Online Information Session-International Student Tips

Are you an international student?  Do you have questions about the English requirements or visa documents?  Check out this online information session video with Assistant Director, Lisa Curry, speaking on all aspects of applying as an international student.

OIS1415 International Students

It’s All Global Now – Are You Ready?

(This article was originally published for Career in Government and written by Carmen Iezzi Mezzera, Executive Director of APSIA, the Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs.)

Business. Politics. Education. Public Health. Communications. Job-seekers are realizing a new reality: most careers – down to the local level – have an international component to them. It’s all global now.

Whether you’re interested in the public, private, or non-governmental sector, you cannot escape the internationalization of the job market. An understanding of international affairs is critical for success.

People and products move fluidly around the world. Ninety-five percent of the world’s consumers live outside of the United States. One in five American jobs is tied to international trade (Texas alone has seen an 84% increase in such jobs in the last 20 years). The U.S. Department of Commerce expects more than 88 million international visitors per year will come to the United States by 2019, up from 69.8 million in 2013. There are more than 25.7 million immigrants in the civilian U.S. workforce, according to the Migration Policy Institute, so – chances are – dealing with coworkers, employees, or even your boss already requires some cross-cultural understanding.   Health, environmental, and security challenges do not follow national borders either, as the recent situation with Ebola patients in several states demonstrates.

Are you ready for this global marketplace? Can you follow the economic, security, and political factors influencing the places with which you’d like to do business? Do you know how to attract international tourists (and the millions of dollars in revenue they represent) to your community? Can you communicate successfully with your constituents and colleagues from different linguistic and cultural backgrounds? Can you monitor developments around the world, identify challenges, and recommend ways for your organization to address them?

So, How Do I Prepare?

Job-seekers in every sector need to prepare now for the job market of the future with key international competencies.

Know how to evaluate trends across a global landscape. Be ready to succinctly explain other countries’ political, economic, social, and security situations so as to anticipate where opportunities and risks might emerge. Learn to communicate with those from different backgrounds and pay attention to cultural cues to guide a successful conversation or negotiation.

While many presume that the only path to success lies with a law or MBA program, the study of international affairs enables you to master the elements of our complex, interconnected world and sets you apart from other candidates.

International affairs programs equip graduates with an understanding of regions, languages, and global trends, as well as project management, trade and economic development, and analytical skills. Teaching methods stress the application of theory to practical issues. Joint degrees enable students to combine technical programs in public health, business, law, or computer systems with a focus on international affairs. Cross-cultural training is part of the curriculum, as well as a part of daily life when students mix with classmates from a diverse range of backgrounds. More than 800,000 international students attend U.S. institutions of higher education. They are preparing for the international marketplace and learning important cross-cultural skills. Are you ready?

It’s all global now. With training in the competencies of international affairs, you can be a competitive candidate for jobs today and into the future.

Online Information Session-Fellowships

One of the most common questions we get is about fellowships and other funding opportunities.  Yesterday, we hosted an online information session that shared details about Elliott School, GW, and other fellowships applicable to international affairs graduate students.  Check it out and apply today!OIS1415 Fellowships

Using Video Games to Teach Development Skills

(this article was originally published in the November/December 2014 Briefing Newsletter)

Imagine you’re an international development practitioner in the field. Your host country has given you a new assignment: evaluate the impact of a pilot deworming program using a randomized control trial. What are your first steps?

Caroline Bailey (left) and Mariam Adil at the 2014 Clinton Global Initiative University

Gaming Revolution for International Development (GRID) helps practitioners address scenarios like this. The start-up venture, launched by International Development Studies graduate students Mariam Adil and Caroline Bailey, designs low-cost video games to simulate common issues in development fieldwork.

The concept, said Mariam, grew out of what she and team members considered a learning gap between the theory and practice of development. Mariam points to a classroom discussion as the catalyst for the idea; after debating the merits of two project ideas for development in Kenya, one of her classmates declared, “I guess we’ll never know.”

“It got me thinking that in development, we seldom observe the ‘counterfactual,’ the scenario that would have happened if we had done things differently,” said Mariam. “And I thought, if only we could simulate economies, like SimCity, then we could observe the impact of projects. That was the moment GRID was born.”

Since its launch last Spring, GRID has debuted two games. ‘Randomania,’ the first, addresses common political, ethical, and resource constraints in the field. Users experience, in one scenario, a simulated meeting with country officials who want to measure the impact of a new deworming initiative. Through a series of questions and multiple choice answers paired with explanations, users learn more about designing an impact evaluation in the field.

‘StereoWiped,’ currently in prototype form, is a social impact game that focuses on breaking the social constructs that fuel racial, gender, and professional stereotypes.

screenshot: Randomania video game

Randomania enables development practitioners to simulate real constraints while designing impact evaluations for fieldwork.

To test and refine Randomania, the GRID team paired with the World Bank’s Strategic Impact Evaluation Fund (SIEF), which also provided funding for the project. The game has since been played by more than 300 policymakers in World Bank workshops, and it will be provided as a complementary learning tool in future World Bank workshops focused on impact evaluation.

“Given that each workshop participant on average manages at least two projects, and each project has at least 1000 beneficiaries, we estimate that Randomania has improved monitoring and project evaluation of initiatives impacting at least 600,000 beneficiaries,” said Mariam, who also works as an economist with the World Bank’s Education Global Practice.

The GRID team attended the 2014 Clinton Global Initiative University (CGIU) last Spring where they committed to developing Randomania. Shortly after, they presented their concept at the GW Business Plan Competition, earning a finalist spot. They plan to participate in both CGIU and the GW Business Plan Competition in Spring 2015.

For the team, the experience has not only provided valuable lessons on development work, but it has also been a crash-course in managing a start-up. Team member Caroline highlights the value of having a cohesive, passionate group.

“The administrative and logistical tasks of running a start-up don’t seem as daunting and mundane if you know there is a team of individuals who really believe in the idea and are supporting you in every step,” said Caroline.

Over the next year, GRID plans to unveil three more games based on StereoWiped. They refer to their goal of improving development implementation through games as “Game Plan 2030,” echoing the World Bank’s roadmap to end global poverty by 2030.

“We don’t just want to make games—we want to be the agents of change in revolutionizing how games make the practice of development effective,” said Mariam.