spent their spring breaks, jetting off to Africa to conduct some field research, to the Middle East to work on their thesis or any of a number of impressive multilateral organizations to interview for a summer job.  This past March, sixteen SAISers were able to say they traveled to what the real world considers a relatively typical spring break destination, Greece.  But we did not go for any typical vacation-related reason. The Global Security and Conflict Management Club (GSCM) traveled to Greece to conduct an in depth study on how local Greek authorities and multilateral and non-governmental organizations collaborate to manage the burgeoning refugee crisis.

The trip started in Athens where we met with directors of a large health and human services facility, Solidarity Now. This NGO has largely been accredited for leading the successful transition in Greece’s NGO community from providing aid to Greeks suffering from the economic crises to launching initiatives meant to aid a more diverse group of both Greeks and refugee asylum seekers.  Meeting with the organization exposed the difficulties in transitioning aid to new target demographics caused by the political situation in Greece, an important topic the group discussed in further detail in an afternoon roundtable discussion with the European Commission’s Representative to Greece and the Vice Mayor of Athens.  Our time in Athens also included several meetings with NGO leaders, such as the Greek  Director of Doctors Without Borders, and academics, including the Director of the Institute of International Relations.

Students tour Solidarity
resource center in Athens
Meeting with academics and policy makers provided one perspective on the current migration crisis facing Europe. Asking direct questions to the people managing the crisis on the ground provided another important viewpoint.   For this reason, our group decided to spend more than half of the trip dedicated to  fieldwork, visiting refugee camps and meeting with refugees to discuss their experiences in migrating to Europe.  

Students discuss migration issues
with local Athenian NGO
Visiting the Eleonas refugee camp, the largest refugee camp for families in Athens, housing over 2,000 refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and various parts of North Africa and the Middle East, provided us with the opportunity to meet with field coordinators from the International Rescue Committee, the International Organization for Migration and METAdrasi. These organizations provided important insight on how different organizations coordinate their efforts and funding to manage a large number of refugees in small compact camps.

SAISERS meet former Greek Foreign Minister
After two full days in Athens, the group headed to the Greek island of Lesvos to conduct research on the frontlines of the refugee crisis. In 2015 alone, more than one million asylum seekers crossed the dangerous six-mile stretch of the Mediterranean Sea that lies between Greece and Turkey to make it to this Island. While on Lesvos, we met with the UNHCR and The Red Cross to discuss their strategies in organizing a response to the crises. We also met with Lighthouse Relief, an agency that coordinates on-the-shore first responder emergency aid and transportation logistics for the newly arrived migrants.

SAISers met with Hellenic Coast Guard
to discuss refugee rescue challenges
We also met with representatives from the Hellenic Coast Guard to better understand the challenges associated with responding efficiently to rapidly changing influxes of refugees demanding emergency assistance as they cross the rough waters.  Because of the recent economic crises, the Greek government cannot afford to provide extra assistance to the coast guard. As such,  the Hellenic Coast Guard finds itself in a strenuous situation  between not being able to expand its resources while facing increasingly demanding surges of refugee influxes.

Students meet with Karatapei Refugee Camp
representatives and refugees
Our time in Lesvos culminated in a final meeting with US based NGO Samaritan’s Purse, where we were able to learn more about the professional lives of volunteer workers and gain more insight into NGO strategies that assist refugees and asylum seekers adjust to a new life in Greece.

In just four days we toured three  refugee camps, two health and human service centers, one coast guard vessel, met with 17 different agencies, two municipalities, the European Parliament, and various segments of the Greek Government. 

We discussed pertinent issues and asked hard questions to leaders from the NGO communities, members the diplomatic circuit managing the crises from a political standpoint, and to first responders on the shores, who save lives every day.  We were exposed to several viewpoints of the refugee crises and learned something new from each component.

Our research culminated in a final report documenting our experience in Greece, detailing our perspective on the successes and failures entrenched in mitigating such a crises and diagnosing various areas were we see room for improvement.   Our itinerary definitely did not include any of the normal stops visitors make in Greece, but each day mirrors a typical  day in the life of an ordinary SAISer.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Learning Outside the Classroom: Visit to "The City of Peace and Justice"

Students in the International Law concentration–ILaw in SAIS jargon – quickly realized one does not visit The Hague because of its weather. But sideways rain and constant wind couldn’t dampen the spirits of the SAIS Europe students who went from international organization to tribunal to NGO, seeking to better understand the functions of those working in the “City of Peace and Justice”.

