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An Engaging Education on Two Continents

photo of Alethia

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

 
When Alethia was looking to apply to graduate school,  there are three reasons why she ultimately chose to attend SAIS. The first was that she wanted to live outside the United States after finishing her undergraduate degree, and the school offered her the opportunity to do so. The second is the school’s Admissions team; they were very knowledgeable and always answered all of her questions, no matter how many times she spoke with them. The final reason was the raving reviews from the school’s alumni. All the former students she had met while interning at the US State Department spoke very highly of the institution.

Alethia began her first year of study at SAIS Europe in Bologna, Italy, which she describes as an amazing experience, full of highs and lows. She was able to interact with the target population that she wanted to work with—African migrants, many of whom she formed great friendships. She ate so many different types of pizza, but hot salami, potato, and friarelli (broccoli) was definitely her favorite. Being a Black woman in Italy was both an empowering and draining experience. She had the chance to represent her culture and identity to a group of people who were less familiar, but she always felt that there were eyes on her. She loved the SAIS Europe campus, however she would have liked to see more diversity within the academic environment. One of her fondest memories was attending the Scientific Ball in Austria. Though it was cold, the scenery was still beautiful. She had the chance to interact with alumni who attended the ball, in addition to creating memories with her classmates.

During her second year of study in Washington DC, Alethia served as co-president of the Latin American Studies Program (LASP) Club. The club was a great opportunity to stay connected to the Latinx diaspora in a non-academic way.

After graduating, Alethia hopes to become a Foreign Service Officer for USAID to bridge the gap between Africa and Latin America. Her goal is to help maintain economic stability through infrastructure development and clean water filtration systems. She wants to help people in both urban and rural communities of developing countries secure employment and educational opportunities that can sustain economic growth and development. Then, eventually, she plans to become the Mayor of the City of Milwaukee to help her community acquire socioeconomic opportunities that will revive the entrepreneurial spirit of her city and reduce the violence.

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