Thursday, 27 September 2012

Open Day: Gaining Insight into SAIS Bologna

On a warm morning in late 2011 a conversation between two aspiring master's students began like this:

"So Cormac, why are you here in Italy at the SAIS Open Day? Is it because Bologna is a really beautiful city? Is it because the kind folks at SAIS will find you somewhere to stay while you are here? Is it because you get a free lunch and prosecco with the students and staff at the end of the day?"

"All of that and more." 

A year later, Cormac Sullivan (BC13/DC14) reflects on his decision to attend Open Day at SAIS Bologna. This year Open Day will be on Friday, December 7. If you're interested in attending, drop an email to

Coming to the SAIS Bologna Open Day is a great opportunity that I would recommend to anyone considering applying.

Quite simply what have you got to lose?

  • If you decide that the course is not for you, then you've had a weekend away in an immensely beautiful city and will have had a great time hanging out with fun young people who have similar interests.
  • If you decide that the combination of a year in Bologna and a year in DC is just too good to turn down -- and how could you not -- then you will have the added bonus of a ton of useful information about how the course operates and how to go about applying.
  • Throw in the ease of getting here on a budget airline and you’re left with no excuse not to come.

The course at SAIS is unique in several ways: It is taught across multiple locations, it has a strong focus on economics, the Bologna Center is relatively compact and the courses are structured around regional and thematic concentrations.

Most of these details are available on the web, but to appreciate what it all actually means in reality, what it looks like when you put it all together, there is no better way than coming here and actually talking to students, professors and staff. You will also have a far greater insight into the often confusing worlds of financial aid and the admissions process.

This is a truly unique institution and coming to the Open Day will leave you with a clear impression of whether it is right for you.

So the day itself is useful. But is it fun? I can only speak for myself, but I had a great time largely because everyone was so accommodating. I was put up in a great apartment by two of last year’s Bologna students who were happy to tell me about their experience at SAIS over a (delicious) pizza and some wine. The day of the program itself was a whirlwind tour of the grounds followed by opportunities to meet with everyone from the head librarian to professors and language instructors to the director of the center. We had the chance to sit in on some classes.

When the formal program was over, we headed down to Giulio's Bar where my fellow hopefuls and I tried to absorb a wealth of information provided to us over drinks with the current students.

To sum up, there just aren't very many good reasons to miss Open Day. It is a chance to think and learn about a life-changing master's program combined with a stay in the culinary capital of Italy.

So why wait? Get yourself to an airline price comparison website and get over here!

Good luck to you all,