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An Enriching Education in the Heart of Europe

photo of David

David Horner-Ibler
MAIR '22
First Year: SAIS Europe

Q: What encouraged you to apply to Johns Hopkins SAIS?

A: After working professionally for five years I knew that in order to continue on my career path I would need further my education. Talking with mentors and friends made it clear that SAIS was the best option for me to move forward in the international development field. Recommendations from friends in the program and mentors in the field made choosing SAIS easy.
Q: What has been one of your favorite experiences at the school so far?

A: Studying with an internationally diverse student body has been wildly informative for me. Being at SAIS Europe has exposed me to so many new and unique perspectives that I wouldn't have encountered at any other graduate program. Discussing political and cultural nuances with my fellow students is easily my favorite part of the program.

Q: Tell us about your studies, what are you working on and would you recommend studying at SAIS to perspective students?

A: I'm studying international development, with a focus on quantitative methods including Econometrics. The intersection of statistics and, for lack of a better term, helping people, is what really brought me to SAIS. I'd recommend it to anyone looking to further their experience in development.

Q: Tell us about the academic, as well as your non-academic experience at SAIS?

A: Academically, I've found myself challenged in many of my classes; in a good way. My concentration classes are rigorous and my core classes consistently challenge me to expand my understandings and assumptions. Non-academically, I've been blessed with the opportunity to create new and lasting friendships with a broad range of international, like-minded (and not like-minded) individuals. 

Q: What have you enjoyed most about studying in Bologna and at SAIS Europe?

A: Well, the food's great, Italy is beautiful, and Italians are some of the kindest and most generous people I've met on the three continents I've been able to call home thus far in my life. To reiterate a point I've made a few times now, the internationally diverse student body has exposed me to many new ideas and perspectives, for which I am deeply grateful. 

Q: Tell us about how SAIS is helping you advance in your career goals?

A: SAIS is providing me with the hard tools I will need to further a career in international development while also providing me a deeper perspective to understand the context. The school has a nice blend of specific tools and broad understanding that prepares you for both the work and the environment after graduate school. 

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

A: I'm hoping to work in the international development field, ideally in the West African context. I'm not picky about with whom or what, I just hope that I can work with data and make some beautiful new Excel spreadsheets, maybe they'll even let me play with R or Python, but we'll cross that bridge when we get to it. 

Q: Are you the recipient of a scholarship?

A: Part of the reason I chose SAIS was that the school was willing to extend a partial scholarship offer early in the decision process. Other programs I was looking at were far less responsive to and generous with my requests. 

Q: Are you happy with the quality of education, and career opportunities SAIS has provided you?

A: SAIS is an internationally renowned program for a reason. I'm content with the standard of education thus far. Obviously it’s not perfect, but nothing ever is. You really have to make the most of it yourself, and SAIS has certainly given me the tools to begin the process.

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