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Building Expertise on China-Latin America Relations

photo of andrea

Andrea Fernandez Aponte '21
MA in International Relations + Tsinghua University Master of Law

Q: What encouraged you to apply to Johns Hopkins SAIS?
A: After working in the nonprofit sector for a few years, I knew that I needed to obtain an advanced degree to further my career in international relations. Applying to SAIS was an obvious choice for me. I had been living in Washington DC for nearly a decade, so I was familiar with the school’s excellent reputation and vast network. Moreover, I wanted to join a program that placed a strong emphasis on quantitative skills, and SAIS offered that and much more.
Q: What were you doing before attending the school?
A: Before attending SAIS, I was working for the Latin America Working Group, a dynamic DC-based nonprofit that advocates for human rights-centered US policies towards Latin America and the Caribbean.
Q: What has been one of your favorite experiences at the school so far?
A: After I was accepted to SAIS, I learned that the school offered a dual-degree program with Tsinghua University. A couple of years earlier, I had become interested in China’s impact on the Latin American region and actually decided to focus my graduate studies on Sino-Latin American relations, especially within the context of  Sino-US competition. Needless to say, I applied for the dual degree and spent my first year of graduate school in Beijing learning Chinese and about the country’s history, economy, and foreign policy. It was an amazing experience, and one I could have only had through SAIS.
Q: What extracurricular activities are you involved with at the school?
A: This semester I am participating in the SAIS US-China Dialogue group, which provides a space for students from both countries to discuss current issues and foster mutual understanding.

I am also honored to be serving as the 2021 Global Women in Leadership (GWL) Conference Chair. Our team has been working arduously to bring together several panels featuring amazing women leaders to discuss society's responses to some of today's most pressing issues--including the COVID-19 pandemic, the intensifying threats from climate change, and the persistent oppression of black, indigenous, and other peoples of color. I am most looking forward to hearing their perspectives on how we can seize this moment to build a more resilient, tolerant, and sustainable future for everyone. 
Q: What do you hope to do with your degree after you graduate?
A: After graduating, I hope to continue working on issues related to Sino-Latin American relations, either in the private or the nonprofit sectors. I am also considering pursuing a PhD in Political Economy.

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