First stop was Eurojust, an EU organization overseeing the cooperation between Member State judicial systems. A perfect antidote to those who claim that the EU is too unwieldy, Eurojust representative explained the process for dividing of cases between multiple countries involved, cooperation with non-EU partners, and the top three priorities—people smuggling, cyber warfare and terrorism. Crime, the refrain was, doesn’t stop at national borders.

Visit to the ICC

As ever with SAIS student, there was play mixed with our work. Thanks to a group member born and raised in The Hague, we got the inside scoop on the city, taking plenty of time to wander by the beautiful Parliaments old city and sample the local fare, and took a brief trip to Delft to try a Pakistan-Dutch fusion dinner and admire the famous waterways.

Visits to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) were the most hands-on of the two days, the former proceeded by a briefing from Amady Ba, a prominent Senegalese judge and Chief of International Cooperation. Sitting just meters away from the Ugandan Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) warlord Dominic Ongwen and five perpetrators of atrocities during the Bosnian war was both a chilling reminder of the need for international arbitration in the world’s largest-scale conflicts, as well as the reassurance that perpetrators can successfully be held accountable, albeit decades after the crimes have been committed.

At the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons

Rounding out the trip were visits to the non-profit Hague Institute for the Internationalization of Law (HiiL), International Development Law Organization, and Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Talking with program coordinators from each gave us students a good idea of just how many professional intersections exist with international law, in the form of judicial capacity-building, development, and multilateral reform movements.

Although brief, the study trip to The Hague was an informative one, covering ideas and projects from land rights programs in Burundi all the way to judicial advising in Kenya. It now remains to be seen how those SAIS students who imagine a future in international law chose to carve out a niche within the professional world into we gained such rich insight.

Emily Ashby
SAIS Europe 2017

Friday, March 31, 2017

Open Houses and Alumni Receptions Across Three Continents: Admitted Students have a chance to get to know the SAIS Community

Each year, we welcome newly admitted students to the Johns Hopkins SAIS community by way of Admitted Student Open Houses. Offered at our three campus locations in Washington D.C., Bologna, and Nanjing, Open House features a diverse range of activities and sessions aimed to give admitted applicants insight into life as a SAIS student. Participants will have the opportunity to meet key members of the SAIS community such as deans, faculty, current students, alumni, and staff.

If you have not yet registered for an Admitted Student Open House, please find the dates and registration instructions for each event below. Further details can be found on the admitted student website, which you can access via your admissions letter.

The Johns Hopkins SAIS D.C. Admitted Student Open House

The Washington, D.C. Open House will be on Wednesday, April 5, 2017. The programs include forums on student life, faculty panels, a department lunch, student activities forum, Question & Answer sessions on SAIS Europe and the Hopkins-Nanjing Center, and much more. Please RSVP via the admitted student website by Friday, March 31.

In addition to the Open House, students admitted to SAIS Europe are invited to attend a cocktail reception with Director Michael Plummer and SAIS Europe Alumni on April 6,2017. If you wish to attend this event, please contact us at

The Johns Hopkins SAIS Europe Open House

The Johns Hopkins SAIS Europe Open House will be on Monday, April 10. The day will provide admitted students to SAIS Europe the opportunity to meet with faculty, staff and students in addition to attending a class lecture. Admitted students can also be hosted by current students when visiting Bologna.  Please make sure to register via the admitted student homepage, or send us a message at

The Hopkins Nanjing Center Open House

Admitted students, HNC alumni, and friends are invited to meet and mingle over cocktails at a happy hour in downtown Washington, DC on Thursday, April 6 from 5:30-7:00 pm. For more information and to RSVP, please register online or email

Admitted students who are currently in Asia are invited to attend an open house at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center from April 9 to April 10. Meet the Hopkins-Nanjing Center Co-Directors, and get acquainted with current students and future classmates. See and experience the HNC firsthand with a tour of the HNC and surrounding area, sit in on classes, and hear a presentation on career services. For more information and to RSVP, email

