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Developing the Skillset to Improve Policy and Infrastructure in Nigeria

photo of Dawalola

Dawalola Shonibare
Master of Arts in International Relations (MAIR) '21
First Year: SAIS Europe

Prior to attending SAIS, Dawalola worked for AmeriCorps, where she focused on capacity-building for a non-profit organization – recruiting and training volunteers and fundraising.
Looking to take the next step of her career, Dawalola was encouraged to apply to SAIS because she felt that the school’s international development curriculum would provide her with the relevant knowledge and best practices to work in the development field. Coming from a public health background, Dawalola wanted to challenge herself and broaden her academic scope. Furthermore, the school’s focus on economic development intrigued her in that regard, as well as the prospect of spending a year in Bologna, Italy at SAIS Europe, which didn’t sound like a terrible way to spend half of her master’s program.
After enrolling at SAIS, a few of Dawalola’s favorite experiences included her Public Health for Development Practitioners course. As much as she wanted to like economics, public health will always be her passion. The course called to mind the areas that she really wants to focus on in her future career. Dawalola also enjoyed attending the Vienna Ball of Arts and Sciences when studying at SAIS Europe. Vienna is a beautiful city and getting to dance the night away at such an amazing Viennese tradition was truly magical. It was also one of the last SAIS events she attended in person before the pandemic turned everything upside down, so she will remember it as a special experience.
Speaking of the pandemic, despite having to take classes remotely, Dawalola found the online format to work really well. Being able to watch and re-watch economic lectures, being at home with family, and just having more space to focus on her goals has been a positive experience. However, Zoom fatigue is real and it can be very draining at times. Dawalola  also wished she could have seen the cherry blossom season in DC!
After graduating from SAIS, in the long term, Dawalola hopes to return to Nigeria and use her policy, development, and local knowledge to improve policy and infrastructure. Watch out for her Presidency bid in 2045!

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