Wednesday, May 27, 2015

International Students Advance International Studies

By Carmen Iezzi Mezzera
Executive Director, APSIA

It may seem self-evident, but bringing together students from around the world advances the study of international relations.

Studying international affairs outside of your home country further develops your analytical skills, your ability to communicate across cultures, and your ability to manage international projects. These critical competencies improve your understanding of the world and your competitiveness for jobs.

How well do you collect, evaluate, and communicate data?

International affairs programs emphasize practical skills in writing and public speaking. Students learn to conduct quantitative and qualitative analyses from different perspectives. They develop techniques to find solutions to complex challenges. They can translate the information they collect into documents and speeches that inform and persuade others.

Today, it’s more important than ever to be able to gather, analyze, and present details from a range of sources.

By studying outside of your country, you gather firsthand information about a new part of the world. Diverse perspectives enhance your ability to compare evidence. Classmates from around the globe also bring knowledge of new languages, media outlets, and resources to enhance your research skills.

Through interpersonal and academic experiences, you gain the tools to successfully process global information. 

Can you communicate successfully with colleagues from different linguistic and cultural backgrounds?

Graduate programs in international affairs allow students to delve into the people, places, and historical experiences of the world. They learn techniques to anticipate and address culture shock. Classes balance individual work with group projects to practice intercultural collaboration.

By working together with colleagues from different places, you can demonstrate cross-cultural capacity with specific examples on your resume and in job interviews. You gain skills for a global marketplace, which demands professionals know how to work across cultures.

Gaining intercultural experience in an international affairs program enables you to challenge yourself and experience something new. At the same time, you receive the support of a university system to ease the challenges of an international, intercultural move.

Can you handle a detailed assignment spanning different time zones, currencies, and actors?

International affairs programs teach students to anticipate the opportunities and challenges of different areas of the world. Students learn to plan, budget for, and execute strategies. Graduates know how to monitor risk, overcome constraints, and measure return on investment.

The ability to track budgets, personnel, materials, and other resources is key to delivering on important projects. 

Studying outside of your home country forces you to juggle these logistics on a practical level. Transition to a new city and provide for your basic necessities. Learn about visas, customs, and currency issues in a different way than as a tourist. Gain practical experience dealing with new bureaucracies.

Inside and outside the classroom, you build a solid foundation in project management. 

Ready to sharpen your analytical, cross-cultural, and project management skills?

Study international affairs outside of your country.

More than 30 percent of the students enrolled as members of the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs (APSIA) are international. Most nations of the world are represented. This community creates an opportunity for you to share the experiences of your culture and to learn from others. By studying international affairs at a professional school, you gain a deep and broad foundation that will prepare you for a professional field.

To learn more about studying in the United States, check out WES Student Advisor’s webinar series. To learn more about graduate study in international affairs, including virtual and in-person recruitment events, visit
Carmen Iezzi Mezzera is the executive director of the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs. Previously, she served as director of programs and operations at the Bretton Woods Committee; executive director of the Fair Trade Federation; assistant director for education and outreach at the Atlantic Council of the United States; and director of alumni relations for the School of International Service (SIS) at American University. During her studies, Mezzera provided analyses for NATO’s Partnership for Peace in Mons, Belgium and at the U.N. Development Program Washington Office.

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