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A Year of Personal and Academic Growth in the Heart of Europe

photo of nils

Nils Lange
MA '20
European and Eurasian Studies
First Year: SAIS Europe

  • Fellow of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung
  • Recipient of a scholarship of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)
  • Merit-based scholarship provided by the German Alumni Association of Johns Hopkins SAIS for the Academic Year 2018/2019

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

A: The school’s strong commitment to solving real-world problems and the particular practical relevance of its courses encouraged me to apply. Studying in an international environment with a global community allowed me to study and analyses problems regarding Europe and Eurasia not only from a transatlantic perspective but also with a global view through the eyes of my fellow students from all over the world. The program distinguishes itself through its flexibility and the possibility of studying not only in Europe but also in the US.

Furthermore, the opportunity to study at a world-class university with distinguished faculty from all over Europe in the beautiful city of Bologna, convinced me to apply.

Q: What have been some of the highlights of studying in the European and Eurasian Studies Program and at SAIS Europe?

A: Bologna is a city which immediately captured me. Looking back at my year in Bologna almost seems surreal. It was all about living local and becoming local. A city which made it easy to detach from the sometimes very high-paced grad school life. La Dotta, La Grassa, La Rossa (Bolognas three nicknames) surrounded me for a year full of personal and academic growth.

Another highlight was the possibility to interact on a personal basis with professors and scholars, visiting guests such as members of parliaments, ministers, and practitioners.

In addition, the strength of the EES community encouraged me to come to Bologna and seize every opportunity, as well as the flexibility of the concentration that tailored to my needs without repeating subjects or topics I already studied in undergrad.

Q: Could you tell us about opportunities you have had to learn outside the classroom?

A: In Bologna I organized the 2019 Sarajevo Study Trip to Bosnia and Herzegovina for the Center for Constitutional Studies and Democratic Development. The aim was for students to see first-hand the efforts of international organizations, domestic institutions, and local NGOs in creating a peaceful and stable Bosnia and Herzegovina and the difficulties that they face today.

I also participated in the London career trek for my Political Risk course, which helped me gain a better understanding of the opportunities within political risk consulting and connected me to potential employers in the market.

Furthermore, in Bologna I was instrumental in organizing roundtable discussions with external speakers for the Defense and Intelligence Club. In Washington DC I am part of the steering committee of the “SPARK! for Europe” European Affairs Club. Additionally, I am supporting Professor Emeritus David P. Calleo as a Research Assistant.

Q: What are you looking forward to in your last semester at the school?

A: I am looking forward to enjoying all the possibilities Washington DC has to offer and a last semester full of academics where I can concentrate on the classes I am most interested in since I will have finished my economic requirements and comprehensive exams.

Moreover, I want to focus on deepening existing skills, further improve my Russian and Turkish, attend various conferences, and of course enjoy life in my final semester in grad school with my friends.

Q: What do you hope to do after you graduate?
A: My main focus lies on issues regarding European Integration and Security, the Western Balkans, and Turkey. After graduating, my plan is to go back to Europe and work at the intersection of foreign affairs and strategy, striving to improve the current international system.