Tuesday, 1 November 2011

From BC to DC

What's it like to be a SAIS student who spends a year in Bologna and then moves to Washington, DC?

I took advantage of a brief stopover in the U.S. capital last month to speak to two students who recently settled in Washington after studying last year in Bologna. Who better to describe the experience that about one half of SAIS students share: a first year of study in Italy followed by a second and final year in DC?

Marcus Watson worked in London for three years as a corporate lawyer before starting SAIS in the autumn of 2010. His concentration is International Development -- little wonder given experiences he has gained working in Tanzania and Uganda.

Even before Shoko Sugai graduated from college in 2009, she had helped victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and of the 2006 Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Her concentration is Conflict Management.

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In the short film below shot on the SAIS DC campus, Marcus and Shoko discuss the challenges of moving from Bologna to Washington: difficulties finding housing and the "bidding system" to get into popular classes. Shoko says it's a "little bit chaotic" living for nine months in Italy and then picking up stakes for the U.S.

Any regrets?

"I really do believe that if you go to Bologna and then come to DC, you get the best of both worlds," Shoko said.

"I think the experiences definitely complement each other," Marcus said.

If you are reading this on email, you can view the video here.

Nelson Graves