Daniela Francesca Coleman

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

SAIS Career Treks Provide Current Students an Inside View of Life in the Global Work Force

Students attending SAIS will be offered a multitude of services to enhance their professional development.  The Career Services Offices across all three campuses (DC, Bologna, and Nanjing) assist students with a number of activities, including cover letter and résumé reviews, interview preparation, and career advising, in addition to providing required professional development classes for students. Every year, the Career Offices also host a number of international career treks. Company visits and alumni networking receptions on these trips provide students an insider’s viewpoint on working in specific sectors.

This year, the Career Office at SAIS Europe hosted four Career Treks, which included two trips to London, Geneva and Brussels. About 20 SAIS students participated with  company visits across a variety of industries to better understand what it’s like to work in different sectors. 

The application process to participate in a Career Trek is quite simple. As highlighted by Ms. Amanda Dumsch, Director of Career Services at SAIS Europe, “Many students are interested in participating on these treks, so student apply by submitting a résumé, cover letter/ statement of interest explaining why this trek would be beneficial for their career goals. Applications are submitted through SAIS Works (an online portal) which students gain access to once admitted. Although SAIS Europe is responsible for organizing the European treks, all SAIS students (depending on their schedule) can attend any of the  Career Treks throughout the US, Europe and China as well.”

In order to better understand the formative professional development experience, we interviewed three SAIS Europe students who attended the European Career Treks. Below are reflections of their experiences.

Hina Samnani is a current M.A. student concentrating in Strategic Studies. “I was interested in the London Career Trek because London is a huge hub for the political risk industry in Europe. This is a career path I am interested in pursuing after graduation. As a Strategic Studies concentrator, I am currently learning about the intersections between global security and international economics. The political risk field tackles these issues firsthand through original research and forecasting. Many of the organizations we visited provided details about their internship programs and application processes. We were able to learn about which skills these organizations look for when hiring and how we can take advantage of our time in graduate school to develop those particular skill sets.” 

Furthermore, Hina spoke about an organization that stood out to her, called the Economist Intelligence Unit, a subsidiary business within The Economist. “The EIU provides forecasting and advisory services through research and analysis and is best known for their five-year country economic forecasts and country risk service reports.”  

EJ Richardson is a current M.A. student concentrating in Latin American Studies. Attending the London Career Trek was a really unique experience for him: “I was able to visit several different kinds of companies in the finance industry while also meeting with alumni who had some great advice.  Attending the Career Trek during my first semester at SAIS allowed me to start mapping out how to take advantage of SAIS courses in order to best focus on my future career goals. I was particularly interested in the rating agencies we visited, which is a career path I hadn’t previously considered.”  Over the course of two days, the group also visited major banks and investment firms like JP Morgan and HSBC as well as rating agencies like Fitch.

As EJ further clarifies, “the trek helped me explore paths I had not considered prior to SAIS. The trek provided me with the information necessary to make decisions on what skills I want to hone in on in order to be best prepared for the job market. I would absolutely recommend that students take advantage of the unique alumni and business network that SAIS offers through the Career Services Treks.”

Poorti Sathe, an M.A. student at SAIS Europe, concentrating in General International Relations, attended the SAIS Europe Career Trek to Geneva. She chose this Trek on the basis of her career interests in multilateral and non-profit organizations. As she states, “I was specifically interested in the fields of migration, environment, and humanitarian aid.  The greatest insight from this career trek was understanding the necessity of fieldwork and access to the SAIS alumni network. Alumni were incredibly helpful to engage and communicate with. Networking with them was definitely the best part of the trek.”

During the Geneva Trek, students visited organizations such as the International Trade Centre, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Geneva Environment Network (GEN), the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), World Food Program (WFP), World Trade Organization (WTO) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

From our testimonials, students affirm that the Career Treks offer many opportunities for current students to connect with employers and alumni. The Career Services Office works  with all currently enrolled students during their internship and job searches.  When you become a student at SAIS Europe, you are encouraged to take advantage of all of the career service resources!

