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An Invaluable Education

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Renata Zilli
MAIR '21

 
Q: What encouraged you to apply to Johns Hopkins SAIS? 
 
A: When I decided to come to SAIS I was completely sure this program was entirely what I needed as a next step in my professional career. I was looking into a second master’s degree a program that could provide me with the right balance between qualitative and quantitative skills and no other master’s program in international relations meets these criteria in the US as SAIS’. In addition, I had the opportunity to meet different alumni for whom SAIS represented a pivotal point in their careers and have now become leaders in their respective fields, which was extremely motivating. Finally, being in Washington DC and having a glance on how international politics unfolds, is the ultimate element that contributes to the whole academic experience.
 
Q: What has been one of your favorite experiences at the school so far? 

A: During my first semester, I had the opportunity to intern at the Mexican Embassy at the NAFTA office which gave me a great sense to understand the complexities of working at the most important diplomatic representation of Mexico during the crucial year of the USMCA ratification. Likewise, in my first year of studies I had the opportunity to attend many different conferences at SAIS, where I learned firsthand from global leaders and renown scholars. I cannot deny that the pandemic altered our original plans, but it is equally important to say that the opportunities to learn and interact from amazing professors and classmates have remained. Furthermore, as an international student, living in Washington DC  during one of the most critical moments in American history has been an invaluable experience for the rest of my life.
 
Q: What extracurricular activities are you involved with outside of school?
 
A: In parallel to my studies, I participate actively giving talks and conferences in different universities in Mexico. Furthermore, last September I participated in my first international conference at the Geneva Trade Week 2020, where I presented a panel on “trade and gender,” along with other colleagues from TradeTankMX, the first Mexican youth think tank focused on international trade, which I co-founded. Finally, I also participate in different written, radio and digital media in Mexico as an international affairs analyst, and it is important to say that the learnings obtained at SAIS have been fundamental for enhancing my academic background and perspectives.
 
Q: What do you hope to do with your degree after you graduate? 
 
A: After SAIS I would like to gain some experience in the field, hopefully working in a multilateral environment but also, I would like to apply to a PhD program in the United States. I truly wish to continue in the academia and consolidate my professional career as an international affairs expert and hopefully be able to work in a prestigious think tank, continue collaborating in the media and also becoming a university professor. I am a firm believer that education is crucial for development, which is why I consider that one way to retribute society is through sharing experiences and knowledge with the youngest. 

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