Now that Second Year students are in their final semester at SIPA, we asked a couple of them: What has been your favorite experience at SIPA?
Emily Siu, Dual Degree with Social Work: Probably the North Korea trip. It was so unexpected to have this opportunity. I was surrounded by a cohort that was really interesting. I felt like I learned not only from the tour guides but also my classmates. One night we did karaoke with our host guides. The trip was the week after finals so we all really needed to relax. Professor Lindenmayer was even dancing! It was really eye opening to hear perspectives on international affairs from our guides. What we hear in the US about North Korea is very one-sided. This trip really humanized the country for me.
Nancy Leeds, Social Policy and Management: My favorite part of the SIPA experience has been participating in the Gender Policy co-curricular program. It’s great to be able to take classes and receive guidance from other women practitioners and guest lecturers who have been there and done that in almost every field of interest. I also love reading studies and learning statistics that validate and inform my own experiences as a professional woman. I would particularly recommend Women and Power with Carolyn Buck-Luce, which focuses on practical applications for women in the workforce, and Gender Mainstreaming with Kristy Kelly which teaches how to apply feminist theory and a gender perspective across almost any policy or administrative field.
Carlyn Cowen, EPD and Management: The International Conflict Resolution Practicum. It’s a combined class and summer internship experience. You take the class on international conflict resolution in the spring, and then you and a team of students get placed with a summer internship. I worked with the UN in Zambia. We designed and conducted a research study for the UN to assess how their natural resource management initiatives were affecting rural communities. In the process, we learned research design and implementation skills as well as had a chance to experience working in the UN system. I also got to sit on the edge of Victoria Falls and white water raft down the Zambezi!
Alejandra Kubitschek Bujones, EPD and Management: I went on student led and organized trips to both Japan (last year) and India, which I just returned from. Both were amazing and definitely highlights of my SIPA experience. In India we met President Sonia Gandhi. We visited a rural village and saw development projects in person bringing electricity to rural villages using cow dow and innovative measures being developed. From there we went to Mumbai which is thriving city. India is definitely a country on the move! Both trips were amazing because we got to learn about the political, social, economic and cultural side of these two amazing countries and they were organized through the generosity of our classmates who are well connected in these countries so it was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Neha Shah, IFEP and Management : My favorite part was the interaction with the other students whether it was through classes, student groups, events, or parties. I feel like the student body has such a wide range of experiences that it was extremely beneficial and eye opening to get to know my peers.I came into sipa with little knowledge of what actually went on day to day (the work life) in a lot of organizations I thought I would be interested i.e. the UN, World Bank, Fed etc. So it was great getting to know the details of the wide array of backgrounds first hand from my peers.