Khrystian Pereira, MA Student (SAIS Europe 2016-2017)

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

How to Prepare for the SAIS Europe Interview

After  weeks and months of preparation, you have submitted your application to SAIS Europe. Now what?

In the coming weeks, SAIS Europe Admissions will be reaching out to you to schedule a Skype or an in person interview, depending on your location.

The interview process is an opportunity for prospective candidates to complement their written applications with additional information. Interviews at SAIS Europe are conducted by senior staff and faculty, and are an important element of your application.

For many, preparing for an interview may appear daunting.  Don’t fret!  We want to assure you not to worry.  The SAIS Europe interview provides an opportunity for applicants to not only expand on their submitted application, but also to provide the interviewer an opportunity to elaborate on the academic and student experience at SAIS Europe.

So this begs the question: how does one prepare?

Although interview styles can vary, SAIS Europe Admissions wanted to provide applicants with some guidance by asking our faculty and senior staff  interviewers directly what they look for.  Below is a transcript of their words of wisdom for applicants.

Prof. Mark Gilbert
Professor  Mark Gilbert teaches History and International Studies at SAIS Europe and is a resident faculty member at SAIS Europe. This Spring, he will teach two courses, Peace and War  and Intellectuals and Politics. “ I look for students who show curiosity about international affairs,  who have a clear idea about why they want to do a SAIS degree”, he  states.  “I look for students who know what their intellectual interests and professional goals are.”

Professor Erik Jones is Director of the European and Eurasian Studies Concentration at SAIS Europe and Professor of European Studies and International Political Economy. He underlines the following:

“A strong interview is where the candidate answers the questions and reveals something about themselves along the way.  That is not the same thing as providing every bit of information you can remember about the subject of the question.  It is about being selective.  It is about being analytical.  And it is about knowing what is important and why.  Answer the questions, tell me why that is your answer, tell me why I should agree with you, and then tell me why I should care.  If you do all those things in short order, I will be impressed.
Professor Erik Jones

The best way to prepare is be natural and be yourself.  You are not going to know everything and there are always some things you won’t know at all.  Don’t be afraid to admit that.  The purpose of the interview is not to find the next editor of the Encyclopedia Britannica.  That said, you should know something.  And you should know at least something about the most obvious things.  If you don’t know about the war that just broke out, the president that was just elected (or impeached), the economy that just collapsed, or the treaty negotiations that just concluded, then it will be fair for us to ask how much you are really interested in studying international relations."

David Unger  is Adjunct Professor of American Foreign Policy at SAIS Europe and a longtime member of the New York Times Editorial Board. True to his direct journalistic style, he tells candidates the following: “Be prepared but don't have a script; listen to the questions asked and tell the interviewer something about you he/she would not know just from reading your application.“

Assistant Professor of International Political Economy Matthias Matthijs teaches graduate courses in International Relations, International Economics and Comparative Politics. A SAIS graduate, he tells students to “structure your answers and try to be analytical in what you say. Have a story and try to be well versed in general IR issues. Make me understand your point of view with clear arguments.”

As Director of SAIS Europe Admissions I often travel around the globe to meet with prospective students. The advice I give applicants who are thinking of graduate school is simple: applicants should have a general idea of their professional goals and apply to graduate school only if this is a necessary step in their career development. I view graduate school as a long term investment that should be well thought out. If an applicant can't describe where he/she wants to be in five years, the applicant should continue working until he/she has clarity. You don't come to graduate school to figure out your future. You know where you want to go and graduate school is the tool to take you to the next level.

Lastly, as prospective students prepare their interview, Professor Jones has these  pointed comments:

“The interview and the application process are about fit and not about good and bad.  We want to find the right students for our program and we want to find the students for whom our program is right. You can be the most brilliant and capable student the world has ever seen and yet still not fit the SAIS experience.  If that is the case, we need to know and so do you.  There is no good reason for us to encourage you to invest as much time, energy, and financial resources as a SAIS education requires if it is not going to help you achieve your personal objectives.”

We hope the guidance above has given you the necessary insight to approach the interview process with focus. Best of luck with the process!

Daniela F.Coleman
Director of Admissions, SAIS Europe