COVID-19 Updates

Johns Hopkins SAIS is actively monitoring the global COVID-19 outbreak, focusing on the health and well-being of the university community. CLICK HERE for additional information, including spring semester reopening plans.

Skip navigation

Developing my Expertise

photo of alex

Alex Brandão Ferraz '21
MA in International Relations
First Year: SAIS Europe

 
Q:  What encouraged you to apply to SAIS?  

A: SAIS’ academic reputation, world-class faculty, career networking opportunities, and dual campus offering for the MAIR program drew me to the school. I knew I wanted to study in Washington DC, but I also wanted a distinct and culturally immersive experience for one of my two years here, and ended up choosing to go to Bologna first.

Q: What has been one of your favorite parts about studying at SAIS? 
 
A: My favorite part of studying at SAIS has been the course offerings. Every semester I feel I have to narrow down the classes I am interested in from 8-9 to 4. I have taken classes covering human rights, American foreign policy, Latin American relations, U.S. intelligence, and the role of media in society. Apart from the subject matter, I really appreciate how every professor I have taken a class with has made themselves available to meet outside of class to talk about school, careers, or pretty much anything.

Q: Do you have a favorite class?

A: I do not think I can narrow down my favorite classes taken to a single one, but a few that really stand out are US Foreign Policy toward Latin America: Cold War to Drug War, Media Wars, American Intelligence: Role Practice & Impact, and Corporate Sustainability, Business, & Human Rights.
 
Q:  Could you please tell us about extracurricular activities and internships you have been involved as a student.
 
A: I am currently serving as one of the Vice Presidents of the International Law Society in DC, and last year I founded the SAIS Europe basketball club (unofficially known as SAIS Ball-ogna). I have also held on-campus student work positions in the offices of Admissions, Faculty Affairs, and Marketing & Communications.
 
In regards to internships, this past summer I was fortunate enough to participate in a remote consulting internship with Merci Mercado, the family-owned business of Johns Hopkins SAIS Alumnus, Juan Manuel Gutierrez. This may be the most unique company I have ever worked for, given that they import edible insect products from Mexico into the US! In case you are wondering - yes, I have sampled their products and they are delicious!

Q:  How do you anticipate your graduate school experience helping you expand your network and advance your career?  
 
A: I plan to remain in the Washington DC area following graduation and build upon the connections I have made at SAIS, both with students and faculty alike. I cannot wait to take the research skills and international experience I have gained through my education and apply them to my career afterwards.

Q:  What do you hope to do with your degree after you graduate?  

A: I hope to translate my graduate degree towards a career in political risk and investigative due diligence. I am passionate about the intersection between journalism and global security, as well as human rights in an increasingly technological and data-driven world.

Back to Student Stories